Saturday 23 November 2019

Arabian Warbler and Pallid Scops Owl

Arabian Warbler is a really special bird. Very localised and one of Israel's rarest residents. Itay H. wanted to catch up with one and I was very happy to accompany him on the trip south. We arrived at the site in cool and overcast conditions. It didn't take long to find the first birds. Definitely three but possibly two more, calling and flying from tree to tree. Superb views but the poor light didn't allow for anything more than record shots.We spent a minimum amount of time - enough to enjoy the birds but keeping disturbance to a minimum (hopefully).

Nice views of the white tips on T5 and T6.

A brief moment of sunshine.

With that success we set off to another site nearby where we found what looked like an armenicus stonechat and were trying to pin down odd looking Sylvia when a small owl flew out of a tree just behind Itay. It flew straight into a huge mass of desert mistletoe in a nearby acacia and remained hidden as we scanned the tree from top to bottom. Sunbirds and Sardinian Warblers joined together in scolding the owl but we had no view of it. The commotion died down and we thought the owl had slipped away to a quieter spot. We continued our walk and on our return checked the tree again. A single Sunbird was scolding something near the canopy. There it was - a Pallid Scops Owl, beautiful, petite and superbly camouflaged.
The image above is post-processed a bit to increase exposure and try and get the most out of that gorgeous grey vermiculation. The image below was taken when the sun came out.

Two of the best desert birds - particularly the owl. It was such an unexpected pleasure to find.

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