Negev and Eilat

Little Green Bee-eater - what a superb bird!

Little Green Bee-eater – what a superb bird – click to enlarge!

It has been raining and raining. Or as Emin put it: “The Negev Desert has turned into the Negev Sea”. Ancient river beds are turned into genuine rivers, roads are flooded and it gets as cold as 5 degrees celsius. Not what we had expected and hoped for.

Pallid Swift

Pallid Swift

We picked up an Israeli hitchhiker and he told us that this weather was extremely unusual. And even though it is good for the country it is NOT good for watching desert birds. But between the showers we tried to do some birding.

First we tried to relocate a Dunn’s Lark, which has been present for a while just north of Eilat. We tried for quite a while between the showers, but we didn’t see a single lark – only a few Pallid Swifts.

White-crowned Wheatear

White-crowned Wheatear and Desert Lark

We then tried for Sinai Rosefinch at Shehoret Canyon – also north of Eilat. It actually got sunny for a about 30 minutes and in that golden moment we saw 10+ Sand Partridges, 2 Desert Larks and I also got myself two lifers – White-crowned and Hooded Wheatear. So that was a good 30 minutes.

Hooded Wheatear - note how the tail appears almost reddish.

Hooded Wheatear – note how the tail appears almost reddish.

We then headed to Samar Turf Fields in hope of seeing Buff-bellied Pipits, but we “only” saw some Red-throated and Water Pipits – and a superb male Desert Wheatear.

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

We hoped that the better weather would continue, so we headed north to Yotvata circular fields. Upon arrival we saw our first Little Green Bee-eater. But the fields were empty. Only a Siberian Stonechat and a male Hen Harrier were seen before the military came to check what we were doing – a turk and a faroese close to the jordanian border is not exactly what they’re used to, so they asked us to leave. And it was fine with us as the rain got so bad that birding was impossible anyways.

Siberian Stonechat

Siberian Stonechat

Silas Olofson

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