keskiviikko 22. toukokuuta 2013

15.5. Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse in Hand!

Markus, Tom and Esko @ NB
Early morning at North Beach produced three Sooty Shearwaters, three Oystercatchers and c.100 migrating Common Terns. The terns were particularly interesting as there were many longipennis and some intermediate looking individuals.

Pallid Swift photo session at km20.

Pallid Swift

adult Barbary Falcon
Sooty Falcon watch at km20 was succesfull despite the lack of target species. A pair of Barbary Falcons came to hunt in the pools from Eilat mountains, few hundred Swifts were hunting low above plantations and wader numbers had increased.

While others were still photographing swifts I went to check some warbler that I saw briefly in flight but found instead this female Black-headed Bunting! It was Israeli-tick even for Markus and the first in Eilat this spring.

A single Collared Pratincole tricked us for a little while with it's broken outer tail feathers and narrow white tips to secondaries. Km20 hosted also 100 Little Stints, few Broad-billed Sands, Whiskered and White-winged Terns etc.

Semi-tame Squacco at km19

750 Slender-billed Gulls, mostly 2cy birds were feeding with insects in km20. It was fun to watch a huge swarm going ahead of gulls.

All the Yellow Wagtails we saw, except one male Black-headed, were this type of females. Strong super and prominent sub-ocular stripe are features of beema

After the pools we continued to check some parks. Markus introduced Canada Park to us, none of us had visited it before. We found a very photogenic Cuckoo, couple of Masked Shrikes, Barred Warblers, Spotted Flys and about ten Eastern Ollies.

We decided to check if there were any raptor migration going on as the wind was from good direction. In 20 minutes it was clear that we were watching empty skies. While driving down from the mountains there was two birds on the road which i first thought were going to be Sand Partridges. For our astonishment they were a pair of Lichtenstein's Sandgrouses with chicks! Must be an extremely rare sight!

Everybody started to take photos instinctively but soon Tomppa noticed a lonely chick on the road. We needed to remove and Tomppa tried to approach it carefully and asked for me to help. Well i just passed him and took the chick and replaced it on the roadside nearby it parents. Then we left the scene asap to make sure we didn't disturb the family.
This was undoubtly one of the finest moments in my 20 years of birding!

Next stop was cemetery where we got the only Ficedula of the trip, a nice adult female Collared Flycather.

Almost every tree and bush in Eilat seemed to host an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler or two. Surprisingly skulking birds often gave themselves up only by alarm call. Pallida was outnumbered only by Blackcaps.

We checked Ofira and Holland Parks and found more Eastern Ollies and also some Barred Warblers, all of them were adult males.

We ran out of parks and did km19 and km20 again. After those while driving to NB Esko noticed large raptor soaring above the Jordanian border station. Already the first circle gave up it's indentity: Crested Honey B! And what a handsome adult male it was! Jände and Esko got much better pics with their tele-lenses and from the pics it seemed there was nothing suggesting hybrid or anything else than a fine CHB. Funny thing was that we didn't see any migrating European Honey B's during the day :)

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