Had a fine morning birding with Re'a. No dramatic highlights, just lots of migrants and good fun, including a drunk Russian redhead asking for help etc. Nevermind that. We started off early at Ashdod - the ponds were fantastic - just packed with shorebirds. About 600 shorebirds in these tiny ponds - about 200 Little Stints, 170 ringed Plovers, 100 Wood Sandpipers and lots of other bits and pieces.
Ringed Plovers and Little Stints
Though we tried hard found nothing too exciting; highlights were four Black-tailed Godwits, this 1cy Broad-billed Sandpiper:
And two 1cy Turnstones:
Turnstones are common on the coast but surprisingly scarce even 2 km inland. A flock of 15 Baltic Gulls arrived early in the morning:
Lots of passrines around the ponds - big numbers of shrikes (Red-backed, Lesser Grey and Masked), Yellow Wagtails, Willow Warblers, Spotted Flycatchers, Whinchats and Cretzschmar's Buntings.
We then drove on to the reservoirs of the Judean Plains. No big numbers of shorebirds (some Collared Pratincoles were the only birds of note) but more ducks - quite many Garganey and some Ferruginous Ducks. Again, lots of shrikes, flycatchers and whinchats, some Short-toed Larks, one Rufous Bush Robin, and some raptors going overhead. Good birding overall.
Lesser Grey Shrike - 1cy
Isabelline Wheatear - cotton field in the background
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