Sunday, December 19, 2021


Those of you who have been following my Big Year effort might have noticed that until October I was doing well but not very optimistic about reaching 400. November was an amazing month, bringing me to 397. December was hard-going - my target, to reach 400, wasn't going to be easy to achieve. I had a Goshawk on Har Amasa on December 3rd (398), I twitched Israel's second Firecrest near Birya on 11th (399). Yesterday, a Red-breasted Merganser was seen off Acre - I couldn't go. This morning I was there early with Jonathan. The sea was rough and beautiful, there were many birds around, but no merganser! I played around with some Rooks, uncommon in Israel:

Eventually, after a proper search, I spotted the merganser swimming quietly at sea, beyond the surf line - boom! I quickly called Jonathan over - we were both super pumped:

Eventually the merganser moved in a bit, and began fishing in the surf, still too distant for proper photography (unlike the showy one that shared the beach with Israel's first and only Snow Bunting, back in 2013).

What a great bird to reach 400 with. And the best feeling to share the moment with my brother Jonathan (who's on 392 currently!) - we saw so many of my 400 together.
Before leaving we spent some time seawatching, two Med Gulls being the best (eBird checklist here).

Mediterranean Gull 1cy with Armenian Gull 4cy (I think)

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