Friday, May 10, 2024

Spring catch-up

It's been a very strange spring for me. On the one hand, how can one enjoy the beauty and thrill of bird migration spectacles when all of *this* is going on in my country. On the other hand, what else can I do other than go out birding, enjoy the healing power of nature, appreciate every little bird hero that makes it despite all the troubles. As I have been doing for over five years now, I am out birding every day. During migration seasons this habit offers me even more thrill and excitement, to detect the seasonal changes in the sites I visit often, and enjoy impressive migrations. In recent weeks I have been all over, but often my motivation to photograph and to write is low. This damn war.

In any case, I am still trying to bird hard and see as many birds as possible, without doing a Big Year. This is quite enjoyable actually, and liberating, seeing news of rarities show up in far-flung corners of the country and not going for them! Still, I am doing OK, I think. Here are some of the birds I saw and the few photos I took:

Luckily, fieldwork and site visits take me to places with loads of good birds. While monitoring our restoration site in Maagan Michael I was dazzled by the variation in Western Yellow Wagtails - in this composite are (I think) dombrowskii, superciliaris, feldegg, thunbergi, flava and a hybrid Citrine X Yellow, all in one small flock.


Striated Heron in Tel Aviv

A work visit to Eilat Birding center rewarded me with this gorgeous, deadly Painted Saw-scaled Viper:

Our restoration sites in Kfar Ruppin are exploding with birds now, so much quality too:

Clamorous Reed Warbler

Not only birds enjoy our restoration project - also invertebrates. Here are Black Percher and Ivory Featherlegs.

In May, when much of the country clears out of migrant passerines, the relatively cool and lush Jerusalem Mts. still host large numbers of migrants. Mulberry trees are especially attractive to Sylvias, also favoured by Golden Orioles. This photo was taken out of my friend Rami's window:

The Jerusalem Bird Observatory is at its best in early May, with huge numbers of common migrants using the habitat to refuel. Among the common warblers also good numbers of Olive-tree and Barred are seen; I have seen also River, Marsh, Icterine and Upcher's there in recent dats. Also plenty of European Nightjars this year.

One of the Eurasian Sparrowhawks that visit the JBO regularly

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