Yesterday I combined a family visit in Jerusalem with another step up in my Big Year, involving the Black-throated Thrush that had been found the previous day by Yakov Salaviz (when I couldn't go) on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem. Mt. Herzl was one of my childhood stomping grounds, where I learned birding. The place has changed much since the 1980's, there are fewer birds overall and the habitat is not that good as it used to. Yet, on a cold and bright winter morning like yesterday the atmosphere there was almost European, complete with multiple Dunnocks, singing Wren etc. (check the eBird checklist here), and birding was enjoyable.
A number of us assembled in the early morning, at first not finding the thrush, then it was spotted. I headed over to where the others were watching it when it shot off, towards me. I fired off a few random shots and amazingly, my camera got several in focus, rather OK I think. Boom, lovely. 401.
It disappeared, then spotted again and moved around. It took us a while to figure out its routine - every 20-30 minutes it returned to a small olive grove, dropped down to the ground, fed on an olive or two and flew off somewhere.
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