It has been a while since I last wrote anything, but there is so much work and so much to to see out in the field that I feel a waste to sit next to the computer.
Nevertheless here is a short summary of birds in the Eilat region:
This is probably the best Spring we had around Eilat in 15 years with both numbers and variety of species, bringing Eilat back to its best.
The bushes are filled with migrants: Sylvia’s are all over (including many Ruppell’s few Subalpine, still some Cyprus and many Lesser Whitethroats and Blackcaps). In the City parks there is very good representation of many other passerines groups like Buntings and Redstarts as well as few Shrikes. Also, a very good wave of both Cyprus and Pied Wheatears is going through the region as can be seen in the last few posts… and few Rock Thrushes are also present.
After 3 days of dust storm the sky were clear today and raptor migration was really kicking with many Steppe Buzzards and still good numbers of Steppe Eagles. Also today 2 Osprey and a Greater Spotted Eagle flying north and more Egyptian Vultures and Black Storks.
Yesterday I received a report that a probable “Basalt Wheatear” an endemic subspecies of Mourning Wheatear which is only known to breed in the Basalt desert of East Jordan and Southern Syria was seen up at the Ovda Valley by Itai Berger and Daniel Berkowic.
This bird has a very strange behaviour of crouching forward, which I never noticed with Mourning Wheatear and I usually associate it with Finch’s Wheatear. Surprisingly when Hadoram Shirihai arrived and explained about the results of his current work on the morph, he mentioned the same behaviour as a very diagnostic feature.
This is the 6th record to Israel (when accepted) and is probably on the way to be announced as a full species based on work carried by Hadoram Shirihai et al during these days.
Up at Ovda Valley, there are still some 40 Thick-billed Larks and 10-20 Bimaculated Larks have joined the many Short-toed Larks And in Yotveta a beautiful adult Caspian Plover.
Back at the IBRCE, we were joined by Hadoram and together went through the re-description of the ‘eilatea’ subspecies of Sand Martins which is a tiny little bird and is probably also going to be split one day as a full species?!