A few more days of birding produced some pretty good stuff. Yesterday, while I was heading towards our main offices in Tel Aviv for meetings, Yuval Dax alerted of a Great Snipe he had just ringed.
Luckily, it was a short detour for me, so I was on site very quickly to see the bird before release. Top class bird – I have been trying to find one in recent weeks without success.
Well done to Yuval and thanks for letting me and Jonathan join in and enjoy the bird.
This morning I did more fieldwork in batha habitat north of Jerusalem. Weather was unstable and overcast, and bird activity was pretty low – birds were very quiet and kept a low profile. Still I managed to find breeding proof of most priority breeding species (Long-billed Pipit, Spectacled Warbler, Cretzschmar’s Bunting), saw both Rock Sparrows, and a mobile Upcher’s Warbler that was clearly a migrant. I did not photograph a single bird this morning, did a bit better with common butterflies:
Levantine Marbled White – male, super abundant
On the way out I was surprised by a large, dark falcon flying low over the road. I pulled over dangerously, got the bins and camera out – dark morph Eleonora’s Falcon! I was really excited – not so rare in Israel, especially now, but this was the first individual I photographed. Light conditions were horrible, sadly.
3cy (?) dark morph Eleonora’s Falcon
After a couple of flybys it headed north – unbelievably (for me) I managed to get a sharpish photo of it a mile away:
On the way home I made a quick midday stop at the JBO, which was actually whopping with birds, possibly due to the weather change. I was there just after the morning ringing session had ended, so unsurprisingly many of the birds present were ringed. Up till now it’s been an awful season for Olive-tree Warbler in Israel. While an average early May visit to JBO should produce double figures, this year only two were ringed so far. Yet I managed to see one – an important year tick… Sadly I forgot to change camera settings after my Eleonora’s encounter, so most images I took came out useless. Only few I managed to salvage.
Good to meet up with Avner and Shlomi.
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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