Honey Buzzards galore

I was guiding a non-birding related group in the Eilat mountains in the past four days, and saw every day hundreds and hundreds of Honey Buzzards overhead. Migration began at first light and increased as the day progressed. There were some breaks, but just from my vantage points I must have seen well over 3,000 birds, and am sure that there were thousands more. What struck me was that they were already at altitude just as the day was breaking, and stayed at that altitude for most of the day.  Among them, there were several kettles of Black Storks (300+), a few Marsh Harriers, and  hundreds of Levant Sparrowhawks. European Bee-eaters were present in their hundreds, as well as Common Swifts, House Martins and Sand Martins. We hiked up Mount Shelomo, and could witness the migration above and below us. The Black Storks were truly impressive to see at such close range, no more than twenty meters away, while standing on the summit of the mountain.

I also saw some White-crowned Black Wheatears without the white crown and made sure that they were the right species, and not a Basalt Wheatear, in light of the individual we had seen at the end of March at Uvda valley. I can report that none of the individuals can be identified as this rare bird.

David Schoneveld

Licensed Tour Guide and Birder

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