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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Eilat..... (1 Viewer)

Red-necked Phalaropes had increased to 7. The canal held 100+ waders including. Wood, Green and Marsh Sandpiper, Ringed and Little Ringed Plover, Redshank and Spotted Redshank, Little and Temminck’s Stint, Ruff, Greenshank and obviously BWStilt and Spurwing. Egrets/Herons from the freshwater hides were: Grey, Purple, Squacco and Striated Heron, Little of both Bittern and Egret. Raptors were non-existent but did include a mid-distant and longer Jordanian Hills Crested Honey Buzzard. Yesterday saw a very close bird over the reserve which at a distance reminded me of a large Bonelli’s on the underwing layout.

I am optimistic for the remaining week as anything can and does turn up around here….. Despite the sedentary birding I think of it as a few weeks spent around Cley or Minsmere in early May.

Good birding -

Laurie -
I made the opposite mistake with a Bonelli's here in Cyprus, thought it was a HB.
A summary of the last 4 days Sat 8th - Tue 11th April.

3 days of temperatures between 30-35c absolutely knackered me so it was game over and beer o’clock anytime between 1 and 2 pm. By then I have put in about 8 hours including cycling which is far more than I generally put in back at home in a more equable scenario. Sat and Sun were relatively still but yesterday the wind picked up in the afternoon from the South to between 15-20mph which is blowy and uncomfortable. A returning headwind is not needed no matter how warm the bloody thing is. The forecast last night was for heavy rain with thunder and lightning. We didn’t really get much but a light shower around 7pm at Eilat but the nearby mountains got a pasting as did anywhere North to the Dead Sea and beyond. Natanil, who lives in a kibbutz near KM76 had his house flooded as did virtually everybody else. They have an emergency procedure whereby the ground floor has nothing fixed. Stuff is moved upstairs, both front and back doors are opened and let gravity do the rest. They have either concrete or tiled floors and already his Mother was mopping the floors with soapy stuff as the surge passed. The mountain roads were closed as were sections of the N90. 3 years ago a dozen or so members of a teenage school party were swept to their deaths on the outskirts of Eilat despite having both teachers and a guide (who also drowned). The threat of death by flash-flooding is very real around here. The landscape has very little in the way of either absorbing sudden downpours or vegetation to slow the stuff down. It was fingers crossed that it might produce stalled migrants today which has been cloudy with a corresponding 10c drop in temperatures and the first day I have worn a light fleece to bird.

Birds have been thin in the air and birders thin on the ground. For 2 days, after ringing, I have been almost the only birder on site - can you imagine having either Minsmere or Cley to yourself? Hardly any reports coming back as there are so few visitors. Ringing over the last week has averaged about 25 per day with half being retraps. It has been hard finding a non-resident passerine that isn’t sporting bling. Today was an uptick with 75 rung and only 5 retraps.
They included:
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler
Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler
Barn Swallow
Willow Warblers
Rufous Bush Robin
No less than 4 Masked Shrikes
A large female Steppe Buzzard - they don’t catch many raptors in the mist nets larger than either a Sparrowhawk or Scops Owl as they put out a special type for Buzzards and Eagles.

The lagoons held 50+ Little Stint down from the 150+ on Saturday, 2 Caspian Terns and a brief party of 5 Gull-billed than went almost straight through. Slender-billed Gulls numbered about 150 and Red-necked Phalaropes remained at 14. A late-morning Osprey and a circling group of 15 Glossy Ibis did not linger. Waders on the ‘canal’ changed hourly with double figures each of both Wood and Green Sand, a coupla Marsh Sand, Greenshank and my first Curlew Sand of the trip. 2 calling Whimbrel were another trip tick. Someone clicked with 3 Collared Prats. I managed another Masked Shrike that had evaded the nets and an unshackled Rufous Bush Chat. Several Feldeggs and a male Citrine padded out the passerines. From the hide I managed another guided Namaqua missile following yesterday’s individual. A mix of Rock Martin, Sand Martin and a few Rumpers chased a passing female Marsh Harrier whilst another male was seen later. Slightly ‘buzzy’ Bee Eaters descended and became ca25 Blue-cheeked that fed around me for 10 mins - it’s been about 10 years since I clicked with the species in Ouzarzate, Maroc, so it so it was high time for a reunion. Around midday I checked the canal again and saw a Pied Kingy hovering over near the Jordan border which dropped out of site and replaced by a similar-coloured bird much larger - hello Black-shouldered Kite! I did a double-take but Kingy reappeared briefly. A distant Kestrel beat its way towards me and turned into a smart male Lesser. Upon seeing the Kite it peeled off like a Spitfire and stooped at the bandit from out of the Sun before scything its way North…..all good fun.

Down at South Beach last nite a few Swinhoe’s dots were seen and what must have been a fairly easy in any plumage to ID Brown Booby as there are no Gannets at present - it’s too far for me.

Good birding -

Laurie -

1. MarshS.
2. 3rd Great Reed.
3. Bee Eater - expect some resistance.
4. Phals.
5. Galactotes - 'milky-tailed'.


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1. European.
2. Squatting Heron.
3. Wade Sand.
4. 1st for 10 days or so.
5. 2nd Issy 'daurica'.


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Issy being rung.


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‘The mountain roads were closed as were sections of the N90. 3 years ago a dozen or so members of a teenage school party were swept to their deaths on the outskirts of Eilat despite having both teachers and a guide (who also drowned). The threat of death by flash-flooding is very real around here.’

Arrived in Israel that day with all roads south closed due to rockslides; Mitzpe Ramon closed so had to drive back to Arad and try the road south and got caught up in the rescue operations just south of the Dead Sea. Hammering with rain, dozens of Helicopters, every type of emergency vehicle possible.

If sudden downpour hits, get out of the Wadi is essential.
A car got caught out and rolled 20km N of Eilat last night - brother and sister drowned and a friend found clinging to the vehicle.....

A coupla birders went N for the Yellow-billed Stork and came back to find a road at the Dead Sea blocked by a huge boulder. They had to detour whilst the IDF blew it up with explosives a few days later!

A room mate has just returned as all buses to TA from Eilat are cancelled due to heavy flooding. Fingers crossed for Sunday I do not want to get stranded after 6 weeks. He was just going to Cyprus as his Visa has run out and his flight was only about 25 quid.

Laurie -
First Wryneck of the week, doing its 'snake' thing.
Fisher King.
The IBRCE team that particular day included 2 employees, 3 intern ringers and Adam (centre) who has wangled his National Service on placement with the SPNI - not for him mixing it with the stone throwers in the West Bank.
Blue-cheeked Bee Eater 1 of about 25.
Male Marsh Harrier being seen off by mixed Hirundines.....


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A large female Steppe Buzzard 'vulpinus' was a nice surprise in the nets.


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The lagoons looking towards Jordan.
Crex crex.....honestly.
The winged dagger.
Gull-billed on the move.
Night Heron roost.


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Black-winged Kite, Eastern 'vocifer' over the Jordan border.


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Glossy Ibis.
Bush Robin - Eastern subsp.
Osprey - a male judging by the absence of a breast band.


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Masked Shrikes, all 4 caught that morning including male and female pictured with the 2 Hungarian ringers Karol and Ettie.


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Apologies for the delay in posting whilst still in Eilat but I had mislaid my notebook and had to write stuff on bits of paper which I have now transferred to my field book now that my suitcase has arrived to unpack - it went on a 48-hour walkabout courtesy of Brussels Airlines but the good news is that they then deliver it to your address…..

Wed 12th April

Herons galore with no less than 6 species from the freshwater hides + a coupla Caspian Terns over and a solitary Marsh Sandpiper - noticeably fewer of these from double figures of 15+ to single figure <5. Ringing has picked up with another monster Great Reed Warbler netted in haul 1. The Slender-billed Gulls normally present first thing, ca150, usually leave not long after first light to join another coupla hundred on the pools at KM20 - a percentage of these can Summer some years. Ringing 2 contained more Eastern Ollies (5 birds 4f 1m) less Lesser ‘throats and more Orphean. Seeing birds in the hand makes you realise just how small LW is compared to Orphean the latter being about 2.5 times the size and weight of the former - LW’s are tiny by comparison and a good field character. Barred can be even bigger I am told. It is breezy yet again with anything moving fighting the moderate (15-20mph) wind - 3 Purple and 2 Night Herons being blown about like confetti. First Turtle Doves now appearing and I shall make the most of them as there are none left that I know of local to me in the West Midlands. Ringing 3 produces a smart male Pied Flicker, Bonelli’s, 3 Orphean including a sooty-capped male. Still 10 Red-necked Phalaropes on the lagoons I am told there can be upto 100 sometimes. Ringing 4 yields Blackcaps, Chiffies and more Eastern Ollies and Orpheans 3 of each. The breeze hasn’t stopped aerial species such as Bee Eater, Sand Martin, Pallid Swift and Rumpers from hawking. Waders are also on the move with several noisy parties of both Wood and Green Sand calling. The former upto 20+ and the latter 40+ which is most impressive. Ringing 5 is notable for a what appears to be the first record for over 60 million years of a Pteradactyl but turns out to be a truly astonishingly beautiful first-Summer Purple Heron! It takes 2 to ring this rainbow-coloured monster one for the legs and the other short-strawed volunteer for the beak. A truly impressive creature and a species hardly netted. A female Masked Shrike and a retina-burning Wood Warbler plus those species already mentioned.

Most of the Masked Shrikes rung emit what I described as a Budgerigar like trill which we all found ever so sweet. It is in fact their alarm call but it lacks the harsh raspy notes that you will hear on Xeno-Canto and has almost cat-purring qualities, to my ears anyway. Schachar kisses all the Shrikes and mumbles something in Hebrew along the lines of ‘safe journey little jewelled beauty’ very touching and my eyes moistened each time. I found it humbling to be able to watch these birds being handled in order to provide information for the greater good and habitat management at the IBRCE. The Wood Warbler on the other hand had all its colour packed into so small a package the contrasting White and Yellow like a feathered fusion reactor in the palm of your hand. One of the first things I was told when birding was never look directly at a Wood Warbler as it could permanently damage your vision - up close and personal I can vouch for that!

Parties of Blue-cheeked Bee Eaters now appearing here and there most passing through rather than feed in the breeze which has at least warmed up now. Ringing 6 produced a nice Tree Pipit which are really cute close up. Rumpers and a coupla Rock Martins are about and I picked up calling Penduline Tits near the car park - Noam says a residual but elusive half a dozen still remain from the wintering birds.

North Beach 1715 - 1845.

Still not clicking with the Brown Booby but double figures of Little Terns feeding very close. Straggling White-eyed Gulls moving past totalling 8, Common
Sandpiper and a solitary large Gull of undetermined ID…..

Good birding -

Laurie -

A rarity rainbow, CHB, both Orphean and Eastern Olly made up as many as Lesser 'throats some days.


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More stuff.

1s male Pied Flicker.
Flamingoes amaze me despite the strong winds these things would launch themselves skywards and use the necks and heads to maintain in-flight balance.
Come on you Reds.
Despite undesirable introduced status I rather liked the House Crows.
Stonker of a male Masked Shrike.


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Even more stuff.

Warning do not stare directly as Wood Warblers - you have been warned.
Tree Pip n Little Tern at North Beach.


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