Monday, March 30, 2020

Unlockdown birding

While the entire country is in near-complete lockdown, I still do fieldwork. Paradoxically, while so many people in Israel and worldwide and out of work, I work even harder now, trying to get as much fieldwork done, to compensate for missing seasonal field technicians, before lockdown regulations tighten even further. I get to work in solitude, in wonderful habitats, during this lovely time of year - lucky me. I worked in Tzafit Hills NR, not far from home. Beautiful landscape, home to Mountain Gazelles

Many orchids, dominated by Long-lipped Serapias

And lots of migrants and good breeding birds, such as Cretzchmar's Buntings, looking pretty in early morning sun

Down south I worked in some remote desert sites, finding breeding evidence for several important species. It was fun to see this lone Squacco Heron flying solo over the desert, then landed in a small patch of suitable habitat - roadside barrier:

I enjoyed birding in Mitzpe Ramon park, normally very busy with people, now deserted and packed with birds, including two Syrian Serins

This morning I ringed at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory, that is experiencing a great migration season; sadly ringing activity is limited now by the capacity of permanent staff like myself. JBO is looking good now, with trees packed with birds. Most dominant this morning were Siskin and Hawfinch - huge numbers of both. Check this soundscape, of a flock of 180 Siskin chattering to each other:

Subalpine Warbler is always a treat:

As was my first-of-year Collared Flycatcher:

Fantastic orchids in flower there now:

Galilee Orchid

Three-toothed Orchid

Yellow Bee-orchid

Champions of the Flyway starts soon - will do my best tomorrow!

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