Monday, November 5, 2018

Good effort

As my son's football coach used to say after their team lost 2-4...
Last night the weather finally changed. After two weeks of high pressure, hot and dry easterlies and no birds, at last a low-pressure system made its way across the Mediterranean and hit Israel with a glorious thunderstorm and heavy rain. I was so excited that I couldn't wait to wake up and witness an epic morning flight. Was today going to be THE day? Charts looked good. Weather and date were all perfect. And I had the perfect companion. Four years ago, almost to the day, Barak Granit had an epic morning flight. Today was his birthday - would he get the best birthday present possible?
We got to Hatzuk right on time. I opened the car door, first bird I hear - Penduline Tit! Followed shortly by a Song Thrush. Hmmm... bingo? We walked in, enjoyed a clear and beautiful sunrise, and sadly witnessed almost empty skies. Singles of several species, tiny numbers of pipits, where are the birds?!? We continued birding - also on the ground numbers were depressingly low. With our high expectations, disappointment was big. Then small numbers of Caucasian Water Pipits started to move through, shortly followed by small flocks of Chaffinch - at last some movement. But even Chaff numbers did not build up to anything worthy of any superlatives.

A beautiful male Hen Harrier sailed past - will it spend the winter here?

Not a Brown Shrike

Just before leaving I had a pleasant surprise-  a young Striated Heron stood by one of the large rainfall puddles, looking rather lost - not the place I was expecting to find one (though they are resident in Hayarkon Park, only 5 km away).

What will be the end of the story? Will tomorrow bring that fabulous migration peak? Or have those birds skipped over Israel this year? Or have these populations crashed? Time will tell.

For the time being, here's our eBird checklist.

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