This morning I drove around northeast of Jerusalem with Shachar, the local INPA ranger, to prepare our upcoming effort this spring to map breeding birds in important Batha (open rocky slopes) habitats there.
We didn’t do any point-counting today, just checked access points and point-count routes that we will repeat this spring. It is a beautiful part of the world, especially at this time of year when everything is in flower and birds are in full breeding activity.
It hosts a fascinating mix of Mediterranean and desert breeding species. We found good densities of Calandra Lark on high slopes:
First of a series of frustrating jumpshot fails:
Great Gray Shrike (Arabian)
Mourning Wheatear (Mourning)
It was very nice to hear the familiar ‘Cu-ckoo’ song in many spots, including males displaying territorial behavior.
My first Eastern Black-eared Wheatear of the season:
Other quality species included a flyover Syrian Serin, some Little Swifts, a handful of Rueppell’s Warblers I casually bumped into, Balkan Warbler, and Bonelli’s Eagles.