Friday, May 3, 2013

Shrike days

Back home after the fantastic week up on Mt. hermon. In the N Negev it looks like summer already - everything is completely yellow now as all the annuals have dried up. But migration is still in full swing. Israel is experiencing an unprecedented migration wave of Red-backed Shrikes these days. From all over Israel we are receiving reports of outstanding concentrations, many hundreds in some sites. This wave has hit my region as well. This morning I counted shrikes from the car along the 4-km road leading to my village. I reached 124 shrikes, more or less a shrike every 50 m. Most were males - cracking birds. They were accompanied by good numbers of Lesser Grey Shrikes, Whinchats, Willow Warblers and Spotted Flycatchers.

Red-backed Shrikes

Apart for that, these are colourful days, with lots of big and colourful birds near my house. One Squacco Heron chose a nearby lawn as its foraging site for the last couple of days. Several Golden Orioles are hanging around the big fig trees near my sons' kindergarten, darting between the trees. Rollers have returned to their breeding sites and I have quite many pairs near my village. Bee-eaters are still migrating in big numbers, but there is a large breeding colony in a nearby gully.
Long-eared Owl juveniles have started calling in recent nights, giving their high-pitched screech. This morning I heard some calling at noon as well.

Squacco Heron

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