Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hula Festival update day 6 - Golan & Gamla, vulture action

Last Friday was my last day at the festival. Due to the mini-war we had here I had to leave early. Anyway, here everything is back to normal now. 
On Friday (16/11/12) weather was rough with strong easterlies, making birding more difficult. We started off at Mt. Susita, on the slopes of the Golan overlooking lake Kinneret. We had to work pretty hard - birds were keeping very low and quiet due to the wind, but eventually we had good views of the main target species there - Long-billed Pipit. Also had several Finsch's Wheatears, Blackstart (northermost pair in the world?), two flyover Woodpigeons and an Imperial Eagle.
At Gamla the wind slowed down a bit and we had pretty good vulture action. Despite the grim state of the breeding population there, vultures kept flying back and forth below us in the scenic gorge continuously. Most vultures had wingtags and rings on, but a few birds were 'clean'.

Eurasian Griffons

Eastern Imperial Eagle - better eagle images here

Supporting cast included Little Swifts, Crag Martins, several Blue Rock Thrushes etc.

Is this a Grandala sat behind the Rock Hyrax?

No, it's a Blue Rock Thrush

The festival went on for another two days without me; the total bird list was over 200 species if I'm not mistaken (and some good mammals too) - good job!
Time to say huge thanks and give a few credits to my friends who organized the Hula Festival. Dan, Nadav and Jonathan - you did a great job and as a result I had a fantastic week with my group. Martin, Tristan and Thomas -  had a great time with you guys, and looking forward to meet you again, here or elsewhere.

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