Sunday, September 11, 2011

More local stuff

I continue to explore my new surroundings. My new surroundings are the northern fringes of the Negev, a region with pretty heavy agriculture but some good habitats here and there. My house is in a small community called Nir Moshe. Yesterday I had two good birds near my house - Collared Flyctahcer (in the garden) and Rueppel's Warbler. Both are rather common in spring but pretty rare in autumn.
This morning I drove around a bit, enjoying the fresh autumn breeze. There are a couple of small alfalfa fields not too far away. Alfalfa is by far the most productive crop in Isreal. The fields were indeed packed with Yellow Wagtails, and had lots of Willow Warblers too. Earlier in autumn most wagtails were feldegg's. Now they are already outnumbered by flava-types. This is an adult male flava-type, note the adult pattern on all GC: off-white tips, merging into the dark centers.

I found a dry onion field near my house that attracted a large flock of Alpine Swifts mixed with some hirundines. They were hawking very low over the field at great speed. I tried for some time to photograph them but I was with the wrong lens (500 mm, too heavy and bulky for such high-speed photography). It was a great challenge, especially with the very cluttered background, and I ended up with aching muscles and very little reward. These two are the only almost-publishable images I got out of the hundreds I had fired:

Alpine Swift

I had some numbers of Eurasian Rollers today, probably migrants, including some small flocks, reminding me of the merry days in Tsavo West.

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