Monday, December 12

Larking out again...

For the last 2 years, we had very good numbers of Larks flocking and forming big concentrations in many different places (Meishar, Ovda...) but this was mainly due to the heavy rains that we had during winter 2010 which enabled a very high reproductive rate of all these desert birds (some with 3 breeding cycles).
On Monday, I was joined by Shay Kabessa (so all the good photos are his...) to go and check the area of Ovda Valley, where I had nice Lark flocks during November, to see if these are still present?!

As we reached to the Valley, it didn't take much until we were stumbled by a big concentration of Bar-tailed Larks. There were at least 100 individuals mixed with some 10's of Trumpeter Finches. Soon after, we located among them few 10's of Temminck's Larks and singles of Thick-billed Larks

After scanning the area we managed to locate another very big flock of mainly TF and BtL(last month I had there at least 400 of each).

We then moved on upper in the valley and found more of all these species (at least another 100 Thick-billed Larks and 40-50 Temminck's Larks) and also Desert & Crested Larks, Hooded, Mourning & White-crowned Wheatears and a few Spotted Sandgrouse which flew by. The most interesting bird though, was a single Dunn's Lark which was feeding franticly alongside Crested and Bar-tailed Larks. Unfortunately by the time I got Shay to the area, we couldn't re-locate the bird (will have to try again sometime next week...)

After enjoying the plains, we drove down to the Arava again and en-route we checked if the Pale Scops Owl which was seen earlier this month (here photographed by Rami Mizrahi), is still present?! Unfortunately we couldn't find any but instead we had a nice group of males Nubian Ibex's which have also suffered much from the long drought of 1998-2009 and have become very scarce in recent years around Eilat and the southern Arava. 

Both White-crowned & Hooded Wheatears were jumping around chasing each other from the best perch...

After I left Shay back at the Hai-bar, I checked again the Samar sewage where a flock of 20 or so Syrian Serins were still present with some Desert Finches and Spanish Sparrows.

I've added a map of most of the IBRCE ringing Controls and Recoveries (see the right most page-tab) for those who are interested. There are still many missing there, which I hope to update sometime soon.  

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