Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Introduction to my new life

At the start of September I moved to a house in a new place for me - Mazkeret Batya. It's a small town in the centre of the country, right at the edge of the huge metropolin of greater Tel Aviv:

My neighbourhood is rather new, and still partially under construction. Most gardens are still barren, and there are few trees. But only few hundred meters from my house is Wadi Ekron that holds some water and has a bit of vegetation. 

Because this is Israel, even a tiny bit of habitat in any random place attracts migrants. And after four years of living in no-migration zone, I appreciate this very much. Very early, every morning, I walk my dog here before schoolrun. It's a lovely little site that holds migrants and has the potential to surprise. I try to eBird every morning, but usually these visits are all too brief, and too early for some species. A typical early morning visit produces fewer migrants, mainly acros that are active from very early, but visits later on produce a wider range of species. Since I started birding there the most prominent migrant was Sedge Warble; Reed, Willow and Savi's Warblers and Red-backed Shrikes are present almost daily. In the early morning I often have nocturnal migrants coming in to land, such as Tree Pipit. Some quality came in the form of Little Crake, and a few Golden Orioles.

Sedge Warbler

Willow Warbler

Red-backed Shrike

There are plenty of dragonflies, butterflies and other wildlife around, but I have not started to deal with them yet. 

Plain Tiger

Common Tortoise

Mazkeret Batya is right on the main autumn raptor migration motorway. Whenever I have time I sit outside and enjoy the supreme views I have to the northern skies, often accompanied by a cold beer. Almost every day there is movement, usually around midday when the stream is very high up and photo-opps are limited. I have had some pretty decent sessions - check this

Lesser Spotted Eagles

Mazkeret Batya is close to some excellent birding areas. Whenever I get the chance I check one of the sites near my home that provide a more 'complete' experience than my limited immediate local patch. Tsor'a Valley has brilliant habitats and is truly packed with birds. On my last visit there I had a Common Rosefinch among many other species, some of them rather colourful. 

European Roller and European Bee-eaters

There are several reservoirs nearby my home, that in winter hold important numbers of ducks, notably up to 10% of the global population of White-headed Duck. Of note are Hulda Reservoir, and the sewage works of Matash Ayalon. They are fun to visit year-round.

In a couple of weeks raptor migration will be over, but new birds will arrive. I am looking forward to this turnover, and will keep reporting here and on eBird. Stay tuned.


  1. Wow, that raptor checklist! Looks like an interesting new patch, looking forward to seeing what else comes of it.

  2. Congrats on the move!!! Mazkeret Batya is a small but great little town and your bird spotting/photos are just great! Can't wait to see some more updates!