Long day today. Left home very very early, collected from the airport our first international team member arrived to join the Soaring Birds Count in the north, and drove up with Joe to do first some birding in the Bet She'an Valley. Arrived there at first light and as always was impressed by the number and variety of birds. And if I was impressed, imagine what a UK birder visiting Israel for the first time felt like. Thousands of storks, herons, shorebirds, gulls, raptors, cormorants etc. etc. all from one spot. After checking the Neve Eitan fishponds we checked some alfalfa fields near Kfar Ruppin and then a quick drive through Tirat Zvi fishponds. My personal highlight was big numbers of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters - mostly perched on the border fence, all juveniles. After leaving Joe with Re'i our team leader I joined my colleagues (SPNI & NPA) checking the fishponds to move forward our plans to remove all deadly nets covering the fishponds. Hopefully this will happen very soon. Anyway this autumn I am sure the situation will be much better as a result of some actions we are taking with our partners and the farmers.
Extracting a pellet
Hundreds of Black Storks around already - this is a 1cy:
Quite many Purple Herons in Kfar Ruppin fishponds:
Some White-winged Terns around - all juvs now:
Other highlights during the day were 50 Desert Finches, some Citrine Wagtails, five species of shrike, about 10 Ospreys, and 1 Peregrine.