There’s no great secret as to why I love going back to Israel. The birding is first rate, so check out the following selection from my recent Sunbird tour to Israel. We started off in the Negev, taking in Nizzana, Ovda, Sde Bokur and Mitzpe Ramon, then moved down to Eilat for five nights followed by a night near the Dead Sea and two nights in the Hula Valley. Epic migration and some great local specialities. The photos are in no particular order.
Common Cranes. Approx 250 fly over us near Nizzana.
Collared Flycatcher, male. Our first decent migrant.
Arabian Babbler feeding juvenile
A small number of the thousands of Steppe Buzzards that flew over us in the Eilat mountains one morning.
Yellow Wagtail. I presume this is a hybrid feldegg x lutea, given the rather “taivana” like appearance.
Pied Bush Chat. This was approximately the 12th record for the Western Palearctic, and we were lucky enough to get great views of this mega as it hunted from the irrigation pipes at Neot Semadar.
Oriental Skylark in Ovda Valley. A scarce winter visitor to Israel, this is the first I’ve seen but was followed by three more at Yotvata!
“Ehrenburgs” Redstart (Caucasian race of Common Redstart)
Eastern Black-eared Wheatear
Lesser Spotted Eagles
Hume’s Owl. A pair performed admirably for us, with this bird perching close enough for happy snaps in the torchlight. Nit really visible is the large rodent it as carrying in its bill.