James Smith's Daily Reports, Southern Israel, Fall 2002

Lotan - 24 October

A hot day developed with a light eastern wind and clear skies. I didn't venture out until early afternoon but soon found a Red-breasted Flycatcher at the swimming pool, possibly a different bird to that of the previous three days.

I wandered down to the organic gardens finding Tree Pipits, Redstarts, Chiffchaffs and other common migrants along the way. The gardens themselves held over 20 Red-throated Pipits, several Stonechats and an Isabelline Wheatear. However, a fine male Namaqua Dove caught my attention and allowed close views and even a few photographs. These pretty African doves are generally rare at Lotan in the autumn.

Overhead a few raptors were passing including 2 Steppe Eagles, 2 Long-legged Buzzards and a Lesser Spotted Eagle, the latter being a very good species for Lotan in the autumn.

Namaqua Dove, male, Lotan 24 October

A Tawny Pipit flew over as I headed down to the bird reserve and a juvenile Barbary Falcon chased doves over the dairy barn.

Once in the bird reserve warblers became evident and I found good numbers of Chiffchaffs in some of the acacia trees. Amongst these were two Siberian Chiffchaffs of the race 'tristis', much greyer than their more common cousins lacking any greenish tones on the head and mantle, with a broader buffy white supercilium. As I strolled back towards the Kibbutz, a juvenile Merlin zipped by and I came across a fine Siberian/Eastern Stonechat.

Eastern Stonechat, Lotan, 24 October
Eastern Stonechat, Lotan, 24 October

This bird was perhaps of the race maura or even armenica, as it showed some white at the base of the tail feathers.

Finally, a feeding flock of Chiffchaffs near the main gate of the Kibbutz held another two individuals of the Siberian form 'tristis', and a female Namaqua Dove went to roost in the mesquite bushes rounding off an excellent afternoon of birding.

Good birding,

James Smith

Redstart, female, Lotan 24 October
Redstart, female, Lotan 24 October

Contact info

Daphna Abell
Program Coordinator

Tel: +972 8 6356935;
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