Saturday, January 19

Signs of Spring

It is mid January already and there are many signs of Spring which will soon arrive.
Steppe Eagles are already on the move - singles are seen daily and like each year, I wonder where are they heading so early when everything is still frozen up north?
Asian Desert and Spectacled Warblers are found in many corners of the Arava and up in the air there are constant calls and shrills of Pallid Swifts on migration while at least 3 Great Spotted Cuckoo's were seen both in Eilat and around Samar.

2 different Steppe Shrikes were photographed over the last week around the Arava, I wonder if they represent early movements?!

Last Thursday I had a free hour around Samar and i went to check if the Little Owl is still present. While I could not locate it, I had a great opportunity to study the differences of Water and Buff-bellied Pipits at Samar turf fields with no less than 3 of the later present among roughly 100 Water Pipits.
Water Pipit
Buff-bellied Pipit
 Today, Yaniv found the Little Owl again at the same spot...


Saturday, January 5

Happy New 2013!

So where have the blog gone? Why are you not posting any more, we want to hear some updates... 
In fact, I can think of so many excuses but the truth is, that I was just too lazy and didn't have the mood to sit down and write while so many observations and reports have piled on my table over the last 1.5 months and there are many nice birds all around. Many Asian Desert Warblers can be seen both around the Arava and up at Uvda Valley which due to the recent floods has started Spring blooming already. This year there are also unusual numbers of Spectacled Warblers which can be found in suitable habitat around the Arava and the southern Negev.

Dunn's Lark have seem to take few close-by winter territories where both Avi Meir and myself have found it very confiding. Many birders have managed to see the bird and Avi has produced top quality photos of this enigmatic species.

A SA birder who lives in Kibutz Lotan is insisting on an observation of Verreaux's Eagle next to the cow shed a month ago, but the bird was never re-sighted unfortunately, but on a trip there I've found a nice male Goshawk.
Long-eared Owls are present this winter in different places and a single Little Owl from the local subspecies of 'lilith' was seen recently around Samar.

Uvda Valley has been very productive and over the last 2 months, I had many visits all producing good assemblies of wonderful Larks; Temminck's, Bar-tailed, Thick-billed, Lesser Short-toed and even 2 Dunn's Larks were present up at Uvda, together with many White Wagtails, Red-throated and Water Pipits and many Skylarks as well as the usual Spotted and Crowned Sandgrouse, Trumpeter Finches and many Desert, Isabeline, Hooded, Mourning Wheatears. Last Friday I was joined by Yael, Ron, Tzadok, Shachar and Limor and together we erected 108 meter nets which produced 4 Thick-billed, 1 Temminck's and 1 Lesser Short-toed Lark, all species which are very seldom being trapped in Israel and still there is so much to learn on their ageing and all their moult strategies.

3-4 Greater Spotted Eagles are seen around the southern Arava and there are at least 2 adult and 1 juv' Eastern Imperial Eagles and also 2 Bonelli's Eagles which wander around. 

Over the last 2 months we had many changes at the IBRCE park and we were busy with building and doing different maintenance works. There are still many more duties to do towards the opening of the Spring which is due to start around mid February and I hope that we will be ready for another great season.