This morning I did my first raptor monitoring transect of the season, in the NW Negev. This area too received large amounts of rain recently, and as a result the tracks were terribly muddy. By the end of the day I was pretty exhausted of fighting the mud. Got bogged a few times, one of them seriuosly enough that I had to be pulled out of the mud by a tractor after another 4WD that tried to pull me out got bogged himself (thanks Harel and Itai).
But in between I did see some raptors and other birds along the 20 km transect.
Saker - 1cy
It seems that the Sakers that overwinter in NW Negev have very low survival rates as every year we have there almost solely fresh juveniles.
Other falcons I had were three Peregrines and one Merlin. I had three Eastern Imperial Eagles, two adults and a 1cy. This is an adult of course:
Buzzard numbers are lower this year compared to last winter - I had only 11 Long-legged Buzzards and 9 Common Buzzards.
Long-legged Buzzard - 1cy (pale eye), rufous morph
No pallids but four Hen Harriers:
Found the regular Sociable Lapwing flock but they were too deep inside a muddy field surrounded by muddy tracks, so gave up on the photo op. Had 11 Golden Plovers among the many Northern Lapwings:
Some nice mixed flocks of seedeaters including Goldfinches, Linnets and Spanish Sparrows: