Tuesday, June 21

The little 500

This time of the year is always very quiet on the birding side. 
we do check the N. Beach every second day or when there are good wind conditions, but otherwise it is very saddle and quiet with few Common, Little and Caspian Terns, few White-eyed Gulls with newly fledged already flying around and also the odd Sooty and Scopoli's Shearwaters. Avi Meir reported last week of a "dark backed Tern" flying around, but he didn't have any optics with him to confirm the ID. presumably this was a Bridled Tern...

at K20 there are about 100-150 Slender-billed Gulls with a single deformed Black-headed Gull and tens of stupid looking chicks of  Black-winged Stilts running and swimming along the edges.

But, it is never boring around Eilat and when the heat rises to the 40 and more, it is great opportunity to enrich our knowledge on the "little 500". This term usually includes birds, but since we don't have the Big 5 here (or at least not most of them...), here we use the term only for the real small things like Butterflies, Dragonflies and Damselflies.

Over the last few days (encouraged by our latest find of the Black Percher and Slender Skimmer) we did some more search for these great little flyers. it was very windy so we didn't expect much and still we managed to get 3 lifers for Re'a of which 1 is new to Eilat according to my check-list and the "Atlas of the Odonata of the Mediterranean and North Africa".

First were the Northern Banded Groundlings Brachythemis leucosticta this is a very common African Dragonfly which is present throughout Israel, but the only earlier records of it around Eilat were from last year during late summer.

not far after, we found the beautiful Oasis Bluetail Ischnura fountaineae  which was never recorded in Eilat but is also known from further north along the Rift Valley.

Next we found a group of 6 Red-veined Dropwings Trithemis arteriosa both males, females and juv's. This is one of the most beautiful African Dragonflies and its unique black markings on the tip of the abdomen makes it a very easy Dragonfly to identify in the field.


and Female

stay tuned as July is just around the corner with its great pelagic list of Tropicbird, Brideled, White-cheeked, Lesser Crested and Crested Terns and maybe this summer we will find also something new...

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