Monday, July 19, 2021


I am spending a few days in Eilat now. My elder son is taking an Open Water Diver course. I am escorting him, and between marine activities and work I manage to get some birding done. Main focus in on North Beach, that is in good form - in fact best I have seen it in many years. There's lots of seabird activity, especially in the morning. Biggest star is a Great Crested Tern, it's been here for a few days now. It's a big rarity in Israel, not even annual; a welcome year tick for me, and also a photo tick. As they always appear in Israel, it's a worn non-adult in non-breeding plumage. BTW it most probably belongs to ssp. velox that breeds in the Indian Ocean north into the Red Sea.

This morning when I arrived at dawn, I found Avi already there, and the bird was there too. It was perched near the Jordanian border, at a spot without good access, so views were a bit distant.

Every now and then, it flew out west across the bay, at some distance, for fishing. Then it headed back east to its perch.

It normally U-turned with the city and the mountains as a background - I find these photos more pleasing aesthetically, despite the bird being farther away:

Here it demonstrates why some people still call it Swift Tern - it has such long wings and is extremely aerobatic:

Other cool terns are Bridled, Lesser Crested and quite many White-cheeked.

The famous underwater observatory in the background:

Cory's Shearwaters are present in exceptional numbers. Others reported up to 35 in previous days, I saw max. 18. Still very cool.

eBird checklist from this morning here.

I am here for a few more days - stay posted!

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