This spring has been very strange. After such a rainy winter with 4-6 floods in the southern Arava, we all expected that the desert will be filled with migrants. Then came March and by the end of it we were still looking hard to find birds in the Arava.
Nevertheless there were many quality species like Menetrie’s Warblers, Black Bush Robins, White-tailed Plovers…theover-whole numbers of migration were lower than the average so far. One reasonable explanation for this is the highfrequency of southern winds which were 3-4 times more than the usual Feb-Mar.
Over the last week still there were some quality species around, but surely the most outstanding is a wave of Black Bush Robins with a total of 10-11 so far (including 3 birds found today at Yotveta sewage by Tuvia Kahan and another bird I found with Raz, my 4 years old son, next to the Flamingo view point of K20).
Also, we had one big swarm of Desert Locustwhich made the farmers in the area very stressed, but it has been a paradise of migrating Steppe Buzzards, Lesser Kestrels and Black Kites.One more species which seemed to enjoy this swarm of flying food, was more surprising, but even the gentle Collared Pratincoleswere seen flying up in the air to trap these fatty grasshoppers and enjoy a very juicy nutrition on migration…
At the IBRCE ringing station, the dream team has managed at last to get a proper Spring day with a total of 385 birds ringed this morning comprised mainly by Blackcapsbut there are also representatives of other Sylviawarblers including a late Subalpine Warbler and also the firstNightingaleand Thrush Nightingales.Out in the field, there are 3 species of Ficedulaand many more Yellow Wagtails, Rufous Bush Robinsand the first chicks of Kentish Plovers!
Atnorth beach there are rising numbers of Common Ternsand more reports of Arctic & Pomarine Skuas.
Tomorrow we should get another heat wave with southern winds, I just hope that it wont blow all the birds away and that soon after it, we will get another good wave of migrants…
Itai Shanni is the coordinator of the Eilat Birding Blog, which is jointly written by the Israeli Ornithological Centre (IOC) and the International Birding and Research Centre Eilat (IBRCE). Itai is working to promote bird and wildlife conservation throughout this area. As an Israeli A licensed ringer, he also gives support for the IBRCE staff when needed. Itai has also developed a real passion for Odonata watching and spends many hot hours chasing also Dragonflies and Damselflies.
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