Saturday, August 25, 2018

Saturday morning birding

Managed a couple of hours of birding this early morning before my family woke up. Checked Tsor'a fields, which was my local patch some years ago when I lived nearby. The site hasn't changed much, only many more Mynas, like everywhere in Israel. Early in the morning the weather was still OK. The alfalfa fields were packed with rubbish birds (Cattle Egrets, Jackdaws, Mynas etc.) and fair numbers of Yellow Wagtails. The alfalfa fields held few other migrants, but the surrounding scrub and adjacent reservoir were a bit more productive. Highlight was a Black-headed Bunting that delightedly popped up when I was enjoying a flock of Spanish Sparrows. This is the classic time of year for this scarce autumn passage migrant.

Black-headed Bunting - 1cy (hatched summer 2018) - adults moult in India and are very worn now; partial moult of 1cy (note moulted inner GC) is visible:

Spanish Sparrow - female

Spanish Sparrow - male

Willow Warbler

All in all numbers of migrants were relatively low, but now back in Israel I appreciate the relativity, and celebrate the migrants I did encounter today. Full eBird checklist here.

On the way back home I enjoyed another change in Israel's avifauna - a casual roadside Black-winged Kite. Once I twitched them hard and far; now they are almost as common as kestrels.

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