Emin Yogurtcuoglu and I are currently birding Israel. And what a country that is. It is small and yet it contains tons of interesting birds. So it is a perfect target for a short vacation, where birds have the focus.
Emin and I started with meeting Jonathan Meyrav near the airport. But before we met him we came across a dam with good numbers of ducks – and no less than 14 White-headed Ducks were quite nice. Jonathan pretty much knows what there is to know about Israeli birding. So he helped us fill our maps with dots, markings and notes about where to go in order to see which species.
The first place we visited was Lahov. It is the southern most breeding area for Long-billed Pipit. We spend a few hours in the area, where we saw Eastern Imperial Eagle, Finche’s Wheatear, Spectaled Warbler, Sibirian Stonechat and Palestine Sunbirds. Eventually Emin say two Long-billed Pipits, but I never caught up with them.
After that we went to Eilat, where we met with Itai – leader for the ringing station. He gave us a ton of good advise and soon we caught up with species like Western Reef Egret, White-eyed Gull, Blackstart, Sand Partridge, Trumpeter Finch and many many other species.
Well, when you’re in the Negev desert you expect dry conditions. Today it was raining cats and dogs most of the day. So target species like Hoopoe Lark, Dunn’s Lark, Temminck’s, Thick-billed and Bar-tailed Lark were not possible today. But hopefully they’ll show up soon.