Today I went south to spend the day with our NPA partners. We met to discuss the promotion of four new protected areas in the Arava and southern Negev, that are extremely important and sensitive for ground-breeding birds. Data from the big atlas projects I coordinated in the Arava and Negev provided the infrastructure for this process. Hopefully after today we will be able to move things forward through the national planning system a bit faster.
So the day included mainly driving from hotspot to hotspot. All hotspots were in fact very cold (low temperatures and few birds) and we really didn't have any time for proper birding, but along the way we did collect some species.
Early in the morning near wadi Hayun we had an outstanding number of Spotted Sandgrouse - 310! They were in several flocks all flying east. Here are 40 out of them:
Bumped into quite many Hooded Wheatears today, singles almost in every site we stopped at.
Hooded Wheatear, female
We had also 25 Temminck's Larks, and one Asian Desert Warbler at KM76:
On the way back stopped to have a look at the lovely 'Turkish' Black Redstart I had ringed last year at Mitzpe Ramon. Looks pretty similar, with the same white feathers on left cheek:
Thanks to Roy, Ohad, Shay, Ella and Yaeli for a great day out.