Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Recent stuff

It's peak spring migration here in Israel now. With unstable weather, birds are blown in different directions and it is exciting just to be out there and witness migration. I have nothing too major to report, but over the last few days some decent stuff accumulated on my hard drive that is worth sharing here.

Last Wednesday (April 5th) I had time only for a quick early-morning birding session. So I opted for a circuit of Hulda Reservoir with Piki - our regular shared session few minutes away from home. Piki always complains that I start too early, I always complain that he's lazy, eventually we meet halfway. That morning I had time to listen out for active migrants and cook coffee by the time Piki arrived. Birding expectations weren't huge because water levels at the reservoir are very high currently, meaning there's little space for mud-loving waterbirds. We were pleasantly surprised when two minutes after we started walking a small passerine jumped up from the path in front of us, gave a thin 'tick' call and perched on the fence. We both exclaimed simultaneously (more or less 😉) - Little Bunting! We rattled off a few quick photos:

Then the petite bunting flew past us and landed to forage on the path again for a couple of minutes before being chased off by a badass territorial Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (you can hear it singing in the background of the video below). The poor bunting flew up and away and we lost it far in the distance to the south, never to be seen again. Sweet.

Nice to have Turtle Doves back, already in display flight over their territories:

Eventually it was quite a productive morning - eBird checklist here.

A weekend in Tel Aviv to celebrate my wife's birthday meant a couple of early-morning sessions in local Tel Aviv sites. Hatzuk beach was fairly quiet (eBird checklist here) but there's always interest in watching migrants on the edge of the big smoke. 

Next day I checked Hayarkon Park that runs through the city center, including Rosh Tzipor and the adjacent Rock Park. Rosh Tzipor held a Little Crake and a Little Bittern:

Common Kingfisher is the most cliché bird in the world, yet it is irresistible when posed nicely:

Golden Jackals are a prominent feature of Hayarkon Park. They are abundant there, and very accustomed to humans and their dogs - a somewhat surreal coexistence in the middle of the city.

This one is called 'Sexy Ear'

Oh yes, oh yes, right there... Ooohhh so gooood...

On Monday I joined a large public event SPNI held up in the Golan Heights, promoting public action to halt disastrous plans that threaten the wild beauty of the Golan Heights. I picked up Nadav from his home in the Hula Valley. What can I do that the shortest way up to the Golan Heights drives through the fields north of the Agamon, where a Demoiselle Crane has been hanging around?