Summer 2007 in South Israel – Red Sea specialties and more
All images copyright of Rony Livne -
After the wealth of migrants during spring, June rolls in with temperatures more often than not over 40 degrees. Northbound migration is all but over by late June and the first southbound migrants usually start trickling through in late July.
The heat seriously limits the birding options and with the lack of migrants most birders focus their efforts on the North beach of Eilat and the Red Sea. Even on the beach with a constant breeze, by 9:00 in the morning it is like birding a furnace… but the rewards are remarkable.
Typical Red Sea species which are rarely seen during the rest of the year are easiest to see during the mid summer months. Rare residents of the southern Red Sea and the Indian Ocean have finished the breeding season by now and many birds start roaming the seas. Many birds follow the Red sea northwards until they reach the gulf of Eilat, the northern tip of the Red Sea.
Eilat's north beach is the place to connect with some interesting Red Sea Terns, Gulls, Shearwaters and Skuas that are very hard to come by at other times of the year.
June and July 2007 have been extremely rewarding for seawatching. The highlights being record numbers of White-cheeked and Caspian Terns and regular appearances of Bridled and Lesser crested Terns, Skuas and a Brown Booby which has been hanging around for most of July. On July 27th Noam Weiss also reported an adult Arctic Tern off the north beach.
I am happy to bring you a short summary of the seawatching highlights of the summer. This is a collection of reports of several birders, with the latest contribution of info and images by Rami Mizrachi and Rony Livne.
Brown Booby –
1 off the north beach most of July, a foreign birder reported 2 Brown Boobys, an adult and a juvenile on the 4th of July.
Arctic Skua –
small flocks of up to 10 birds during the summer.
White-cheeked Tern –
The good numbers of late spring increased during the summer. Most birds seen are 1st year birds with single adults. Up to 40 White-cheeked Terns were seen on some days during July.
Bridled Tern –
An excellent summer for this Red Sea Tern. Up to 25 birds were seen during July. Rami Mizrachi and Rony Livne reported 29 birds in 3 flocks on the 25th of July.
Lesser Crested Tern –
Small numbers were seen nearly daily, RM and RL reported 10 LC Terns on the 25th. Worth noting are the high numbers of Caspian Terns present in Eilat with 60 birds counted on July 25th, probably a record count for Israel.
Also, several possible Saunders's Terns were reported amongst the over summering Little Terns around Eilat. Due to the identification difficulties with the complex none of these are definite records, but there are some good candidates to be evaluated.
We would like to thank Rony Livne for his excellent photographic endeavours.
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