Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Thank you Mrs. Hypocolius!

I am in Israel now for a short visit. Easter school holiday in the UK coincided well with Passover in Israel, so we came here for a week of family and friends basically. Lots of fun but very exhausting, physically and emotionally. Great to be here in Israel during migration - so many birds everywhere. I miss birding in Israel so much.
On Sunday morning I managed to escape for a couple of hours in the early morning to connect with the long-staying female Grey Hypocolius in Ashkelon NP, found by Oded Lewy about 10 days ago. I have seen hypocolius in Israel several times before (for instance in 2011). But because it is such a quality bird, and it's still a good rarity, and the first outside of Eilat area, and because it's been so patient and waited for me, and because I just had to get outdoors...
I met up with Amir there which was good because stupidly I left my camera at home by the door... Amir was generous enough to let me use his camera. Thanks Amir! The hypocolius itself didn't show too well during the short time I was there. It was quite shy and mobile but for a few seconds it did perch on a tree right above our heads. Unfortunately light conditions were shit but a great bird nevertheless!

I really enjoyed the nice stroll through a small section of the lovely park. So many nice migrants around. Nothing unusual apart for the hypocolius, just a quality selection typical for Israel this time of year: Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, several singing Savi's Warblers, Nightingales, Tree and Red-throated Pipits, Masked Shrike. You can check my full checklist here.
That's it for now. Hope to squeeze in a little more birding before returning to UK on Friday. Stay tuned!

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