Thursday, December 13, 2018

Down below - too slow

A couple of weeks ago my mate Meidad found a stunning Wallcreeper inside the scenic Ein Avdat gorge - a site where it had not been seen for over 20 years. Many birders connected with it, but I had no time to make it down south till today. Before a meeting, Amir and I met up with Meidad and we gave the gorge a thorough scan. Soon after walking in we had great views of the local Bonelli's Eagle pair. This species is Critically Endangered in Israel, with less than 10 breeding pairs nationally. I hope this pair will breed successfully this year. The female is a bit young, about 4 years old - hope she masters the skills of successful breeding soon.

The male is a bit older:

Several pairs of Eurasian Griffons breed in the gorge - they were busy mating and collected nesting material.

There are few sites in Israel that are remote enough to claim 'pure' Rock Pigeons - Ein Avdat is one of them. Impossible to tell whether they are actually pure or not - I'm sure the local Bonelli's Eagles and Lanners don't care.

We searched hard but there was no sign of the bloody Wallcreeper. The sole curve-billed species present was Water Rail:

This Grey Wagtail was working the waterfall for small inverts:

Classic Blackstart

Nubian Ibex

Ein Avdat gorge

Our eBird checklist is here.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Pantanal birds

Finally found time to edit part of the many images I took during my trip to Brazil. In this batch I will post the better photos I took in the Pantanal. I did try to document as many species as possible, but many of these photos aren't worthy of blogging. All photos are on my eBird checklists and linked Macaulay Library account.

Most birds we encountered in the Pantanal were on Pantanal Nature boats searching for Jaguars. Bird photography conditions out of a boat are never ideal, but I did my best to produce some worthy photographs. Most species photographed off the boat are aquatic, or species that favour open or riparian forest. Additionally, we did a couple of drives through the campos around Porto Jofre and along the Transpantaneira road, and added a few species at the Panthera Brazil compound where we stayed.

Kingfishers were abundant along the Cuiaba river and its tributaries. We had five species, I got photos of four:

Amazon Kingfisher

Green Kingfisher

Ringed Kingfisher

American Pygmy Kingfisher

Three tern species were seen along the river, mainly sat on sandbars:

Little-tern-like Yellow-billed Tern

The magnificent and vocal Large-billed Tern

Black Skimmer

Plenty of herons, egrets and allies too:

The bizarre-looking Capped Heron

Cocoi Heron

Rufescent Tiger Heron

Striated Heron - oddly this is the same taxon as in the Old World

Jabiru - punk youngsters

Big daddy


Surprisingly few true shorebirds:

Capped Lapwing

Southern Lapwing

Very few ducks on the fast-flowing rivers. Good to see this without the eBird insult '(Feral)':

Muscovy Duck (Wild)

Quite many raptors along the river and tracks:

Southern Caracara feeding on grubs - que super-predator!

Great Black Hawk - parent and infant

Infant - similar to the one cruising around North America at the mo

Black-collared Hawk

One of my most-wanted - Swallow-tailed Kite

Some exotic-looking South American stuff:

Bare-face Currasow - crazy hair day

Blue-crowned Trogon (female)

Rufous-tailed Jacamar

Chestnut-eared Aracari

Great Ani in golden light

Smooth-billed Ani

Guira Cuckoo

Stunning White Woodpeckers

Yellow-rumped Cacique - common and noisy

Yellow-billed Cardinal - very common

Grayish Saltator 

White-headed Water Tyrant 

Grayish Baywing feeding on mango fruit at the camp

The large Brown-chested Martin 

And the small White-winged Swallow

 Common Tody-Flycatcher

Common Pauraque - common on the Transpantaneira after dusk

Silver-beaked Tanager

Yellow-chinned Spinetail