Shalom Israel

We’ve arrived in Israel. What a birding country, and spring migration is in full swing. Warblers everywhere and a steady stream of raptors, storks and cranes pumping northbound.

Migration
Migration

It’s not just birds that abundant, but also birders. The competition Champions of the flyway runs now, and all the teams are scouting. We have been gratiously invited to their WhatsUp group as well as the Telegram group for rare-birds-alert in Israel so we are all set information wise.

Yesterday, we just had a few hours in a park in Tel-Aviv and started out in Israel where we left off in Holland, a Cat-C bird! Vinous-breasted Starling, a bird from south-east Asia.

Vinous-breasted Starling
Vinous-breasted Starling

Generally good birding in the park, including all 4 WP kingfishers in the same park. Lots of good bird and year ticks.

Masked Shrike
Masked Shrike
Eurasian Hoopoe
Eurasian Hoopoe
Turtle Dove
Turtle Dove
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Black-crowned Nightheron
Black-crowned Night Heron

Drove through the night towards the Dead Sea and slept in Arad.

This morning, we started real early, with Wadi Salvadora as the first goal. This is a well know spot for Sinai Rosefinch, a price bird. Also an important bird for us, since if we can find it here, our trip to Egypt later will be much easier and we can fly to Hurghada instead of Sharm El-Sheik. Walking the steep slope up the wadi we soon found shy Striolated Buntings.

Striolated Bunting
Striolated Bunting

A good bird, soon thereafter we also found a pair of Sinai Rosefinch, picture sucks, but hey.

Sinai Rosefinch
Sinai Rosefinch

With the Rosefinch in the pocket, we descended and found a Cyprus warbler on the way down, mmmm and also a Scrub Warbler.

Cyprus Warbler
Cyprus Warbler
Scrub Warbler
Scrub Warbler

We continued to Ein Gedi and the tourist trap Wadi David where a Pallas’s Leaf Warbler had been seen for quite some time. The touristy paved path was teeming with birds, warblers everywhere. Common and rare.

Rüppels's Warbler
Rüppels’s Warbler (male)
Rüppel's Warbler (female)
Rüppel’s Warbler (female)
Lesser Whitethroat
Lesser Whitethroat
Blackstart
Blackstart

The Tristram’s Starling was abundant and everywhere.

Tristram's Starling
Tristram’s Starling

Our goal was the Pallas’s Leaf Warbler, however it’s not easy to keep focused when such new lifer birds as Cretzschmar’s bunting appear. Erik screamed ROSTSPARV (Swedish name) and physically vibrated when he saw it.

Cretzschmar's bunting
Cretzschmar’s bunting (female)

Finally we found the lost vagrant, the Pallas’s Leaf warbler in a small stream of water.

Pallas's Leaf Warbler
Pallas’s Leaf Warbler

With a spectacular start of the Israel trip we had a slow lunch at Arad and then went searching for Long-billed Pipit in an area where both of our friends Joachim Bertrands and Markus Craig had seen the bird previous years. An area with a habitat that exactly fitted the description of preferred habit in the Collins Guide, slopes with flat rocks and herbs. We walked those beautiful slopes for several hours, each step a joy for the nose. It smells of kitchen while walking in herbs. The area is some distance north of Arad, and birding in general there was just great. Blue Rock thrush, Spectacled Warbler, Rüppels’s warpler, Eastern Orphean warbler, Prinias, Finch’s Wheatear, Woodchat Shrike, Subalpine Warbler, Chukars, Steppe Buzzard, Pallid Harrier, Masked Shrike, Cyprus Warbler and more. Finally after many kilometers in the legs, Mårten found the bird.

Finished off the day with searching for Crakes in a sewage pond close to Mitzpe Ramon where we spent the night in a cheap weed-smoker hippie hostel. Long day, but a spectacular birding day, 87 birds in total and 23 new for the year. Maybe later during our two weeks in Israel when/if we run out of new species we’ll try for a Big Day.

 

4 thoughts on “Shalom Israel”

  1. En gång skrev journalisten Nathan Sachar ett reportage i DN från dessa trakter där han skrev om kolibrier som fladdrade i buskarna. Jag mejlade honom att han antagligen avsåg solfåglar, närmare bestämt palestinasolfågel (Cinnyris osea), och att kolibrier endast finns i Amerika. Då fick jag till svar att läsarna skulle förstå bättre vad han menade om han skrev kolibrier än solfåglar. Det tror jag inte alls. Allmänheten är nog mer allmänbildad om natur och fåglar än den ordinarie journalisten.

  2. Hi guys,
    It has been a pleasure to meet you at Wadi En Salvadori, we are now back in Belgium, alas…
    We see that the crop remains excellent so far, congratulations; we send you our best wishes for the remaining 9 months of your Big Year.
    We will follow you: keep on posting regular news and beautiful photos!
    Benoit, Benoit, David and François

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