Thursday, March 21, 2013

Eilat - March 20th

The air was filled with the pulse of migration today. We began in the Eilat Mountains with a steady migration of Black Kites, Steppe Buzzards and Steppe Eagles (30+) over Wadi Shlomo along with several small flocks of Black Storks. Below us, White-crowned Black Wheatear and Blackstart fed in the local campground. Common, Pallid and Alpine Swifts all filtered through the mountains throughout the morning.

At Km20 salt pools the sky was full of hirundines including large numbers of Red-rumped Swallows and Sand Martins. Several Dead Sea Sparrows could be heard singing but wouldn't give themselves up for the group but the real highlight here was a continuing White-tailed Lapwing, almost certainly the same bird that we saw last week with the first group. After lunch we tried for another of last week's rarities - the Black Bush Robin at Neot Smadar which put on a fine display once more. We finished a superb day at Km77 north of Yahel, where once again we found the 'green desert' extremely birdy. The area contained many Isabelline and Northern Wheatears with a few Black-eared, plus Asian Desert Warbler, Lesser Ketrel (first-summer male) and a fantastic flock of 25 Pale Rock Sparrows. In many respects it was a perfect introduction to the joys of birding in and around Eilat in spring.

Black Bush Robin - Neot Smadar, Eilot region. 
Not quite as bold as we experienced last week.

Pale Rock Sparrow - Km77, near Yahel, Eilot region.
One of a flock of 25.

Short-toed Eagle - in migration, Eilat Mountains.

Black-crowned Night-herons - in migration, Km20 salt pools, Eilat.

 White-tailed Lapwing and Black-winged Stilt - Km20 salt pools, Eilat.

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