Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hermon day 4 - what a day!

Yet another fantastic day for the IOC - SPNI atlas project. We worked in a smaller team today, but we all had extraordinary opportunities to visit parts of the mountain that have never been surveyed before. We surveyed some spectacular alpine habitats. I checked with Dotan a box very close to the Syrian - Lebanese border triangle. We had close escort of two military jeeps, but that didn't prevent us from seeing lots of good birds. The lower elevations were full of common forest species, with fewer Upcher's and Balkan Warblers. Higher up we had again lots of Northern Wheatears, Woodlarks, Rock Sparrows and fewer Horned Larks and Crimson-winged Finch. Our highlight was a stunning male White-throated Robin. He was found by Dotan just when we were about to leave, at an elevation of 1950 m! The bird was singing, displaying and performing territorial behaviour. Such a cool bird, and one of Israel's rarest breeding birds. Tuvia found another territorial male in an adjacent box.

White-throated Robin

Breeding habitat - what does this thrush have to do so high up?

Early in the morning I had by the upper cable station a pair of Crimson-winged Finches feeding on the road (unfortunately). Not the best background but closer views this time and OK light. Mega birds.


One Black-headed Bunting was singing at 1700 m.

I really like doing panoramas.

Many thanks to Dotan.


  1. Hi Yoav,

    These posts take me right back! I've birded a little of the NW side of Hermon, but was always rather nervous up there, and never got as high as I wanted... Otherwise it sounds so like the mountains I used to climb regularly above Aamiq! Interested in your chiffchaffs - I found some strange beasts breeding at Horsh Ehden back in 2000ish and I was all over the Mountain Chiffchaff literature following that (and couldn't find any easy recordings back then). I eventually concluded they were really odd chiffs, because a few features didn't quite fit, and because something about the song/call didn't add up either. But I was never totally satisfied with that... I've no speakers here, but will try and listen to your recording before too long and dredge the memories back up... I'm surprised by some of your early migrant dates too, btw. Have fun! Colin