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).