Black Crowned Finch Lark – Eremopterix nigriceps
28-30 April 2004
On the evening of the 28 th of April, I was fortunate enough to find a beautiful male Black Crowned Finch Lark at Yotvata fields.
Black Crowned Finch Lark is an extremely rare lark in Israel with only a handful of records from the 1980s and the most recent record is from early spring 1989.
My guests Yohan van Ginneken, Martin Epstein and I were birding the fields when I suggested to walk a bit into the field, I took 3 steps when a small pale bird shot up and landed about 50 m away. As the bird landed I immediately identified it as a Black Crowned Finch Lark and called it to the attention of my clients. The bird, a spectacular male fed in close proximity to a group of Short toed Larks and Red Throated Pipits.
I was obviously very excited and so were Yohan and Martin as this is definitely the rarest Lark in Israel and this is the first record for 15 years (!)
We enjoyed good views of this attractive lark for 30 minutes but due to harsh wind and dust I was only able to get some poor record shots. I called some birders and a RBA sms message was put out. 2 French birders staying at Eilat had enough time to twitch the bird that same evening, and many birders enjoyed good views the following two days.
In the past springs, especially last spring, I have searched extensively for this Lark, and it was ranked very high up in my personal wish list. I was very fortunate to finally find one and this spectacular individual was worth the long years of searching.
Enjoy these images, courtesy of Yoav Perlman, which were taken the morning after the bird was found.
Jonathan Meyrav /// Lotan Center for birdwatching
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