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A Brief Dip in the Drizzle in Israel - 6th to 10th February 2020 (1 Viewer)

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
We headed back along Route 6 towards Tel Aviv. Corn Bunting was a trip addition but far more exciting was a lovely view of a Black-winged Kite crossing the road. The status of the Kite has changed from scarce migrant to breeder and this one was only about forty feet up. Superb view.

We had decided to pop into Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv if we were back early enough as it would provide the opportunity for some birding but was close enough to the airport to take the pressure off timing. We arrived in the car park at 2.00pm and it was raining again. We tried to sit it out but it soon became apparent that wouldn’t work. Time to embrace the rain again. The park is famous as a site for the Category C Vinous-breasted Starling which is a tricky species but one that I had finally seen on my first attempt last year. When I connected, I finally realised that I had misunderstood my directions in 2013 so I had previously been looking in the wrong area of the park. This year, we headed back to the same place as last year and connected with three.

The best bird was Striated Heron which had been present on the park lake for at least a year. Other trip additions were Moorhen, nine Glossy Ibis, scores of Monk Parakeets and a Mistle Thrush. Good additional birds included six Night Heron, Hoopoe and three White-throated Kingfishers.

Pics attached – Striated Heron; Vinous-breasted Starling; & three Glossy Ibis x 3
 

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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
A few more pics attached – atricapillus Jay; White-throated Kingfisher; Monk Parakeet; Hoopoe; & Ring-necked Parakeet
 

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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
As with last year though, the highlight was the local group of Golden Jackals with six seen and lots of interaction and behaviour amongst the group. On this occasion, the Jackals were within the fenced off Rock Garden and seemed relatively relaxed to be watched.

After slightly over two hours at the park, we took the stop start journey to the airport to commence the journey home. The trip had been a good break but made more difficult by the weather. Indeed, the strong winds and rain had clearly dampened our results. It was interesting to compare the birds with last year’s trip. This had been a shorter period but there were clearly more wheatears and wintering species generally than last year and less passage – hirundines, waders, etc. Clearly, no real conclusions can be reached in two such limited periods in different years with different weather conditions but it does seem that things change relatively quickly in spring even in February.

Pics – Golden Jackals x 5
 

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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
I recorded 117 species of which 5 were new for me for Israel being Western Reef Heron, Imperial Eagle, Black-winged Kite, Mistle Thrush and Brambling which was a pleasing return in the weather conditions for such a short period without the additions from say Dolphin Reef, Ashalim Reservoir, Ein Gedi & Nizzana:-

1 Egyptian Goose – single at IBRCE on 8th February & at least five at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
2 Shelduck – 25 at K20 on 9th February
3 Shoveler – four sightings of up to 40 – Sde Boker Sewage Works on both visits, K19 & K20
4 Mallard – four sightings of single figures with the first a flyover at Ben Gurion Airport on 6th February
5 Pintail – ten at both K19 & K20 on 9th February
6 Eurasian Teal – four at Sde Boker Sewage Ponds on 7th February & 200 at K19 on 9th February
7 Sand Partridge – six at Amram's Pillarson 8th February
8 Chukar – single from Route 31 & twenty at Mount Amasa on 10th February
9 Greater Flamingo – five at IBRCE on 8th February & 200 at K20 on 9th February
10 Little Grebe – up to 10 on the two visits to Sde Boker Sewage Ponds & two at IBRCE
11 Rock Dove – very common including several flocks flying high masquerading as things more interesting…..
12 Collared Dove – very common including 300 at the cattlesheds at K19
13 Laughing Dove – very common
14 Common Swift – five sightings with no definite Pallid Swifts identified
15 Moorhen – six at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
16 Coot – four sightings
17 Black-winged Stilt – four sightings including up to 40 at K20 on 9th February
18 Spur-winged Lapwing – very common
19 Ruff – at least twenty at IBRCE on 8th February
20 Dunlin – at least 70 at K20 on 9th February
21 Little Stint – at least 50 at K20 on 9th February
22 Common Snipe – single at southern date palms on 8th February
23 Common Sandpiper – single at North Beach canal on 9th February
24 Green Sandpiper – single at IBRCE & North Beach canal on 9th February
25 Greenshank – three sightings of singles in the Eilat area on 8th & 9th February
26 Marsh Sandpiper – three sightings of up to three in the Eilat area on 8th & 9th February
27 Redshank – four sightings including thirty at K20 on 9th February
28 Slender-billed Gull – ten at North Beach & forty at K20 on 9th February
29 Black-headed Gull – five sightings including 200 at K20 on 10th February
30 Yellow-legged Gull – three sightings including a dozen at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
31 Caspian Gull – singles at North Beach channel on 8th & 9th February
32 Caspian Tern – single at North Beach channel on 9th February
33 Great Cormorant – five sightings
34 Grey Heron – five sightings
35 Purple Heron – single at IBRCE on 8th February
36 Great White Egret – single at North Beach channel & forty at K19 on 9th February
37 Little Egret – four sightings including ten at K20 on 9th February
38 Western Reef Heron – adult & near-adult at North Beach channel on 9th February
39 Cattle Egret – four sightings including up to ten at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
40 Striated Heron – single at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
41 Black-crowned Night-Heron – two at southern date palms on 8th February & six at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
42 Glossy Ibis - nine at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
43 Black-winged Kite – single flew across Route 6 on 10th February
44 Imperial Eagle – single adult from Route 40 on 8th February
45 Marsh Harrier – three singles – southern date palms, IBRCE & K19 on 8th & 9th February
46 Hen Harrier – single adult at Yotvata on 7th February
47 Sparrowhawk – female at southern date palms on 8th February
48 Black Kite – three sightings of up to three when travelling along Routes 6 & 40
49 Common Buzzard – single at K19 on 9th February
50 Long-legged Buzzard – single from Route 40 on 7th February
51 Hoopoe – singles at Sde Boker Sewage Ponds, Kibbutz Samar & Hayarkon Park
52 Kingfisher – single at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
53 White-throated Kingfisher – single from Route 60 at Beer Sheva & at least three at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
54 Pied Kingfisher – singles at North Beach channel on 9th February
55 Green Bee-eater – two in Wadi behind Eilot on 8th February & four at Kibbutz Samar on 9th February
56 Kestrel – common sight when travelling
57 Ring-necked Parakeet – several sightings around Eilat & at least ten at Hayarkon Park on 8th February
58 Monk Parakeet – at least 100 at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
59 Great Grey Shrike – singles at Sde Boker & Hameishar Plains on 7th February
60 Jay – heard at Mount Amasa and several at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
61 Eurasian Jackdaw – sightings both leaving and returning to Tel Aviv on 6th & 10th February
62 House Crow – sightings around Eilat & up to forty at K19 cattlesheds
63 Hooded Crow – common sightings in the north as far south as Mitzpe Ramon
64 Brown-necked Raven – four sightings of seven birds - Sde Boker Sewage Ponds, Ben Gurion Memorial Park, Hameishar Plains & Uvda Valley
65 Common Raven – sightings at Ben Gurion Memorial Park & Mount Amasa
66 Great Tit – single at Mount Amasa & at least two at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
67 Thick-billed Lark – fifty at Hameishar Plains on 7th February
68 Bar-tailed Lark – single at Hameishar Plains on 7th February
69 Desert Lark – good numbers at Amram's Pillars & in the Uvda Valley on 8th & 9th February
70 Woodlark – at least twenty at Mount Amasa on 10th February
71 Skylark – single at Hameishar Plains on 7th February
72 Crested Lark – commonly seen
73 Graceful Prinia – commonly heard & several sightings
74 Sand Martin – single at North Beach channel on 9th February
75 Rock Martin – five sightings with up to twenty at IBRCE
76 Swallow – five sightings but single figures
77 House Martin – sightings at North Beach channel, K19 & K20 on 9th February
78 White-spectacled Bulbul – commonly seen
79 Chiffchaff – commonly seen
80 Scrub Warbler – five sightings - Sde Boker Sewage Ponds, Amram’s Pillars, two Wadis in the Uvda valley & Mount Amasa
81 Blackcap – male at Kibbutz Sde Boker on 7th February
82 Asian Desert Warbler – single in Wadi in the Uvda valley on 7th February
83 Sardinian Warbler – commonly encountered with eight sightings
84 Spectacled Warbler – three sightings – Sde Boker, Hameishar Plains & Wadi in the Uvda valley on 7th & 8th February
85 Arabian Babbler – single at Sde Boker Sewage Ponds on 7th February & single & six in Uvda valley on 8th & 9th February
86 Common Myna – commonly seen with at least 100 at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
87 Vinous-breasted Starling – at least three at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
88 Tristram's Grackle – five sightings with twenty at Kibbutz Sde Boker on 7th February & thirty at Kibbutz Samar on 9th February
89 Mistle Thrush – single at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
90 Blackbird – four sightings of singles
91 Black Scrub Robin – single briefly at Kibbutz Samar on 9th February
92 Robin – four sightings of singles
93 Bluethroat – seven sightings of nine birds
94 Black Redstart – at least three at Kibbutz Samar & a single male in the Uvda valley on 9th February
95 Blue Rock Thrush – single female at Mt. Amasa on 10th February
96 European Stonechat – six sightings of fourteen birds
97 Isabelline Wheatear – single at K20 on 9th February
98 Hooded Wheatear – at least three at Amram's Pillars, a single at the entrance to Hai Bar Nature Reserve & two at K20 on 8th & 9th February
99 Desert Wheatear – single at Hameishar Plains on 7th February
100 Blackstart – commonly seen
101 White-crowned Wheatear – five sightings of nine birds at Amram's Pillars & in the Uvda valley on 8th & 9th February
102 Finsch's Wheatear – at least one female & two males at Mount Amasa on 10th February
103 Mourning Wheatear – four sightings of six birds at Hameishar Plains, Uvda valley & Amram’s Pillars including a ‘Basalt’ Wheatear on 8th February in the Uvda valley
104 Palestine Sunbird – commonly seen
105 House Sparrow – very commonly seen
106 Spanish Sparrow – at least twenty at Sde Boker Sewage Ponds on 7th February & ten at Kibbutz Samar on 9th February
107 White Wagtail – very commonly seen
108 Long-billed Pipit – in poor weather two eventually seen at Mount Amasa on 10th February
109 Tawny Pipit – single in Uvda valley on 8th February
110 Chaffinch at least six on Mount Amasa & ten at Hayarkon Park on 10th February
111 Brambling – two at Ben Gurion Memorial Park on 7th February
112 Sinai Rosefinch – about 25 including four males at Amram's Pillarson 8th February
113 Trumpeter Finch – twenty five at Amram's Pillars & ten in the Uvda valley on 8th & 9th February
114 Desert Finch – at least five at Sde Boker Sewage Ponds on 7th February
115 Greenfinch – single at Ben Gurion Memorial Park on 7th February
116 Linnet – at least ten at Sde Boker Sewage Ponds on 7th February
117 Corn Bunting – seen whilst travelling along Route 6 on 10th February

The end - I hope you enjoy - and I must now do last year's Uganda write up.......
 

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
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
 

KenM

Well-known member
To echo Chris a good comprehensive report Paul, thirty four years since my last visit. You certainly connected with a few that I’d like to see...Thick-billed Lark and the Jay to name but two. :t:
 

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
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?
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
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!!
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
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! 3:))

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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MKinHK

Mike Kilburn
Hong Kong
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
 

Jungle

Active member
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
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
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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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
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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wolfbirder

Well-known member
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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