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A Brief Dip in the Drizzle in Israel - 6th to 10th February 2020

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Old Saturday 22nd February 2020, 04:16   #26
Richard Prior
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Thanks for posting Paul, I hope that none of those Thick-billed Larks injured themselves as they tripped over your boots!
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Old Saturday 22nd February 2020, 05:25   #27
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A delightful read as always Paul, many thanks for taking the time to write it up! So many target birds for me, I must look seriously into a trip to Israel!
The Photos are great, those of the Thick-billed Lark and Sinai Rosefinches especially so!

Chris
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Old Saturday 22nd February 2020, 09:07   #28
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To echo Chris a good comprehensive report Paul, thirty four years since my last visit. You certainly connected with a few that Id like to see...Thick-billed Lark and the Jay to name but two.
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Old Saturday 22nd February 2020, 09:36   #29
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Great and thorough report Paul, I'd have had 2 lifers. I'm intrigued by which first for Britain CB picked up on call, if you can spill the beans?
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Old Saturday 22nd February 2020, 10:15   #30
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Interesting to see yet another report of people wishing to see Pharaoh Eagle Owl yet refusing to try the Idan site :) Vinous-breasted starling does not exist, I have about 10 hours of local research to back that up and a few photos won't chnage my mind!!
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Old Saturday 22nd February 2020, 10:55   #31
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Jeff/Chris/Richard/KenM - many thanks.

Larry - Least Tern! Indeed, I first met Cafebirder at the first for Britain found by KenM in February 1990 when Cafebirder told me about the tern. He was visiting London to deliver a recording of it or pick up a sonogram. One or the other. It stuck in my mind as the twitching community were unaware of the developing story until it came back that summer. We met again sharing a local patch about a decade later. (It was very amusing to us that as Little Tern used to be a description species in Avon, the local committee once rejected one of his Little Tern records. I have a certain view of committees! )

Opisska - I have done the Idan site once before and would have done it again with another night available. This was a very short trip. I shared your views on VB Starling before last year.

Thanks all
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Old Saturday 22nd February 2020, 11:19   #32
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Nice report Paul - the second sunbird shot in the first post is excellent, and those are the best Thick-billed Lark pics I've seen.

Cheers
Mike
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Old Saturday 22nd February 2020, 13:12   #33
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(It was very amusing to us that as Little Tern used to be a description species in Avon, the local committee once rejected one of his Little Tern records. I have a certain view of committees! )
Oh so do I.......NFFP at every level!
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Old Saturday 22nd February 2020, 17:46   #34
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Love reading your posts Paul, and especially when accompanied by such excellent and clear photographs. As a fellow budding photographer (i'm sure your tired of answering this, but) what equipment do you use ??

Regards, George
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Old Saturday 22nd February 2020, 20:48   #35
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Mike/George - you are too kind.

Canon 5D Mark III with Sigma 50-500 zoom.

I am intending to change to something lighter though!

All the best
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Old Sunday 23rd February 2020, 17:23   #36
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Well you certainly make that Bigma shine.

Thanks a lot,
George
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Old Sunday 23rd February 2020, 19:29   #37
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A very entertaining report and some stunning photos. Thanks for sharing!
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Old Sunday 23rd February 2020, 19:30   #38
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George - Well - thanks again. All handheld stuff so pushing the shutter speed usually sacrifices the ISO. Always a trade off unless you have the luxury of waiting for close subjects or superb light which when you're trying to get a record shot of the only trip Striated Heron seen for only 15 seconds in flight, can't be the case! I'm a photographer for enjoyment and personal record rather than perfection so it is lovely if someone else enjoys them.

3Italianbirders - many thanks.

All the best
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Old Tuesday 25th February 2020, 04:26   #39
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Great report Paul, having a fairly tough time of things here in Israel right now. Just woke up for my last full day before my flight tomorrow, and it’s pissing down and gonna do so all day! Windy too.

Tried for Desert Owl last night heard one distant call, may try 2nd site tonight along with the pallid scops owl site I mentioned, but may not be worth the 40 mile journey if still really bad weather-wise.

Has also been a major lark clear out sadly so no Thick-billed seen��. Not a single eagle or Steppe Buzzard seen in Eilat, though I gather some eagles passed through the day before I get there as well as a few yesterday but must have been after I left.

Still, I’ve connected with 5 lifers but bloody hard work each of them. Blisters on my feet still from 7 miles trudging Hameishar plains. Possibly had 2 Wolves in the fields near Sde Boker but of course Jackals seem far far more likely, but people seemed to be chasing them in vehicles???

I’ll do a report at weekend, but thanks again for your tips (and others).

Oh, had my usual car crisis issues ....why only me.......
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Old Tuesday 25th February 2020, 09:00   #40
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Five lifers is still five lifers Nick. Keep the faith and good luck for the remaining bit of your trip.

All the best
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Old Tuesday 25th February 2020, 09:01   #41
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Yoav had a count of 22 Cyprus Warblers in Wadi Mishmar, Southern Dead Sea Region, a couple of days ago if you've not seen any
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Old Tuesday 25th February 2020, 09:03   #42
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Yoav had a count of 22 Cyprus Warblers in Wadi Mishmar, Southern Dead Sea Region, a couple of days ago if you've not seen any
Indeed, with the Cyprus-shaped hole in my life list I noticed that. We'd have been better off heading up the Dead Sea route on the penultimate day but you can't win them all.

Also Long-billed Pipit at Lahav which is the first ebird record for there for a while I think if I am searching correctly:-

http://www.yoavperlman.com/2020/02/c...image.html?m=1

All the best
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Old Friday 28th February 2020, 06:11   #43
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Wadi Mishmar looks really good but I think the access track looks really rough unless you have a 4 by 4. Perhaps a normal car could do it, but its rough looking. Not far how far up the wadi off route 90 you would need to go to get to the best spot though.
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Old Friday 28th February 2020, 07:33   #44
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Wadi Mishmar looks really good but I think the access track looks really rough unless you have a 4 by 4. Perhaps a normal car could do it, but its rough looking. Not far how far up the wadi off route 90 you would need to go to get to the best spot though.
Last year everyone and their grandmother were driving up to the parking in normal cars - it's not even very far, just a few kms, the road doesn't go all the the way to the rocks. Obviously I am not trying to convince you to destroy a car though :)
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Old Friday 28th February 2020, 14:08   #45
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Last year everyone and their grandmother were driving up to the parking in normal cars - it's not even very far, just a few kms, the road doesn't go all the the way to the rocks. Obviously I am not trying to convince you to destroy a car though :)
I do get paranoid, the car rental company stressed to me that no off road driving was permitted. How the feck do you get to various cultural sites without using some of the rough approach tracks?

I did go up most of them but I thought Wadi Mishmar looked worse than most.
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Old Friday 28th February 2020, 14:10   #46
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I do get paranoid, the car rental company stressed to me that no off road driving was permitted. How the feck do you get to various cultural sites without using some of the rough approach tracks?

I did go up most of them but I thought Wadi Mishmar looked worse than most.
Yeah, this is the hypocrisy of the rental industry. I vaguely remember Mishmar not being that great, that's true. What are you after, anyway? If Cyprus Warbler, that I have not seen there, but they are supposedly below the parking, so not that far walking from route 90 ... EDIT: I measured it on google, the best area is almost exactly 1 km from road 90.
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Old Friday 28th February 2020, 19:35   #47
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Yeah, this is the hypocrisy of the rental industry. I vaguely remember Mishmar not being that great, that's true. What are you after, anyway? If Cyprus Warbler, that I have not seen there, but they are supposedly below the parking, so not that far walking from route 90 ... EDIT: I measured it on google, the best area is almost exactly 1 km from road 90.
Fortunatley I don't need Cyprus Warbler, but I am basically a car-based birder and you would find me hateful honestly Jan.

I did try that thing called walking (:- ............at Hameishar Plain where I walked approximately 7 miles but failed to see Thick-Billed Larks but in the process obtained quite severe blisters on my heel which seriously curtailed my ability to put any pressure on my feet for my remaining 4 days.

I found a great spot for Egyptian Nightjars though, and managed to see a Pallid Scops Owl fly off - debating whether view was tickable.

Anyway, my general uselessness and anxiety was reflected several times which I will endeavour to explain in my report which I will do next week sometime. I like self-depreciation, the best form of light-hearted humour.
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Old Friday 28th February 2020, 19:49   #48
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Looking forward to the report, especially the owls! I am still curious what were you looking for at Mishmar though :)
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Old Friday 28th February 2020, 19:56   #49
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Nick

Well done on the Pallid Scops Owl and the Egyptian Nightjars. I do not believe that the Nightjar population has been written up yet. Of course, it is a species whose records are not available for public scrutiny on ebird because of sensitivity

All the best
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Old Friday 28th February 2020, 20:28   #50
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Thanks Jan, Paul - much appreciated.

Regards Wadi Mishmar, I thought it would be worth calling into it on my last full day, on my way up to Kalia Plantation in the Rift Valley in the Palestinian West Bank, as the day previous according to e-Bird it was dripping with warblers (which thanks to Paul I now find a superb source of info), though none would have been lifers. I turned back after the first 100 yards of the Wadi Mishmar entrance off 90, the car was simply bouncing about.

Due to my fear of having car hiccups off track, my anxiety really kicked in & I decided against progressing up it.

Anyway, Kalia was superb, with 9 Egyptian Nightjars seen at the same time, and I now discover that Kalia Fields seem pretty good too in the day, again as per reports today on E-Bird with several Desert Finches and Namaqua Doves.
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