Thursday, March 4, 2010

Nizzana bird atlas

This morning I surveyed one box for our bird atlas of the Nizzana region. I spent the morning east of Ezuz and had a great time. Migrants were rather few but the breeding species were in good numbers and must be enjoying the results of the huge rainfall there - caterpillars everywhere...
Of the more exotic stuff that I did not photograph, I can mention 2 MacQueen's Bustards, many Pin-tailed and Spotted Sandgrouse, one pair of Bar-tailed Lark, and 2 pairs of Lesser Short-toed Lark. I had some good migrants too - 1 Goshawk, 1 Bimaculated Lark, 1 Redwing, 1 Eurasian Cuckoo and many other bits and pieces. Quails are worth noting with many tens in the early morning.
Spectacled Warblers were very active, and I found about 15 active territories. This female was rather kind:

Scrub Warblers are common but always very sweet and very difficult to photograph. This individual was a bit nicer:

I had several pairs of Desert wheatears:

While watching this pair, I noticed they were followed by an Asian Desert Warbler, which is a familiar interaction. But then another warbler joined in, and soon the male (I presume) started courting the apparent female - he sang his head off, performed prolonged song flights and chased after the female. I have never seen such behavior of Asian desert Warblers in Israel before. I don't think they will breed here; I rather think that they got horny watching the wheatears copulating and collecting nesting material, and decided to practice a bit before returning to their breeding grounds. They're such excellent birds nevertheless:

I had one pair of Cream-coloured Coursers. I can never stop photographing these beauties:

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