Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Back to life, back to reality

Yesterday was my last day in Eilat as part of our three back-to-back international events (Eilat Bird Festival, COTF and IBOC). I spent the final morning at IBRCE, that at last was in proper form after admittedly slow days. The trees were dripping with Lesser Whites, reedbed exploding with Reed Warblers, hirundines, pipits, wagtails, nightingales, shrikes, another Oriental Honey Buzzard - cool stuff (eBird checklist here). A most obliging female Little Crake in front one of the hides was the photographic highlight of the morning - I think I nailed it OK... I love those ripple reflections. Note the dirty forehead - result of walking through dense vegetation.

On the way home we just had to stop again at the unbelievably lush Hameishar Plains. It was pretty cold, overcast and windy, but bird activity was at full power. Huge flocks of Pale Rock Sparrows and Short-toed Larks, bushes exploding with Sylvias, pipits, buntings, chats - spring migration at its best. Nice to see some displaying Lesser short-toed Larks - will they breed? One Temminck's Lark was pretty sweet.

Pale Hill Rockfinchsparrow

That tail pattern...

Temminck's Lark

One of two female Sibe Stonechats present - wonder which subspecies:

This blurry photo of a huge Spiny-tailed Lizard is not great but gives a good idea of the productivity of the Plains this spring:

Great to have an eBird checklist (here) without a single invasive or urban species. All quality.

Sad to leave Eilat, but glad to return to my routine duties, that will include lots of fieldwork in the next few weeks.

Huge thanks to the team leading these events, especially Jonathan, Dan, Noam, Jessi and Mark, IBRCE team, my colleagues from IOC, and all the participants who made these events so awesome. Over and out.

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