After a few days where there was little new migration going on, we woke up to a day where from the outset it seemed that there was a lot more going on. There were many more Lesser Whitethroats, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs in the trees on the Kibbutz. There apparently had been some significant migration after a few days where the bad weather in the north of Israel had put the parking brake on migration.
Right outside my back door there was a Wryneck merrily hopping around, and in the lawn closest to my house there were some Red-throated Pipits and Meadow Pipits around. Walking further, there was one particular shrubs, called a Callistemon King’s Park, that was literally teeming with Sylvia warblers, mostly Lesser Whitethroats and Blackcaps. This is a regular occurrence with this shrub, which we call the bottlebrush tree, in full bloom. The Constructed Wetlands did not yield many new things. There were three Yellow Wagtails (feldegg), and a bunch of Red-throated Pipits in pool number one and three. One Green Sandpiper noisily flew away and the obligatory Spur-winged Plovers were, as usual sounding the alarm. One Pallid Harrier was spotted hunting early in the morning above the ponds.
After breakfast, I went out, and that is when I saw the overhead migration going on. Most of it was over the mountains, called Caravan Cliffs, which are to the west of us, but every once in a while there would be one “kettle” that would form right above Lotan. My estimate is that there were well over 3,000 raptors overhead. The most common was the Steppe Buzzard, numbering over 80% of the total. There was also quite a large number of Black Kites in the mix. Noteworthy was that there were several Steppe Eagles, at least one Lesser Spotted Eagle, one Osprey, several Sparrowhawks, one Egyptian Vulture, and several Montagu’s Harriers. This spectacle continued to about 11 a.m. and then stopped. The Israeli birder Barak Granit stopped by and confirmed some of the sightings. We both remarked that there was a notorious absence of Black Storks that migrate together with the Black Kites. Maybe that will change in the next couple of days.
Licensed Tour Guide and Birder