Had an amazing few days in Eilat with my brother Rod. He came over with the express wish to relax with some quality birds. Mission accomplished! Star of show (for me) was the overwintering female Oriental Honey Buzzard in the date palms north of the Bird Park. Birding this area is difficult to say the least and we had no great hopes of locating the OHB. Amazed then, to see the bird fly from behind us and out into the open border area.
She came back into the palms but gave no further sightings until she dropped out of the canopy ~70m ahead and flew through the palm trunks before disappearing into the canopy again. Very lucky to get a couple of record shots of this beautiful bird!
Yotvata was the place to be with a 2cy rubescens
and two! Pied Wheatears located (and ringed) around the pumpkin field.
The second,young, bird below.
The pumpkins attracted a lot of prey for Lesser Kestrels
Although Yotvata was certainly the place to be K19 and K20 are always worth a look. The Lesser Flamingo was feeding right by the entrance to the K20 pools and gave fantastic views!
As did a few Collared Pratincoles
Shachar Shalev found a Cyprus Wheatear between Yotvata and Grofit. We arrived in the midday heat and had some fine views. Here's a short series of pics showing that even skilled insectivores make mistakes.
Got the prey.
Dropped the prey.
Not letting that get away.
Really stunning bird.
And now the best of the rest. Juvenile Bonelli's Eagle at K19. This and a Booted Eagle were hunting the cow shed pigeons.
Red-necked Phalaropes (12) at the Bird Park.
And a Spoonbill on Lake Anita (Citrine wagtail too, but it flew off before I could even raise my binoculars let alone camera).
Ortolan at K20 (not too many around but several flybys),
cracking Semi-collared Flycatcher at Lotan,
and some Short-toed Larks
many Tree Pipits around
and Rock Pipits,
masses of Yellow Wagtails (all sorts)
White-crowned Black Wheatears
Wrynecks (this at Neot Smadar).
It was sad to leave the Arava but a bonus on our trip back north was a flock of five Temminck's Larks near Har Ait and a couple of Hooded Wheatears at Neot Hakikar.
This was a short but incredible trip. Apart from the birds photographed the sky was full of Steppe Buzzards, a few Steppe Eagles and extraodinary numbers of hirundines - Swallows, Red-rumped Swallows, House Martins, Sand Martins, Swifts, Pallid Swifts, a small number of Alpine Swifts. A walk in the dunes near the border brought the amazing calls and a brief sighting of Hoopoe Lark displaying as well as Quail, a single Montagu's and Pallid Harriers.