Saturday, August 3

Great fun down the beach

The last few weeks have been amazing down at N. Beach as can be seen in my previous posts. It is like going back in time to the mid 80's when I've just started birding and Eilat north beach was teaming with great birds.
Bridled Terns which have shown a great influx this summer and daily groups of up to 15 birds seen very close to N Beach (this morning while enjoying with my kids at the Coral reserve had a group of 11 flying very close).

But no less interesting: White-cheeked Terns have become the most common species over the last 2 weeks with groups of up to 35 individuals regularly seen.

Cory's Shearwaters have also been regularly seen (up to 5 individuals together) and the odd Arctic Skua, Lesser Crested Tern  were all spotted regularly.

We've had a great time so far with no less than 7 Tern species occurring regularly (4 species in this photo).

Off course we all eyed for some specific species which we all  been very eager to re-connect with, namely Red-billed Tropicbird and Sooty Tern both seen once each since mid July but with no luck so far...

Here is Shachar's report from this last Fri' "pelagic outing" we had:

"Friday, 5:30 in the morning, 11 enthusiastic and excited Eilat Birders set sail to watch some of the wonderful sea-birds in their natural environment. Expectations were high as the past week had daily reports of Bridled Terns, Lesser Crested Terns, Shearwaters, Skuas and even Sooty Falcons hunting over the sea. The previous evening I watched five Cory's Shearwaters cruise down the waters on the Jordanian side and come to rest on the sea opposite the North Beach.
No sooner had we left the marina and the first White-eyed Gull passed across our bows and was soon followed by a steady stream of White-cheeked Terns heading out to fish. On the bouys just past the Hotels we spotted two Mangrove Herons, one juvenile and one adult. We then headed as close to the sea border with Jordan as is permitted. On the border bouys sat White-cheeked Terns and White-eyed Gulls while a Sea-turtle poked his head out of the water next to the boat.
When the action dried up we headed out to sea and met our first group of seven Bridled Terns. These elegant birds are a special sight on the open sea. On at least 4 more occasions we saw groups of Bridled Terns including two who flew straight over us and one that sat on a small buoy.
There were some long periods without action where you could enjoy the wonderful views, excellent weather and great company. While the Shearwaters kept their distance, two Arctic Skuas did the rounds of the South Beach and a Sooty Falcon tried his luck catching terns. While heading back to the marina we pulled up alongside a row of White-cheeked Terns for some close up views.

What a wonderful way to spend the morning! Eilat and it's birds are truly breath-taking!"

Apart from N. Beach, many birds can be seen in various places and Autumn is surely on the move. Wader numbers are steadily increasing at K20 and new arrivals are seen daily. Larks have started their post breeding movement and both Thick-billed,Hoopoe and Bar-tailed Larks were seen more than once already in usual spots and this is true also to Hooded and Mourning and White-crowned Black Wheatears.

Last but surely not least; a bird which I photographed in Aug 2000 has just been re-considered and is now believed to be the first ever Mongolian Plover of the more eastern subspecies group in Israel - surely there is plenty to look up towards this coming month...

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