Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dirty dancing

Spent a few more days this week doing atlas boxes in the greater Nizzana region. The area received some very welcome rain last week, and the wadis are becoming green and lush. It seems to be changing the fortunes of this breeding season already, with some good breeding activity of our desert species. I found several pairs of Temminck's and Bar-tailed Larks, and had one brief Dunn's Lark west of Ezuz on the 7th. I found two female MacQueen's Bustards with small chicks, while their males are still dancing like crazy:

I must pay respect to my loyal assistants, the Crested Larks. They are the commonest breeding bird in the area, and I use their amazing mimicry skills whenever I do bird surveys. The males mimic the birds they hear around them, and by listening to their mimicry I can get a very good idea of what I should be expecting in the area. It's like a kind of an area search or point count carried out by the larks.

Crested Lark
This guy combined singing with some dancing as well:

Desert Wheatear numbers have gone up and many pairs are very busy breeding now. The males are so attractive and I never have enough of them:

Desert Little Owls are doing pretty well to:

I see Black-winged Kites in the area often. I wonder if they have become a regular addition to the Israeli avifauna after last years' influx.

There are still rather few migrants in the wadis, but Be'erotayim grove is packed with common migrants. The only bird of interest there was this Eurasian Cuckoo:

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