Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sinai Mountain

Spent a pleasent morning at Ein Salvadora in the Judean Desert. My main ambition was to photograph two of the most sought-after species in Israel's desert - Sinai Rosefinch and Mountain Bunting. This is a regular drinking spot and probably the best place to see these species in Israel. In summer many tens of both species arrive every day at this tiny spring, but in winter birds are much less thirsty as water loss rates are much lower, and today I had rather small numbers of birds coming in to drink. I had two each of Sinai Rosefinch and Mountain Bunting but they visited all too briefly, and I had no chance to get any shots of them.

Nevertheless it was nice to sit quietly for a few hours and watch the birdlife around the spring. Blackstarts were very active and occasionaly perched on my boots. No small camera unfortunately... They are very charismatic birds and have a real character to them. this is a 2cy - note the moult contrast in the alula:
With my 500 lens I could almost do macro photography at the close focus range of 4.5 m:
Tristram's Grackles are very tame too:

A few young Nubian Ibex were loafing around the spring:

After I got back home I got good news about a Penduline Tit I ringed at Ashdod in November (I think it's this one featured in this post) that was retrapped this morning in the Hula Reserve by Dotan of the Hula Valley ringing team, distance of 164 km:

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