Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Goodbye spring, hello summer

Sorry for the long absence since my last post, I visited cold Germany with my family. No time for birding resulted in no birds of note.
Back in hot Israel, these are the last days of spring - here migration is really slowing down, compared to Europe where things are just warming up. Weather was good this afternoon so I spent some time checking reservoirs near my house.
There was a nice mix of late migrants and good breeding species. Among the migrants were this flock of about 100 pelicans. Note the Sand Martins in front of them - there were about 2000 hawking for insects over the water in Hulda reservoir, which was very birdy as always.

One good bird that made a brief appearence was this Blue-cheeked Bee-eater. It flew in from the south, perched on a Tamarix bush for a few seconds, I got some distant record shots, but before I managed to get any closer a bloody crow flushed it away. This is a good record for this region.

Other good migrants in the three reservoirs I checked were 6 Whiskered and a single White-winged Tern, 1 drake Garganey, 4 Purple and 20 Squacco Herons, 5 Curlew Sandpipers and over 200 Ruff.
I had some good breeding birds too. There were six pairs of Ferruginous Ducks. It was nice to see the males' courtship - they puffed their heads and breasts up like goldeneyes, and chased after the females. Another quality breeding species was Collared Pratincole - I had two pairs, the females sitting on eggs.

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