Eilat – part two

Western Reef Egret - click to enlarge. Seriously you should click!

Western Reef Egret – click to enlarge. Seriously you should click!

I woke up at 5.30 because I wanted to go to check the beach at Eilat before the days birding really started. Straited Heron is a regular visitor to the beaches of Eilat, but so far we didn’t have any luck locating it.

I went to the beach, but I only found a Western Reef Egret and a lot of Red-eyed Gulls. And finally I found a spot where it was possible to get close to them. So I got some nice photos at last.

Red-eyed Gull in winter plumage.

Red-eyed Gull in winter plumage.

After coming back to Arava Hostel were we had stayed (a nice and cheap place in Eilat) we had some breakfast and then we headed to meet with Itai Shanni – leader of Eilat Bird observatory – as he had promised to take us to some places around Eilat.

We met with Itai and got a lot of valuable information. For instance he finally helped us see a Straited Heron at the Dolphin Reef Resort. Otherwise there were not many birds around. Itai has not seen so much rain in Eilat in 15 years and it really has changed the rules of engagement when it comes to the desert species. Now the birds don’t come to drink or stick to a specific green spot, because there are green spots and water all over.

Arabian Warbler

Arabian Warbler

The highligt of the day came in the afternoon where we found two Arabian Warblers in some Acasia-scrub just south of Yotvata. It is really a nice and big sylvia – and a lifter! But it is not an easy bird as it tends to disappear for a long time.

In the evening we had another try at the Egyptian Nightjars and while looking for them a Pharaoe Eagle Owl flew over our head. We didn’t get any photos, but the Egyptian Nightjars were quite cooperative.

Egyptian Nightjar

Egyptian Nightjar

Silas Olofson

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