Next to our hotel was Shulamit Park, a magnet for migrants. On other days, several of the others had gone birdwatching even before breakfast. I decided to go as well today. The park is planted with many trees, and the lawns are watered every day. At the top of the central mound, where the winos sleep, there is a very attractive bottlebrush tree which attracted most of the migrants. Wryneck, eastern olivaceous warbler, eastern Bonelli's warbler, blackcaps, lesser whitethroats and Spanish sparrows were all in evidence. However, I was not in the park. A small heron had been seen in the marina and I got up before 6 AM to see it before it flew away. I saw it only briefly and distantly and against the light of the rising sun. It was a striated heron.
After breakfast we left at 7:45 AM as usual and drove to kilometre 33 to look for Dunn's lark. On arrival at this desert site there was a solitary car. Nearby, a photographer had set up a hide and a small battery driven water fountain to attract the birds. I wondered what he thought of 16 birdwatchers suddenly descending on his remote watchpoint! In the event, we only saw desert larks, a bar tailed lark, a woodchat shrike and a flyover short-toed eagle. We also flushed a large Cape hare, which bounded off into the distance.
We moved on to Yot Vata. On a nearby site of acacia forest we hoped to find Arabian warbler, one of the "big five" most wanted birds. Arabian warbler is a very localised bird, but it is resident and sedentary. At first we saw eastern Bonelli's warbler, hoopoe, a couple of very nice blackstarts, etc before the Arabian warbler eventually appeared and showed well for several minutes. We also saw a scrub warbler and a gecko, and some people saw a couple of sand partridges in the distance. Flyovers included a black stork and booted Eagle.
It was only a short hop to the cafe at Yot Vata where we had lunch, followed, for me, by the now traditional large ice cream! As it was fairly warm, we went up into the mountains to the Shizzafon sewage ponds. These were sewage ponds with a difference! There wasn't much water and the ponds were landscaped with attractive vegetation, bushes, reeds, etc. Here we enjoyed squacco herons, linnet, bluethroat, citrine wagtail, Northern wheatear and a solitary white stork.
|Kestrel with quail (alive when we first saw it)!!|