Friday, January 15, 2010

White-tailed Eagle

This morning I participated in the national waterbird census organized by the NPA. My team checked several reservoirs in the S Judean Plains and coastal plains. We began late after we got a report on poachers shooting gazelles not too far away. Unfortunately the bastards managed to disappear before we arrived.
Birdwise, things were pretty slow with waterfowl numbers much lower than usual. This is somewhat surprising bringing into account the terrible weather conditions north of us this winter.
Zohar reservoir was the only productive water body. This beautiful reservoir is big and complex, with developed vegetation and always supports a great diversity. One of the first birds we saw was this huge White-tailed Eagle, spooking all the ducks and being harrassed constantly by crows. It was nice to see a 'real' bird, without rings, wingtags or antennas . I apologize for the miserable record shots - the bird was very distant.

Other quality birds there were two juv White-fronted Geese (my first geese this winter), 6 Ferruginous Ducks among the many other Aythyas, 3 Great Crested Grebes, and over 50 Wigeon.

There were about 500 cormorants and a single Pelican thrashing the fish in the reservoir in a real feeding frenzy:

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