Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Israeli migrants

We didn't exactly experience vintage spring migration in southern Israel during our trip - in fact it was generally quite poor. By the sound (and looks) of things, it's been a 'wet' winter in the Negev this year and as a result green areas are more widespread than normal, which obviously doesn't help to concentrate migrating birds. That said, one or two sites proved consistently productive throughout the week, with one these being the wadi at k76-77. Here I had four new birds (Asian Desert Warbler, Hill Sparrow, Bimaculated Lark and Cretzschmar's Bunting) among the good numbers of migrants, including as Tawny Pipits, Short-toed Larks, Lesser Whitethroats and wheatears of varying flavour - all grounded by the persistent (and often brisk) northerly winds during our trip. Despite plenty of birds, obtaining photos was actually pretty hard as most were pretty wary and would fly whenever you got within reasonable distance.

Hill Sparrow

Cretzschmar's Bunting

Bimaculated Lark

K19-20 were also pretty productive throughout our stay, although the species range was obviously quite different given the saltpans and other waterbodies here. It was the only place we saw Water Pipits regularly, while there were plenty of migrant waders including Marsh Sandpipers and the ditch at k19 held Baillon's, Little and Spotted Crakes with a Water Rail thrown in for good measure!

 Red-throated Pipit

 Water Pipit

Little Crake

Purple Heron

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