Wednesday, October 16, 2019

First Responder's dilemma

Today while getting some work done at home the familiar Rare Bird Alert went off - Long-billed Dowitcher at Ma'agan Michael! I was super keen to see this species in Israel after missing two during my years in the UK. To go or not to go? There was no 100% confirmation yet, but as a First Responder I had no time to hesitate. I hit the road almost instantly - it's just 1.5 hours up the road, and I have a list to keep! While driving up I talked to those who reported it and circulated a poor photo that didn't teach much. When I got there, the beach was actually surprisingly quiet with human activity, which was very welcome after my last visit. There were plenty of birds on the beach, but no dowitcher to be found. I walked up and down the beach checking all coastal lagoons, and all fishponds too, to no avail. I did my best to stay focused on dowitcher-searching but was distracted by an Eleonora's Falcon that zoomed past at great speed, two Bar-tailed Godwits, Heuglin's Gull, Citrine Wagtails and in general enjoyable birding (86 species; eBird checklist here).

Czech-ringed Black Stork in a lovely fishpond by the kibbutz

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