Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Israel - Autumn 2010 - Day 1

Long eared Owl, one of 10 in the roost at Kibbutz Gevulot

Long eared Owl

Long eared Owl

The group, scanning Urim fields

Wednesday 17th 2010

I'd been to Israel for the Spring migration a couple of years ago. The sight of thousands of birds moving en masse through the rift valley of Arava is something to behold. In November birds are still on the move with rarities turning up on a regular basis but there was not the great movements of raptors which I had witnessed in Spring. The trip had been arranged through Birdfinders and we landed at Tel aviv airport and had time to grab a bite before heading south. Good planning meant I still had a Pork pie left to eat, as we would arrive too late for a meal at the Kibbutz. We travelled in 2 Mini buses to Kibbutz Gevulot in the Negev. We stayed there for 2 nights, in basic but comfortable accommodation. We were up early to explore the grounds of surrounding the chalets. There were several common migrants as well as some not so common such as the Yellow browed warbler found by Steve Cawthray, quite a rarity in Israel. A White breasted Kingfisher was an impressive sight, but pride of place went to a total of 10 Long eared Owls roosting in a single tree. A group of Common Mynas were my first 'tick' of the trip.

Our group, under the guidance of James Smith moved on to the Lahav Nature Reserve. We soon had Finsch's Wheatear and Spectacled warbler in the bag but the real prize, Long billed pipit proved far more difficult. As this was the last Western Palearctic pipit I needed, it was a great relief when it finally gave itself up and showed well.
Our next site was Urim fields, a vast arid plain. We found an area full of Larks and pipits: Calandra lark, Skylarks, and Red throated pipits with a variety of other passerines. More impressive though were the number of Raptors attracted to the area headed by 3 Eastern Imperial Eagles, plus Pallid Harrier, Hen Harrier, Black Kite, Common(Steppe) Buzzard, Long legged Buzzard, Peregrine and Merlin. Our only sight of mass migration was a distant white cloud of White Pelicans, an estimated 150 birds.


  1. Great stuff Bob but it doesn't match up to a walk round Draycote Water!!!!!

  2. Hi Bob,well done, great captures.
    Lovely images,top notch.
    Hope we bump into each other in the near future.