This morning I worked in Neot Hovav, south of Be'er Sheva. This is a lovely area of Loess plains. tree-less, dominated by a bush with an awkward English name - Shaggy Sparrow-Wort (Thymelaea hirsuta).
This is the home for Lesser Short-toed Lark. They are not common breeders in Israel, in fact on our Red List (VU). They breed in patches of suitable habitat in the northern Negev, Nizzana region, Negev Mt., and more opportunistically in S Negev and Arava, when conditions are right. Neot Hovav is one of the best places to see them, certainly the most accessible and closest to the center of the country. In the early morning, the air is filled with their song.
In the desert, breeding activity starts early, and this morning the larks were already busy displaying, courting and chasing each other. They are typically shy and not easy to photograph. This photo gives a nice impression of the habitat, but another meter forward and the bird was off.