• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Southern Israel - Relaxed migration short break 20-25 March 2016 (1 Viewer)

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Wow just shows how I just scratched the surface with routine species. At km82 I actually drove out onto the plain to the right of the wadi at least one km, but no luck. I found Yotvata tough but did not even go to the sewage works .

I did literally walk all over se'ifim plain but it is a vast area. Didn't know about temmincks larks there.

Is lanner still possible in the area Steve?
 

Steve Arlow

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Lanners were being reported around Sde Boker which is just about midway between Eilat and Tel Aviv but often trickier in the Arava.

The Thick-billed was to the South West, probably about 1.5-2miles, of the main vegetated wadi; which is on the left if you are heading north. Caution at this general location as its part of the military firing range, Noam was advising people of this during the week. Don't want to drive over something makes you go boom.

We went to HaMeisher Plains looking for Temmincks Larks there as they are meant to breed there but again no luck.

There are a lot of locations within the Arava that can provide variability. Ketura Sewage ponds close to the road near the Kibbutz; Neot Samader Sewage ponds close to the eastern end of the kibbutz was good and held Citrine Wagtail, Yotvata Sewage ponds are a favourite site of mine. Kibbutz Samar Olive Grove can be good and so on.

Bonelli's Eagles are present at En Avdat in the gorge there along with Griffon and Egyptian Vultures whilst the Dead Sea can produce the Rosefinch and Striolated Bunting, Bonelli's Eagle, Fan-tailed Raven and others needed a guide, Nubian Nightjar and the Desert Tawny Owl.

Mt. Amsa is very good with rolling green hills and scree slops whilst LaHave near Be'er Sheva is in the Judean Plain and has Spectacled Warblers, Long-billed Pipits and others and is a great place.

Urim Fields are best in winter with winter Skylark and Short-toed Lark flocks as well as speciality targets such as Saker, Eastern Imperial Eagle and Sociable Lapwing.

In the far north, Hula, Mt. Hermon and Golan Heights etc you are in the range of Rock Nuthatch, Syrian Serin, Calandra Lark, Finch's Wheatear, Sombre Tit, tens of thousands of Cranes, Black-shouldered Kites, White-tailed Eagles, Moustached Warblers, Lesser and Great Spotted and Eastern Imperial Eagles, Marbled and Fudge Ducks and so on depending on season.

Far north to the south is probably about 6-7 hours drive direct but with so much in between for birding.

Each year differs at migration times and recently Wood Warblers, Collared and Semi-collared Flycatchers have been arriving in increasing numbers.

Probably a bit of self promotion by my recent trips photos can be found here, I will get this years up and running probably in the summer once I'm back from there in May.


http://www.birdersplayground.co.uk/Overseas Photos.html


If you do go back; enjoy.
 
Last edited:

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Cheers Steve, I wish I had had access to such information whilst there, but I wasn't staying at the Agamin hotel.

Yes I intend on returning, now I've got the Israel birding bug. So much to see there!

Even thought I had a couple of Levant Sparrowhawks over Holland Park, but too early for them?

I also had a probable Honey Buzzard in the Date Palms on 24 March at Km20, just where you turn right towards the Km20 pools, it was flitting between the trees. But its too early for them isn't it? Do Steppe Buzzards use the Date palms? I thought that was unusual but it flew down the line of Date palms and I lost it, never able to fully get on it unfortunately. But it bugs me!

Your images are fantastic BTW.
 
Last edited:

MSA

I may be relaxed but I'm not drunk....
Cheers Steve, I wish I had had access to such information whilst there, but I wasn't staying at the Agamin hotel.

Yes I intend on returning, now I've got the Israel birding bug. So much to see there!

Even thought I had a couple of Levant Sparrowhawks over Holland Park, but too early for them?

I also had a probable Honey Buzzard in the Date Palms on 24 March at Km20, just where you turn right towards the Km20 pools, it was flitting between the trees. But its too early for them isn't it? Do Steppe Buzzards use the Date palms? I thought that was unusual but it flew down the line of Date palms and I lost it, never able to fully get on it unfortunately. But it bugs me!

Your images are fantastic BTW.

Never say "not possible" with birds! 19 March 2007 I took a pic of a large, distant raptor over the date palms between North Beach and the Bird Park - after posting it here, turned out it was an Oriental Honey Buzzard! It had been wintering but no-one had seen it hitherto; came back the next winter as well I believe.
 

MSA

I may be relaxed but I'm not drunk....
Cheers Steve, I wish I had had access to such information whilst there, but I wasn't staying at the Agamin hotel.

Yes I intend on returning, now I've got the Israel birding bug. So much to see there!

Even thought I had a couple of Levant Sparrowhawks over Holland Park, but too early for them?

I also had a probable Honey Buzzard in the Date Palms on 24 March at Km20, just where you turn right towards the Km20 pools, it was flitting between the trees. But its too early for them isn't it? Do Steppe Buzzards use the Date palms? I thought that was unusual but it flew down the line of Date palms and I lost it, never able to fully get on it unfortunately. But it bugs me!

Your images are fantastic BTW.

Never say "not possible" with birds! WRT your Honey Buzzard possible, 19 March 2007 I took a pic of a large, distant raptor over the date palms between North Beach and the Bird Park - after posting it here, turned out it was an Oriental Honey Buzzard! It had been wintering but no-one had seen it hitherto; came back the next winter as well I believe.
 

Steve Arlow

Well-known member
United Kingdom
There was a Crested Honey Buzzard on and off around the date palms so it could have possibly have been that bird?
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Cheers Mark, Steve, Paul, very likely just a Steppe Buzzard but who knows. If it was a Crested Honey Buzzard, it was not pinned down to I/d unfortunately. It just looked a bit Honey Buzzard-ish with its glaring yellow and black eyes. The head was all I really saw, as it flitted between date palm trees.
 
Last edited:

wolfbirder

Well-known member
I know I am clutching at straws here, but would a Steppe Buzzard roosting in Date Palms fly around from one tree to another in quite rapid succession?

Of course it would:smoke:................. I am so annoyed I didn't spend more time trying to see it properly now though. Could have been the wintering Crested Honey Buzzard. To think I only stopped for a pee.

Same as the probable Sardinian Warbler that I saw briefly just behind Yotvata Date Farm (possible Arabian Warbler).
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
It just looked a bit Honey Buzzard-ish with its glaring yellow and black eyes. The head was all I really saw, as it flitted between date palm trees.

Nick

Your description of the eye colour seems sufficient to eliminate Crested Honey Buzzard - see here:-

http://www.birds.org.il/en/article-page.aspx?articleId=308

'Eye color - Male Crested Honey Buzzard has a dark (blood red) eye as opposed to the diagnostic piercing yellow eyes of Honey Buzzard. Adult Female Crested Honey Buzzards have pale yellow eyes, not nearly as rich as in Honey Buzzards.'

If the returning bird see eye colour in the attachment. I looked for it and dipped several years ago. I saw a number of Steppe Buzzard in the Date Palms.

All the best

Paul
 

Attachments

  • Sandgrouse_30(2)_Koss_et_al_(pp201-203).pdf
    1,007.5 KB · Views: 48
Last edited:

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Cheers Paul, I wouldn't claim it despite my clear desperation to 8-P.

The bird I saw definitely had that honey buzzard-like staring and almost pertruding eyes, perhaps the eye colour wasn't as blatantly obvious as I made out in my earlier post, but the sighting was so brief and then it kept flitting from tree to tree in an agitated fashion, but always landing out of view, before flying off down the treeline. Its a fenced-off private Date Palm so I could not go in.

Booked flight out with Monarch to Ovda for 30 March next year, when I can concentrate on specialities and rarities more.

Thanks for your help.:t:
 

KenM

Well-known member
Just read your report Nick!....Excellently detailed (much better than I could muster), and for me an immediate flashback to '86...my single and only visit to this celebrated "Hot Spot". Ah yes....the distant "kettling" of raptors, Red-throated Pips on the manicured lawns and Little Green Bee Eaters to name but a few...It might tempt me back. :t:
 

barrie1

Barrie Armitt
Great report, Nick - as others have said...excellent detail to help plan a trip. Wish I had the discipline to write up a trip report or two and and provide other birders with the sort of info in your report.
We probably crossed paths around Eilat as I was there at the same time ( did a week in the north and two weeks in Eilat. Same as you, didn't travel far from base at the field school - no hotels for me...took the tent;-).
Had Temminck's HL at S'efim Plain a couple of times... male displaying in song flight so appear to be breeding in the area. Also had fly over Thick-billed.. It's a fantastic location for Larks and wheatears ( 7 species of wheatear and 7 species of lark. As you say, it's a big area and I spent hours there...literally dawn till dusk on one occasion. Good idea to pack some sun cream next time;)

All the best

Baz
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Cheers Ken, Baz for your words of kind encouragement.

4 days just allows you to scratch the surface really, now I can't wait til next spring to go back and spend hours at places like Se'ifim Plain and KM82, now I've got the commoner 'lifers' out of the way. Namaqua Dove is another I missed, as well as Lanner at Sde Boker.

I trudged all across Se'ifim Plain but I couldn't find any Temminks Larks or Thick-Billed Larks, though I was told the latter were there. I seem to have knack of missing good birds :smoke:
 

KenM

Well-known member
Cheers Ken, Baz for your words of kind encouragement.

4 days just allows you to scratch the surface really, now I can't wait til next spring to go back and spend hours at places like Se'ifim Plain and KM82, now I've got the commoner 'lifers' out of the way. Namaqua Dove is another I missed, as well as Lanner at Sde Boker.

I trudged all across Se'ifim Plain but I couldn't find any Temminks Larks or Thick-Billed Larks, though I was told the latter were there. I seem to have knack of missing good birds :smoke:

If memory serves FWIW, I can recall KM post 32 for Hoopoe Lark? Incredible now thinking back, two weeks before departure to Eilat in '86 I stumbled across...think it was on BBC 2? a natural history documentary film on desert wildlife, and it showed Hoopoe lark displaying, and very importantly singing!

Fast forward to the holiday, which found me at the said km post, where I'd been wandering through the pebble dashed almost white sanded desert for some time, when a barely discernible breeze from the East suddenly brought those liquid notes borne on the wind....to my ear! Legging it across the sand in my "Jesus boots" eventually enabled me to catch up with this stunning bird!

It was just "thee and me" in a most spectacular landscape, as it performed somersaults barely 3 metres away!....If only I'd had a camera at the time. :-C
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Hoopoe Lark is another classic desert lark I failed to connect with Ken.

What a shame about Km33. I try not to walk too far these days as I have terrible back ache afterwards.

But I have the Israel bug now and can't wait to go back.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top