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Trying to sweep up in Southern Israel 21-26 February 2020 (1 Viewer)

dantheman

Bah humbug
Yep, great account Nick. Just been the once myself (think it was in early March?).


Would love to do an analysis/spreadsheet of remaining targets and what others need too, just for fun. At least 3 WP ticks in there (probably the same or so from Paul's recent trip), no idea how many Israel ticks.
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Cheers Paul, obviously many are just saying Dead Sea area, but it surprises me just how many have seen them in Eilat mountains too, I actually thought they were restricted to wadi's further north.
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Yep, great account Nick. Just been the once myself (think it was in early March?).


Would love to do an analysis/spreadsheet of remaining targets and what others need too, just for fun. At least 3 WP ticks in there (probably the same or so from Paul's recent trip), no idea how many Israel ticks.

I'm running out of birds to see there to be honest Dan, though you would expect that after spending an accumulative 18 days birding!

But its always great birding there. And I still need 2 biggies in Desert Owl and Thick-billed Lark. So will have to return one day.

I also ought to try further north, having concentrated exclusively in the south.
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Cheers Paul, obviously many are just saying Dead Sea area, but it surprises me just how many have seen them in Eilat mountains too, I actually thought they were restricted to wadi's further north.

The Eilat Mountains & the Ein Gedi amphitheatre were the traditional sites before access became more interesting. No access to deserts/wadis at night, limited approvals for guides, etc.

(Indeed, in 2010, I believe I know the wadi in the Eilat Mountains where our minibus got stuck in a failed attempt.)

Map attached from The Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996) which describes the Eilat mountains as low density and the Dead Sea area as high density.

All the best

Paul
 

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wolfbirder

Well-known member
The Eilat Mountains & the Ein Gedi amphitheatre were the traditional sites before access became more interesting. No access to deserts/wadis at night, limited approvals for guides, etc.

(Indeed, in 2010, I believe I know the wadi in the Eilat Mountains where our minibus got stuck in a failed attempt.)

Map attached from The Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996) which describes the Eilat mountains as low density and the Dead Sea area as high density.

All the best

Paul

Wow look at that, wonder if its changed much? Presumably not too much.
They are so enigmatic, there is something really special about the desert, and its ornithological treasures.
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
A few more photos from the trip...................I love scenery mobile phone shots :)-.

1) The expansive Hameishar Plain, with vegetation looking very worn out and thin.
2) Wadi Dragot, looking back down to the left to Route 90 from the most obvious watchpoint, though you can go higher. There is an area by the bridge which appears to show access and a driveable track at least for the first few hundred metres. Beware of flash floods in places like this, they can be perilous. The Kibbutz is to the right, and the Israel security checkpoint to Palestine on Route 90 is only a short distance further along Route 90 (to the left but out of view), perhaps about half a mile, and less than 50 metres past the checkpoint the left turn up to Metsoke Dragot appears, often partially obscured by traffic queueing to get back past the checkpoint back into Israel. There is accommodation and a bar at Metsoke Dragot, I nearly booked it via Booking.com.
3) Wadi Dragot, looking to the right, deep into the wadi. Wonderful scenery.
 

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Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
Great report Nick. I love reports where people take the time to try and impart useful site details, as you do :t:
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Great report Nick. I love reports where people take the time to try and impart useful site details, as you do :t:

Thanks Larry, I hope the information is ok to divulge (Kalia etc) but the info is in the public domain anyway, I’ve just made it more public. The open onion fields clearly attract moths and hence the Nightjars, but they apparently breed on a closed military area on the receding sandy beaches of the grim Dead Sea itself, according to Israeli articles.

I hoped I could find them somewhere near their publicised northern end of Dead Sea, but never expected to find such a productive area.
 
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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
The open onion fields clearly attract moths and hence the Nightjars, but they apparently breed on a closed military area on the receding sandy beaches of the grim Dead Sea itself, according to Israeli articles.

I confess that I wasn't even aware of the Israeli articles. Have you got links? I was only aware of the population through conversations last year and I suspect my exchanges this year about sensitive areas may have referred to breeding rather than feeding areas.

Dead jealous despite a single previous sighting at Yotvata. (Edit - pic attached. Lacking in a bit of detail. 3:))

All the best

Paul
 

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KenM

Well-known member
Some great scenic shots there Nick, reminded me of the landscape thirty four years ago. Can recall heading North out of Eilat for Jerusalem (can’t remember the model or manufacturer) suffice to say it was small, suspect suspension and it had AC..thank god! It was the driving for hours (seemingly for ever) four up with two of the passengers wanting to be elsewhere :(, then suddenly seeing some small (and I mean small) clumps of green vegetation sprouting up randomly “islanded” by an endless desert...ah yes remember it well...great stuff. :t:
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
I confess that I wasn't even aware of the Israeli articles. Have you got links? I was only aware of the population through conversations last year and I suspect my exchanges this year about sensitive areas may have referred to breeding rather than feeding areas.

Dead jealous despite a single previous sighting at Yotvata. (Edit - pic attached. Lacking in a bit of detail. 3:))

All the best

Paul

Hi Paul

This article is all I really found, so I knew they were round there, but to be honest I just ran into them at Kalia Fields - there was no real groundwork I can take credit for, just luck I think. The fields do not appear to be their breeding site, but their feeding site.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news...ird-finds-a-home-on-israeli-kibbutz-1.5806283

Also this from the Israeli Birding portal: -

https://www.birds.org.il/en/species-page/306/species-description

And this small article from last year linking the owls in a plantation to Egyptian Nightjars nearby - without naming a plantation as such.

https://focusingonwildlife.com/news/desert-nights/

My vague memory also recalled a previously-seen report around that end of the Dead Sea for both the owls and about 7 Nightjars, but subsequently I have never been able to refind it. But I recalled that multiple Nightjars were reported.

It was the craziest Nightjar spectacle I have ever experienced, and I love all Nightjars! I really hope others can enjoy seeing them.
 
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wolfbirder

Well-known member
Some great scenic shots there Nick, reminded me of the landscape thirty four years ago. Can recall heading North out of Eilat for Jerusalem (can’t remember the model or manufacturer) suffice to say it was small, suspect suspension and it had AC..thank god! It was the driving for hours (seemingly for ever) four up with two of the passengers wanting to be elsewhere :(, then suddenly seeing some small (and I mean small) clumps of green vegetation sprouting up randomly “islanded” by an endless desert...ah yes remember it well...great stuff. :t:

Ha, like it Ken. Much of Southern Israel is undoubtedly devoid of vegetation, and although the Dead Sea is a very apt description, I find the variety of landscapes harsh but fascinating. But you are right, driving through them for hours on end can be mentally unstimulating to say the least.
 

KenM

Well-known member
Ha, like it Ken. Much of Southern Israel is undoubtedly devoid of vegetation, and although the Dead Sea is a very apt description, I find the variety of landscapes harsh but fascinating. But you are right, driving through them for hours on end can be mentally unstimulating to say the least.

Suddenly remembered Nick mentioning the Dead Sea. I can recall floating (got a shot somewhere...) in the Dead Sea with moi reading a newspaper! Then getting out and drying off (seconds) then looking West to Masada and seeing this long line of “black dots“ ascending the mountain, I thought about it...but it was the 2nd week of April (you kinda almost stopped birding at 8am) because of the heat upper thirties at that time....and it was now mid-day!!! :eek!:
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Suddenly remembered Nick mentioning the Dead Sea. I can recall floating (got a shot somewhere...) in the Dead Sea with moi reading a newspaper! Then getting out and drying off (seconds) then looking West to Masada and seeing this long line of “black dots“ ascending the mountain, I thought about it...but it was the 2nd week of April (you kinda almost stopped birding at 8am) because of the heat upper thirties at that time....and it was now mid-day!!! :eek!:

Everyone says you should try floating in the Dead Sea Ken. I can't remember who told me, but one birder I met at Spurn told me he did just that and then forgot to wash the salt off, and by the end of the day when he had been out birding, he had developed the most awful sores around his groin and elsewhere, where the salt rubbed.

For some reason, its most definitely put me off trying it :)-.
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
A few more photographs

If you like culture and scenery: -

1) On Route 31 just as you reach the Dead Sea, you see these columns marking the Dead Sea lookout.
2) At the same location there is this look out point.
3) The view looking from the above point down into Wadi Zohar. You can see the driveable track leading down to the main road on Route 90, and as you exit you can cross into the small quiet village of Neve Zohar itself, that is where my accommodation was.
4) The view down to the left with Zohar Fortress visible in the wadi.
 

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wolfbirder

Well-known member
Last few photos

Final set of photographs: -

1) Kalia Plantation highlighting just how excellent access is with this road going the length north to south of the plantation, home of Pallid and European Scops Owls.
2) Another graffiti covered building at Kalia Historic Hotel.
3) Shaded bushes at En Gedi (Ein Gedi) attract warblers.
4) Final meal at Hotel Vista Boutique in Eilat.
 

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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Nick

You have really added some information here to the wealth of information already out there.

Many thanks
 

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