Thursday, December 29, 2016

Two days too late

I arrived for a short family visit in Israel yesterday afternoon. This morning, completely knackered after yesterday exhausting day of travel, I did the obvious thing - I went in the early morning to Ma'agan Michael to see the putative Asian House Martin - potentially the first for WP. Since it was found by Barak, it remained extremely faithful to a very small area. I met up there with some friends and together we spent several hours searching for the martin amongst the thousand or so Barn Swallows. The only white-rumped birds we saw were two Little Swifts. The martin must have made a move - it was not seen yesterday either; last seen on December 27th.
Luckily for me, I enjoyed birding so much this morning. It is so great to be in Israel. Sooooooooo many birds. And the weather was lovely. I shot today using 3-digit ISO today! I have almost forgotten how to shoot in sunlight. And company was great too. I birded in a small area for about 2.5 hours, not really hard - we were mainly looking at hirundines, so all other stuff was picked up randomly. I had 82 species (and 1 additional taxa...). Highlights were 8 Ruddy Shelducks, some Citrine Wagtails, what I think is possibly a Steppe Gull (need to do some more homework on it) and some Pallas's Gulls, and on the way back home had two Black-winged Kites along route 6. How I missed this kind of birding.

Black Storks - just because they're so pretty

Super-tame Black-necked Grebe

This is the possible Steppe Gull. Almost cachinnans-like in structure. This neck streaking is typical. Dark bluish mantle. Medium sized bill with good gonys.

This flight shot is overexposed. P10 and P9 black all the way to PC. Black on P4, but pattern on P5 excludes YLG.

6 Pallas's Gulls and one Armenian

Marsh Sandpipers and Spotted Redshank

Thistle Mantis (Blepharopsis mendica

This is probably my last post of 2016. I had hoped to end the year with a bang, but hey - all part of the game. If the martin reappears while I'm here in the next week I will give it another try.

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