This was our last full day. A brief trip to Shulamit Park produced the usual mixture of migrants.
This is a yellow vented (or spectacled) bulbul, a common bird in Israel but a lovely one.
|Yellow-vented (or spectacled) bulbul|
Our next stop was Holland Park again. Whilst we were let loose all over the park, our 2 guides headed up to the far end. With hindsight, I can only imagine they had prior information which they wanted to check before calling the group. At some point Martyn had to come and find everybody, giving them instructions to make for a particular bush at the very far end of the park. This seemed rather inefficient and an example of poor communication.
Anyway, the bush in question was alive with small warblers. It gave me my first views of Ruppell's warblers, subalpine warblers and, very briefly, Menetries warbler.
|Ruppell's warbler - male|
|Northern wheatear - here he is about to start on the beetle!|
|Northern wheatear - "I'll have these legs off!"|
|Northern wheatear - the fight continues!|
I also came across a woodchat shrike. . . .
|Woodchat shrike - lovely bird|
. . . an isabelline wheatear. . .
|Little crake - female (sorry for the quality of this shot in the half darkness. It was taken at ISO 6400)|
Monday, 28 March, 2011
This was the day of the 350 km drive back to Tel Aviv. However, we did make an early visit to a site close to Eilat in search of a hooded wheatear. It was not to be found but we did see a white tailed wheatear, a common cuckoo, some blackstarts, an eastern Bonelli's warbler and a very pale short-toed eagle.
Some of our number were keen to see long billed pipit. As we got closer to Tel Aviv we stopped at a nature reserve in the southern Judaean hills. The guides left all of us at the top of the valley whilst they drove most of the way down again, leaving unclear instructions. As a result I didn't see spectacled warbler and only saw long billed pipit in flight rather than being able to see it perched. This was another example of poor communication.
Nevertheless, I was very happy overall with the birds I had seen on the trip. James and Martyn used their experience and truly astounding call recognition ability to find many birds that I would never have seen. I would certainly recommend Birdfinders.
After the usual strict security at the airport, our flight was on time and arrived at Luton a few minutes early. It was quite chilly while we waited for the minibus to take us to the off-site car park. We finally got to bed at about 2 in the morning, exhausted but exhilarated by the trip.