Late October 2007 in the Southern Arava

Summary of significant sightings in southern Israel

Imperial EagleImperial Eagle

As winter slowly creeps in the last migrants are passing through and are replaced by wintering species. The days in are still quite warm, but are getting shorter and shorter, and the nights are becoming quite cold.

October ended with some good birds seen in southern Israel and here is a short summary of the significant sightings in the region.

Menetrie's WarblerMenetrie's Warbler

A female Menetrie's Warbler was caught and ringed in the Eilat Birdwatching Park on October 12th. This species can be tricky in the late fall but this bird showed some diagnostic features and was relatively straightforward.

The good fall for Black Winged Pratincole continues and several single birds were seen throughout October, at Eilat (8, 10 October) Neot Smadar (16th October) and at Re'im reservoir on the 30th.

Red breasted Flycatchers showed up in fairly good numbers with up to 3 birds seen at Bahad 1 sewage and at the Birdwatching Park at Eilat from early October, and single birds were seen at various sites between Eilat and Neot Smadar.

Single Isabelline type Shrikes were seen at Eilat, Yotvata and Neot Smadar in October.


Steppe Grey Shrikes (Lanius meridionalis pallidirostris) have now made an appearance with a single adult near Arad on October 20-21st, and a very aggressive individual at Yotvata on the 30th which was seen and photographed by Lior Kislev hunting a Red-throated Pipit in a very raptor like manner ! (see full documentation on separate page).

A female type Pied Wheatear was at Neot Smadar sewage on the 28-29 October.

Besides this Steppe Eagle migration is reaching its peak with up to 150 birds passing Eilat every day with small numbers of Steppe Buzzards, Black Kites and Short-toed Eagles. 

Red breasted FlycatcherRed-breasted Flycatcher

The Western Negev area is also gaining momentum, with many wintering species already in show. Around the famous Urim Power line up to 4 Peregrines can be found. I photographed a large female Peregrine with leather bands on both legs, but no other attachments and rope near the eastern end of the Urim power line. Other raptors in the area include 3-4 E. Imperial eagles, several Long legged Buzzards and single Merlins. Marsh, Pallid and Hen Harriers can be seen courting the fields. We anticipate the arrival of Saker and Lanner any day now. In the fields north of Urim junction a nice flock of around 1000 Pin-tailed Sandgrouse has been seen several times in late October and single Dotterel can be found here and there. A single Flamingo was seen at the Re'im Reservoir on the 30th.

Stay posted as winter rolls in. We anticipate the arrival of some of our favorite wintering species any day now. Striated Scops Owls can be found in Acacia wadis from early November as well as Cyprus and Desert Warblers, Oriental Skylarks and Asian Buff bellied Pipits can turn up just about anywhere in southern Israel.

Jonathan Meyrav.    

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