Today I had a day of meetings up at the Arava. It was a great opportunity to check the ground and see how many migrants are around...
I first stopped at Yotveta fields. The southern circular field was packed with many hundreds Short-toed Larks (STL) and Red-throated Pipits (RtP). Among them were also two Richard's Pipits and a group of Tawny Pipits were flying by.
A surprise, though not a big rarity, was a pair of Cream-coloured Coursers which were walking around. This species is much more common in the Northern and central Negev and around here seen mostly during autumn and winter.
after the first meetings in Lotan i had a nice Mourning Wheatear (another northern and central Negev bird that is seen around the Arava mostly during autumn and winter).
I than climbed up towards Shizafon and found Black-eared, Hooded and White-crowned Black Wheatears together with more STL's, RtP's Yellow Wagtails and many Red-backed Shrikes.
Mr. Hooded checking the neighbors
Around 10:30 I heard a distant call of Eurasian Cranes and not far after I found a small group of 83 birds flying due SE in a shape of a giant man (or what Uri, my son, called Lukas the "Gormiti" who guard the forests...) After this group passed i had another group of 200 birds and another group of 650 birds all flying in the same general direction.
Just before going into my next meetings, I decided to check the Ovda Valley if there are any migrating Larks already?! No larks were found, but a nice group of some 35 Spotted Sandgrouse and 10-15 Crowned Sandgrouse.
Nothing like a good birding day out in the desert !!!
As for our Sooty Falcon survey, the 6 territories I've been following are still active around. Any day now I expect to see young birds fledging out of their nests...