Saturday 28th SeptemberMost places would be closed today so it was the day we decided to travel down to Eilat and call in at desert sites en-route (as the military wouldn’t be active).
We passed through Mitzpe Ramon and the ‘crater’ - a rather spectacular geological formation - and stopped to bird the expanse of stony desert at HaMeishar Plains. Here we found Bar-tailed Desert Lark and Temminck’s Larks as well as Hooded Wheatear, Short-toed Larks, Barbary Falcon, a few sandgrouse and a herd of Onagers.
|Bar-tailed Desert Lark (MkB)|
|Sinai Rosefinch (MkB)|
|Streaked Scrub Warbler (MkB)|
|Hoopoe Lark (DB)|
Sunday 29th September
|White-cheeked Tern (DB)|
From here it was onto the Birdwatching Centre which was undergoing a lot of reconstruction work - it had a good selection of waders but few land migrants (Wryneck, Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Pipit, Red-backed Shrike) as was to be the case the rest of the trip. We did manage to see a Crested (Oriental) Honey Buzzard as it made its way across the reserve as well as a flock of around 20 Levant Sparrowhawks. A flock of Indian Silverbills were seen here and later in the day along the back road to the Flamingo Pools which had much the same fare as the previous day - we continued to scratch our heads regards the identification of the juvenile gulls there and at the Km19 pool.
|Levant Sparrowhawk (DB)|
Oriental Honey Buzzard (DB)
|Spotted Flycatcher (DB)|
Monday 30th SeptemberWe set off early back north to our first port of call, Samar kibbutz. Fortunately, despite it being the New Year, the gates were open and we wandered around the orchard in search of Black Bush Robins. Eventually, one popped into view and quickly disappeared in the direction of the main housing area. Red-throated Pipits called overhead.
We headed back towards the football pitch where we got some excellent, prolonged views of these recent colonists.
|Black Bush Robin (DB)|
After lunch at the Yotvata "Theme Park" (as nothing would be open in Eilat), we headed back via the Flamingo Pools where the wader numbers had reduced a little but we did find the White-throated Bee-eater that hadn't been seen for a couple of weeks, so ended up with a 4 Bee-eater species day. The evening trip to Km19 was aborted straight away as there were locals fishing the inlet so we went back to the Birdwatching Centre where we'd been told that if we stand on the bank above, the Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse flew through at dusk and at 18:49, three did just that, flying fast and low over the bank, over the field and into Jordan. Five minutes later, a Nightjar flew right past us!
Tuesday 1st October
|Masked Shrike (DB)|
|Montagu’s Harrier (DB)|
|Eastern Olivaceous Warblers (DB)|
The late evening trip to the Flamingo Pools and Km19 didn't bring anything new and the sandgrouse didn't appear again (we stayed until 19:20 when it was very dark!).