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Israel - 14th to 20th February 2019 - with extension 21st to 23rd February 2019 (2 Viewers)

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Back from a short dip in Israel (6th to 10th February 2020), I'll post some highlights while the iron is hotter than last time!

All the best

Paul
 

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Steve Arlow

Well-known member
United Kingdom
I finally posted some images on my Blog a couple of evenings ago at stevearlowsbirding.blogspot.com

The Thick-billed Larks were certainly not as close as your encounter but they were vying with displaying Temmincks Larks for attention at the time.

Looking forward to seeing how you got on.
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
I finally posted some images on my Blog a couple of evenings ago at stevearlowsbirding.blogspot.com

The Thick-billed Larks were certainly not as close as your encounter but they were vying with displaying Temmincks Larks for attention at the time.

Looking forward to seeing how you got on.

Stunning!

http://stevearlowsbirding.blogspot.com/p/israel-january-2020.html?m=1

Sadly, we struggled with the weather and this was a classic example with Jonathan Meyrav and a group having found far more than us just before our arrival:-

https://ebird.org/checklist/S64197828

No Temminck's Larks were distracting us at the time. That said, we did find the Thick-billed Larks whereas they failed in the weather conditions despite more than 20 pairs of eyes. I anticipate the same conditions produced our views so the Birding Gods give and the Birding Gods take away.

I'll stop being piecemeal. Ebird tonight, photos & then short report.

All the best
 
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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Compulsory Reading

If travelling to Israel or considering a trip, you must read the locations sections and maps of Steve's attached report.

All the best

Paul
 

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wolfbirder

Well-known member
All of Steve's reports from Israel are fantastic, really worth taking with you or noting Ordnance Survey ref points for access to places and where to connect with species.
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
I have booked 5 nights in Israel departing from Luton on Friday morning, staying one night near Be'er Sheva then on 22nd checking out Urim, Sde Boker, & Hameishar Plains (as will be Saturday), then driving down to Eilat for 2 nights to check out IBRCE, Yotvata, Ovda, Eilat Mountains, KM19-20 etc, then up to Neve Zohar/Dead Sea area for 2 nights checking out Km152 and Wadi Grofit en-route. 2 days spent in Dead Sea will check out Ashalim and LOT Reservoirs, Ein Gedi and Lahav.

This is my 4th visit to Israel and key targets are Sociable Plover (hard), Thick-Billed Lark (may have departed already), Desert Finch (hard), Oriental Honey Buzzard (if still wintering at IBRCE), Pallid Scops Owl (unlikely), Pharoah Eagle Owl (need better views but hard), Desert Owl (unlikely), Fan-Tailed Raven, Gallinule (green-backed), Clamorous Reed Warbler, and Long-Billed Pipit. All would be lifers except the Eagle Owl.

Plenty of other great birds to see - wheatears, larks, sandgrouse, warblers, raptors etc.

In terms of targets/lifers, I would hope to get half of them.
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Nick

Good luck.

I should have posted something on my recent trip by then but it doesn't really add to anything you don't already know.

All the best
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Nick

it looks like you have all your targets covered but current ebird map links set solely for records for Jan/Feb 2020 - as you'll know expand the maps to find the pins, click on the pins for the checklists and then the checklist links for the detail eg Desert Finch - https://ebird.org/checklist/S64284042

Sociable Lapwing - recent sighting - 06.02.20 - Urim - https://ebird.org/map/soclap1?neg=t...=Z&mr=on&bmo=1&emo=2&yr=cur&byr=2020&eyr=2020

Thick-billed Lark - recent sighting 14.02.20 - Hameishar - https://ebird.org/map/thblar1?neg=t...=Z&mr=on&bmo=1&emo=2&yr=cur&byr=2020&eyr=2020

Desert Finch - recent sightings Sde Boker to 14.02.20 at least - https://ebird.org/map/desfin2?neg=t...=Z&mr=on&bmo=1&emo=2&yr=cur&byr=2020&eyr=2020

Oriental Honey Buzzard - IBRCE still 18.02.20 - https://ebird.org/map/orihob2?neg=t...=Z&mr=on&bmo=1&emo=2&yr=cur&byr=2020&eyr=2020

Pallid Scops Owl - nothing looking easy & breeding areas in north in sensitive areas I understand - https://ebird.org/map/pasowl3?neg=t...=Z&mr=on&bmo=1&emo=2&yr=cur&byr=2020&eyr=2020

Pharaoh Eagle Owl - Yotvata last 10.01.20, southern date palms last 30.01.20 but Sheizaf NR on 15.02.20 - https://ebird.org/map/pheowl1?neg=t...=Z&mr=on&bmo=1&emo=2&yr=cur&byr=2020&eyr=2020

Desert Owl - as you know no information on these available publicly on ebird

Fan-Tailed Raven - Wadi Mishmar & Ein Gedi should be easy enough - https://ebird.org/map/fatrav1?neg=t...=Z&mr=on&bmo=1&emo=2&yr=cur&byr=2020&eyr=2020

African Swamphen - Ashalim Reservoir - 30.01.20 - https://ebird.org/map/purswa2?neg=t...=Z&mr=on&bmo=1&emo=2&yr=cur&byr=2020&eyr=2020

Clamorous Reed Warbler - Ashalim Reservoir - 05.02.20 - https://ebird.org/map/purswa2?neg=t...=Z&mr=on&bmo=1&emo=2&yr=cur&byr=2020&eyr=2020

Long-Billed Pipit - Mount Amassa - 10.02.10 - https://ebird.org/map/lobpip1?neg=t...=Z&mr=on&bmo=1&emo=2&yr=cur&byr=2020&eyr=2020 - bizarrely I appear to have the last Lahav sighting in ebird - a long time ago - https://ebird.org/checklist/S32669869

All the best
 
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Steve Arlow

Well-known member
United Kingdom
I've just finished my January trip report, just needs some proof reading before posting to Cloudbirders.

Much of what is in this will be covered previously with exception of 'winter' updates.

If I can get this done today or tomorrow it could be ready on Cloudbirders by Friday.

Paul has covered much with the ebird updates though would add if the tracks at Urim have dried out then chances improved in finding Sociable Lapwing as they should be driveable, they were a mess when I visited and no way could get a car along any of them. The Lapwing are by now starting to move off thus numbers are diminishing.

The Yotvata Eagle Owl has been difficult but the Date Palm birds have been seen a few times so possibly a better bet.

The Pallid Scops Owls probably all but now left the southern wadi's for their breeding grounds but a few lingering birds may be still around but it can be dull birding looking in the heart of every Acacia tree and bush you come across.

Fan-tailed Ravens should be likely anywhere around the Dead Sea.

The Crested Honeys should still be around, would advise fairly early visit to the IBRCE and station yourself along the west and northern side of the reserve from about 7.30am onwards, using the new track alongside the drainage canal, accessed from the reserve visitor centre. Three of the four I saw flew to the Botanical Gardens on the other side of the main road and came from the date palms from the south or from Jordan, when they flew back they passed right over the northern end of the reserve.

Will be interested to see what you connect with
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Thank you Paul, Steve, Chris, for your kind wishes and especially for the information, really good of you to go to so much trouble. Paul those coordinates are fantastically helpful.

I've done Urim once before but dread getting stuck in the mud so if that looks likely I will stop where I am & turn back. I'm not hopeful for the Sociable Plovers to be honest, its a huge area and I only intend to give it about an hour as want to spend about 3-4 hours at Hameisher Plains just plodding about.

Desert Finches don't actually exist :)-, no doubt I'll dip again but Sde Boker fields will be checked as well as fences by nearby reservoir. Thick-Billed Larks are flippin elusive critters too and I don't really expect to see them. Nor the owls - all a bit difficult. Infact, I might well have a piss-poor time but I'm gonna try and enjoy it.

Shame no Pallid Scops Owls are about but might try the original site at Shittim, and also desperate to see Desert Owl but really not expecting to do so.

Anyway, I'll keep an eye on this thread and of course bore everyone into submission with a report about a week after I get back. Thanks again! Oh, and its a shame no Egyptian Nightjars so far, last year I think, they were right by IBRCE.
 
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wolfbirder

Well-known member
Its quite easy to work out the plantations where hey breed. What exactly is so sensitive about the location? Other than it being private land, is it sensitive to bird the plantations just south of Almog?

Google Maps and this article help you determine where they are, at km 283 and km285 of Route 90 there is a side road leading through the plantations, so you aren't trespassing if you keep to them.

Thoughts? Excuse my ignorance.

https://www.birds.org.il/en/article/id/589
 

Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
Nick,

Did a three-day trip to Israel last week, primarily because I wanted to see Basalt Wheatear - got this species, and loads of other wheatears, a nice range of larks and Sinai Rosefinch, Cyprus Warbler et al, but probably of more interest to you, also Oriental Honey Buzzard (palms south of km 19 pool), Pallid Scops Owl (wadi half way to Uvda, result of searching for in several locations), Egyptian Nightjar (hawking back and fro at night under streetlights near the Eilat security checkpoint) and a good number of Dead Sea Sparrows (adjacent to the north end of km 19 pool), etc. They are all about.
 
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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Its quite easy to work out the plantations where hey breed. What exactly is so sensitive about the location? Other than it being private land, is it sensitive to bird the plantations just south of Almog?

Google Maps and this article help you determine where they are, at km 283 and km285 of Route 90 there is a side road leading through the plantations, so you aren't trespassing if you keep to them.

Thoughts? Excuse my ignorance.

https://www.birds.org.il/en/article/id/589

It was a passing comment from an Israeli birder. I may well be wrong. Plenty of sightings on ebird around Kalia:-

https://ebird.org/hotspot/L8480109

Clearly possible though:-

http://www.yoavperlman.com/2019/02/21-hours.html?m=1

"On the way back home we had rather casual encounters with (heard only) Desert Owl by the main road, Egyptian Nightjar and Pallid Scops Owl."

All the best
 
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wolfbirder

Well-known member
Nick,

Did a three-day trip to Israel last week, primarily because I wanted to see Basalt Wheatear - got this species, and loads of other wheatears, a nice range of larks and Sinai Rosefinch, Cyprus Warbler et al, but probably of more interest to you, also Oriental Honey Buzzard (palms south of km 19 pool), Pallid Scops Owl (wadi half way to Uvda, result of searching for in several locations), Egyptian Nightjar (hawking back and fro at night under streetlights near the Eilat security checkpoint) and a good number of Dead Sea Sparrows (adjacent to the north end of km 19 pool), etc. They are all about.

That's great info, much obliged, do you mean near the entrance to Jordan near the IBRCE. I presume that is where you mean. Cheers Jos.
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
It was a passing comment from an Israeli birder. I may well be wrong. Plenty of sightings on ebird around Kalia:-

https://ebird.org/hotspot/L8480109

Clearly possible though:-

http://www.yoavperlman.com/2019/02/21-hours.html?m=1

"On the way back home we had rather casual encounters with (heard only) Desert Owl by the main road, Egyptian Nightjar and Pallid Scops Owl."

All the best

Wow just shows what can be encountered along route 90. Thx again Paul, great link.
I must admit, I don't understand the movements of Pallid Scops Owl at this time of year, but if they have disappeared more or less, from their southern Israel wintering area, I am hoping they may have moved back to the Dead Sea breeding area. All amateur theory on my part :)-.

But yes, that region is indeed, as you say, sensitive politically but I'm just unsure exactly what this means in terms of birding, especially in the evening.

Certainly good stuff about, as there probably always is.
 
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Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
That's great info, much obliged, do you mean near the entrance to Jordan near the IBRCE. I presume that is where you mean. Cheers Jos.


For the nightjar? No, it was the security road check as you come into town from the north - sometimes it is manned, sometimes not. This night it was, and was because of this we were driving only a few kilometres an hour when the bird appeared. It literally hawked round in a fairly narrow section just metres from the road ...maybe insects attracted by the street lights? It had been a pretty cold day and evening, maybe insects in short supply, so the lights held added attraction this period?

The checkpoint is, plus or minus, adjacent to km 19 pool.
 
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