Thursday, March 14, 2019

Big cliffs, cool migration

Yesterday I worked with Re'a in the Judean Desert. We assisted efforts by INPA to locate and monitor nests of some of Israel's most threatened raptors. I can think of worse ways to spend the day - we had a long, beautiful hike through some of Israel's most scenic spots, looking for iconic species. We also had brilliant migration low over the desert plateau - mainly Black Storks and also several hundred Steppe Buzzard. A few small, mobile flocks of Pale Rock Sparrow zoomed through. The skies and cliff faces were full of swifts and hirundines. Bliss.

This is the stunning view east, down the mighty Ze'elim Gorge, Dead Sea in the distance:

Black Storks 

The weather was somewhat unstable yesterday. When heavy cloud rolled in and covered the skies, and it felt like it's going to rain, this passing flock of Black Storks struggled to migrate on. The flock was battling against the wind and flying too low.

Taken with my phone across the gorge

Eventually they decided to drop down and rest for a while on the cliffs until the weather improved.

Good activity of local species, including (the rare) Common Raven doing chough-like aerial displays:

Desert Lark looking rather dapper in this beautiful setting:

Some water left in waterholes after the winter floods:

Hosting a Grey Wagtail

Many thanks to Re'a, and to Jamil the local INPA ranger. eBird checklist here.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Yoav, it makes me a bit jealous to see these amazing sightings. Your photos are a great impression of the migration of these Black Storks. The setting in the dessert is extra dramatic but so beautyful.