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Birding southern Israel - May 2007
The first week.

Bonelli's Eagle Bonelli's Eagle
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The last third of spring is upon us and with it the first real heat waves here in southern Israel. May kicked off as usual with Crested Honey Buzzards being the main issue amongst Israel's birders. At least 5 CHB were seen during April and several more were seen during the first week of May. Here is a short summary of the birding highlights of the first week of May.

May 1st
The day was spent with Natalie and Dick Gordon .Early morning stroll around Lotan produced a River Warbler and an Olive-Tree Warbler. Morning at the Eilat mountains, around 7500 Honey Buzzards and 2 Crested Honey Buzzards, a classic male and a female. At K19 there was a single Citrine Wagtail and a Temminck's Stint. Near K20 we enjoyed a pair of confiding Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse and at K20 around 10 Broad-Billed Sandpipers and 20 Curlew Sands. A superb male Montague's Harrier passed low over K20.

Lesser Grey Shrike Lesser Grey Shrike
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May 2nd
Mr. and Mrs. Weissbach from the states joined me today. The morning was again spent at the mountains where migration was similar to the previous day. Around 6000 Honeys and a single Male Crested Honey Buzzard, several dozen Levant Sparrowhawks, 2 Lesser Spotted Eagles and a male Pallid Harrier. At K20 there was a summer plumage Black Tern with the White winged Terns, 5 Grey Plovers, the long staying Terek Sandpiper and 12 Red-necked Phalaropes. The afternoon was spent at Neot Smadar where we had a nice 1st summer male Red-breasted Flycatcher and at least 2 Pied Flycatchers. At the sewage the resident Hooded Wheatear gave good views as well as an adult female Citrine Wagtail.

May 3rd
No new birds to report today, apparently good migration over the Eilat Mountains with several thousand Honey Buzzards. Great numbers of White-winged Terns were seen today, with up to around 5000 estimated at the North Beach.

Caspian Plover Caspian Plover
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May 4th
Most good birds lingered at K20 and Avner Cohen found a superb male Caspian Plover at the pools. Tomer L. and Barak G. reported a single Upcher's Warbler, a River Warbler and 2 Red-breasted Flycatchers from Neot Smadar. Good Numbers of Barred and Garden Warblers were reported from the valley.

May 5th
No less than 16 White-Cheeked Terns were seen by a crowd of birders at the North Beach together with 2 Sooty Shearwaters, 11 Arctic Skuas and up to 5 Pomarine Skuas. At the mountains good numbers of Honey Buzzards and at least 3 Crested Honey Buzzards (2 females and at least 1 male).

May 6th
No major highlights to report, at the Bahad 1 Sewage there was a female RB Flycatcher and up to 4 Golden Orioles, 10 Barred Warblers at Neot Smadar are a high count as well as a few Garden Warblers including a singing bird!

Semi-collared Flycatcher Semi-collared Flycatcher
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May 7th
With Waders in mind and heat wave conditions I decided to give raptor migration a rest and headed directly to K20. Unfortunately the adult male Caspian Plover was not relocated but we got great views of the Terek Sandpiper, 13 Red-necked Phalaropes and 8 Broad-billed Sandpipers. At the Vineyards there were at least 5 Golden Orioles and 4 Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters were seen around the bee hives. Near K19 a nice Olive-tree Warbler gave us a show and at Yotvata there was a male Black headed Bunting and a Black-winged Pratincole. In the afternoon a quick visit to Neot Smadar produced a nice "wave" of Red-backed Shrikes with 6 birds seen (4 males), a stunning male Lesser-Grey Shrike and 4 Black-headed Buntings. At the sewage pools the Citrine Wagtail is still present with a single Curlew Sandpiper, 7 Little Stints and a Temminck's Stint.

So that wraps up the first week of May, stay posted, the spring is wrapping up, but there are sure to be a few more surprises in the upcoming weeks.

Jonathan Meyrav and the birdingisrael team.


Contact info

Daphna Abell
Program Coordinator
lotan-programs@lotan.ardom.co.il

Tel: +972 8 6356935;
Toll Free: 1800 2000 75 (when in Israel)

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