Israel at last

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I am so glad to be back in Israel. Came here with my family for a two-week visit. First day was devoted to friends and family but I was so happy to see all the birds around. Just casual stuff but lots of things – Long-eared and Scops Owls, Great Spotted Cuckoos, Pallid Harrier, Lesser Kestrels, Serins, Savis’s Warbler, Quail etc. all common migrants but such a difference compared to my regular experiences in the UK.

Highlight was the Rough-legged Buzzard that thankfully stayed and stayed for me, sitting just along route 6 yesterday afternoon. Israeli tick! I was in a great hurry so no time for images. Returned again this morning but no sign of it. Unstable weather meant few raptors.

In the northern Arava I tried for the Red-billed Teal. I checked three sewage farms, and it was in the third. It was very jumpy and flew off just as I got out of the car to scan over the fence, 200 m away. Israeli tick – well, not quite sure about its origin but we’ll see. A fine bird anyway. Here I think it is with a hybrid duck thing:

 Also there a flock of 6 Baltic and 2 Heuglin’s Gulls, and a White-throated Kingfisher. In the Arava it was raining quite heavy so little passerine activity.

At KM76 Rueppel’s Warbler, two Lesser Kestrels and a large flock of 400 Spanish Sparrows, until I had to escape from the torrential rain.

 Wet Lesser Kestrels

 Spanish Sparrows

Down at Eilat it was pretty windy but nor rain. At IBRCE ponds two Gull-billed Terns and some Whiskered Terns:

 Caspian and Gull-billed Terns, Slender-billed and Black-headed Gulls


 Whiskered Tern

In the afternoon a very large movement of migrants was apparent around the city. Huge numbers of hirundines were grounded, as well as thousands of yellow Wagtails. At the ditch behind the cowshed three Citrine Wagtails and a Spotted Crake.

Sand Martins and Barn Swallow

In the evening Leica Birding organized a great event – good to get the Champions of the Flyway show rolling, and great to meet so many new and old friends.

Looking forward to tomorrow!

 

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Yoav Perlman

Yoav Perlman

I have been birding since the age of 9, and from the age of 15 I started working professionally in birding. I have been working for the Israeli Ornithological Center since 1998. I was a member of the Israeli rarities committee between 2001 - 2007. I have an MSc in Ecology from the Ben Gurion University. I did my research on the ecology of Nubian Nightjars in Israel, and spent hundreds of nights with these fascinating birds. I lead tours in Israel, and especially focus on Nubian Nightjars obviously. I traveled and birded Asia extensively, and also Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and North America. I am married to my lovely wife Adva and father to two sons - Uri and Noam, and one daughter - Libby. Currently I live in Norwich, where I am starting a PhD project at UEA.

Yoav Perlman

Yoav Perlman

I have been birding since the age of 9, and from the age of 15 I started working professionally in birding. I have been working for the Israeli Ornithological Center since 1998. I was a member of the Israeli rarities committee between 2001 - 2007. I have an MSc in Ecology from the Ben Gurion University. I did my research on the ecology of Nubian Nightjars in Israel, and spent hundreds of nights with these fascinating birds. I lead tours in Israel, and especially focus on Nubian Nightjars obviously. I traveled and birded Asia extensively, and also Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and North America. I am married to my lovely wife Adva and father to two sons - Uri and Noam, and one daughter - Libby. Currently I live in Norwich, where I am starting a PhD project at UEA.

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Edward Mitchell

Indeed, that must be the Promised Land for millions of migratory birds who are killed in Europe by hundreds of thousands every year on their way to Israel.

God bless those birds who made it safely to Israel this year, and God bless people of Israel for protecting them!