Birding Update Mid-January, 2012

Desert Wheatear

It has been unusually cold in the Arava desert the past two weeks, and we even had a few sprinklings of rain, nothing really measureable but yet quite refreshing.

The White-fronted Goose that I did not see at the Yotvata circular fields has moved to the Yotvata sewage. Michael and Brenda had seen it a few days ago. It will have been in the area for two months now.

I concentrated on the feed storage area behind Lotan‘s dairy barn, and it was quite productive. A sizeable group of Red-throated Pipits were about, as were a few Water Pipits. I did see one Corn Bunting, as well as a beautiful male Desert Wheatear. Its all-black tail and the white line at the bottom of the grayish crown made the identification very clear. A Northern Wheatear was nearby for comparison. Michael and Brenda reported that they saw one Temminck’s Lark at the same location but, despite searching, could not locate the individual. We are inundated at the moment with White Wagtails and Bluethroats, and even a small number of the svecica subspecies with the reddish dot. We also have quite a number of female bluethroats without the coloration.

I also wanted to see what was going on in Nachal Ketura, just up the road from Lotan. The usual Yellow-vented Bulbuls were about as were a group of House Sparrows. I saw several Crested Larks about near the shrubs, and proceeded further up the river bed. I did a warbler of some kind, probably a Sardinian Warbler, but it played hard to get. Eventually it disappeared without identification. In its stead three Scrub Warblers came into the next shrub and played around for quite a while. I could get some very good views, with the streaking on the head, and the very characteristic tail.

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