>> Birding Reports
Southern Arava, 14-16/Apr/06
According to the weather forecast, southernly winds were due in the gulf of Eilat all weekend. Avishay Shoresh and I followed that report and arrived to the north beach at afternoon, hoping to finally catch up with the Red-billed Tropicbird. On the beach we met Barak Granit, Rami Mizrachi, Rony Livne and Nir Sapir, who had similar goals.
The conditions that day were perfect, and given the fact that this bird almost always appeared at late afternoon, we were fairly confident it would show. During these last few hours of light, we had great views of both Pomarine and Arctic Skuas in full summer plumage, but despite our efforts, we did not see the Tropicbird.
Rami, Barak, Avishay and I met once again at the north beach. At first light, an Oystercatcher was a sign of things to come.
Throughout the morning, we enjoyed a steady passage of Skuas, totaling 26 Arctic, 4 Pomarine and a probable juv Long-tailed. Furthermore, the long-staying Brown Booby displayed its hunting skills only meters away from the shore-line, and so did a pair of Ospreys.
At 08:00, just as some of us were about to leave, the long anticipated Tropicbird showed up above the fish farms, providing us with decent views before disappearing far in the south-western reaches of the Gulf.
The rest of the day was pretty mellow and the Tropicbird did not re-appear at any time.
That evening, news of a superb male Black-crowned Finch-Lark found near the cowshed at Km 19 (north of Eilat), were released on the Israbirdnet.
Jonathan Meyrav, Liron Ziv and I were at Km 19 first thing in the morning, and found that a crowd of birders had already gathered around the enclosed cowshed. The Finch-Lark was there, feeding on the hay with Desert Finches, Spanish Sparrows and other seed-eaters. Since the area was fenced and locked, we were unable to approach the Lark and all we got through the fence were vague record shots. Eventually, the inevitable happened - one of the tractors flushed the Finch-Lark to a better viewing point, and we finally got the photos we wanted.
Later that day I was birding around Lotan, where at the swimming pool lawn, I was pleased to find yet another good bird - a Scarlet Rosefinch. The dull female type Rosefinch was feeding on the turf, in close proximity to Red-throated Pipits and Ortolan Buntings. I immediatly notified Jonathan and Liron, who rushed in and managed to see the bird just before a rainy cold-front set in.
(Bucanetes githagineus) Eilat area, Dec.05
(Emberiza cineracea) Lotan, Mar.06
(Ficedula parva) Mitzpe Ramon, Oct.05