Sunday 12 March 2017

Long-billed Pipits - Har Amasa

An excellent walk around Har Amasa this morning. Two highlights were a Scop's Owl and superb views of Long-billed Pipit, plus, of course, masses of migrants.

Started with a flock of Rock Sparrows and the hillside buzzing with the song of Corn Buntings (seems like there's territory every 50 m or so)

and the evocative sound of a Cuckoo calling followed by great views of Ruppell's Warblers

and Spectacled Warblers jumping about on the low shrubs.

Startled a couple of Quail on my way up the hill. This is the first photo I've ever managed of Quail.

Further on an Orphean Warbler was feeding in one of the four or so large shrubs on the hill flank.

Seeing that these bigger shrubs seemed to attract migrants I checked the next one. Very surprised to find a Scops Owl roosting! Why here when there's a whole forest just over the hill?

In my excitement I took a vast number of photos - all more or less identical as the owl did not move.

Further on a single Cretzschmar's Bunting and a Blue Rock Thrush perched up on a rock. The Bunting flew off and I couldn't relocate it.

Plenty of Northern and Black-eared Wheatears around. Good to see so many.

Further on I stumbled across this beauty. This is one of three Long-billed Pipits I saw today and a most confiding bird.

I found the other two pipits on the top of Har Amasa along with a Black Redstart and this female Finsch's Wheatear (a slightly odd looking bird).

Together with a Whitethroat.

 For quite a lot of the year Har Amasa is hot, dry and brown but for a few weeks in the spring it transforms into a paradise of migrants and flowers. One of my favourite places here!

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