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>> Birding Reports

Negev, 27/Mar/06


Eyal Vanunu

On March 27th I drove south to the dunes areas of the Western Negev desert ('Holot Agur'). Migrant passerines are present at every green spot in the dunes – mainly Blackcaps and Lesser Whitethroats. Scanning the plateau ('beer Milka') I found a Cream-colored courser and a few Desert Wheatears.

I then continued to Sde-Boker campus. I was surprised to find relatively large numbers of Cretzschmar's Bunting virtually everywhere – 95 birds were present at the park alone (the total no. around that area is a few hundreds, at least 250-300 birds), undoubtfully the biggest 'wave' of this species that I ever saw at Sde Boker. Interestingly, at least in the park (where I counted the birds), no. of males and females was almost equal. Among the Cretzschmar's were 18 Ortolan Buntings and a single Cinereous Bunting. Also around about 10 Tree Pipits, 3 Wrynek and all the other typical birds for the area, such as Little Green Bee-eater and Desert Finch.
Ein Ovdat
Ein Ovdat

The pair of Bonelli's Eagle at Ein Ovdat is doing well, providing excellent views as usual. The two young are about 6-7 weeks old now (probably hatched during the first week of February), both were active and fed by the female (first photo, 2nd showing the male). Other raptors around were a few Griffon and Egyptian Vultures, Long-legged Buzzard and some Black Kites.
Along the water stream, a few 'feldegg' Yellow Wagtail, Water Pipits, a Water Rail and Trumpeter Finches. 1-2 Crag Martin was also present at the canyon.

At Mashabby Sade (about 15km north to SB) no exceptional numbers of buntings – only single birds were seen. Most interesting birds were a Semi-collared flycatcher– my first for this season, and a male Ruppell's Warbler.
Thousands of White storks were migrating above the area (14:30), forming huge flocks – even non-birders people that were driving along road 40 stopped on the side of the road to watch this amazing phenomenon.
Bonelli's Eagle Bonelli's Eagle Cretzschmar's Bunting Desert Finch White Stork Wryneck

Red Knot
(Calidris canus) Acre, Jan.06

Trumpeter Finch
(Bucanetes githagineus) Eilat area, Dec.05

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse
(Pterocles alchata) Western Negev, Mar.06
 
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