torsdag den 23. februar 2012

Israel 7/3-13/3 2010

Left Kibbutz Mash’ Abbe Sade at 0445 in order to get to Nizzana before sunrise. Weather conditions were far from perfect with fog and high humidity. We got to Nizzana at 0530 and placed ourselves just south of the big power lines crossing the road near Esuz. The fog made conditions very bad with a limited sight of 200 meters. Only birds calling or singing were noted. The fog lifted at 0900 and soon hereafter we found our first Macqueen’s Bustard east of the road. The bird a displaying male was seen for the rest of the observation period. Displaying Cream Coloured Courser (7) were seen on both sides of the road. Other good birds included Thick-billed Lark 2, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse 21, Spotted Sandgrouse 15, Little Owl of the race Lilith.

At 1020 we left the Nizzana Area to get to Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv in time. We had few stops on our way to the airport and arrived at 1320. Remember to get to the airport at least two and half hours before scheduled flight as security checks can take a while.
Little Owl of the race Lilith

Cream Coloured Courser

Cream Coloured Courser

onsdag den 22. februar 2012

Israel 7/3-13/3 2010


Left our hotel in Eilat at 0600 and headed north to KM33 for one last try with the Asian Desert Wablers. Unfortunately we could not locate any of the two birds seen by others and had to settle for the trips first Bar-tailed Desert Lark, a singing male. Continued north to Yotvata were KO located an Oriental Lark which everybody saw at close range. Another good bird was a female Namaqua Dove which only half of the group saw. Two group members lacked Hooded Wheatear on their life lists so we decided to give it a try at the sewage located one kilometre east of Shizzafon (Neot Samadar). Two hours of searching did not produce any wheatear but the sewage did have good numbers of Isabelline Wheatears.

Continued our way northwest and stopped at KM59, Hameishar, which is a green spot in the desert. The area is a military area and you might get asked to leave if the military personel see you. Luckily for us they did not spot or at least they did not ask us to leave so we had two hours of excellent birding. The area holds good numbers of a great variety of larks, including Thick-billed (1) and Temminck’s (9 birds, several singing). This was also the area where we finally caught up with Asian Desert Warbler. Two birds were seen at close range. One of the birds gasping in the immense midday heat (>35 degrees celcius).

The afternoon was spend birding Mitzpe Ramon which is a wintering site for Syrian Serin. We saw two males in the small park near the football field. Other good birds included Mourning Wheatear 3♂♂, Redstart 2 ♂♂ of the race samamisicus. Nubian Ibex come into the small town just east of the football field allowing very good photographic opportunities.

Slept in Kibbutz Mash’ Abbe Sade.

Oriental Lark at Yotvata

Looking for Asian Desert Warbler. No luck at this minefield (KM33).



Hot like hell!


Roughtail Rock Agama (Laudakia stellio stellio) Mitzpe Ramon

Nubian Ibex at Mitzpe Ramon

Nubian Ibex at Mitzpe Ramon

Nubian Ibex at Mitzpe Ramon

mandag den 20. februar 2012

Israel 7/3-13/3 2010


Morning spent at North Beach which produced excellent views of the second calendar year Brown Booby that had been wintering at the site. Other than that there wasn’t much migration to be noticed. A total of seven White-eyed Gulls were seen. Visits to Amram’s Pillars and Ketura Sewage did not produce anything spectacular. An adult Peregrine was seen just north of Eilat perched in a power mast.

At Ketura we got news of a male Pied Wheatear at Neot Samadar (Shizzafon) which we ended up twitching. The Kibbutz also held good numbers of Caspian Stonechats.

Birded the afternoon in Kibbutz Lothan were we finally saw a smart male Namaqua Dove near the Dairy Farm. Other good birds included Pallid Harrier 1 ♂ and Cretzschmar’s Bunting 1 ♂.

The last hours were spent at KM20 Saltpans. A Greater Sand Plover and a Richard Pipit were both nice finds. Other birds noted Marsh Sandpiper 3. At dusk we saw the Licthenstein’s Sandgrouse at KM19 again.

Brown Bobby at North Beach

Indiana Jones and  Amram’s Pillars

KO, EDY and a praying KAA

RSN at his favorit location

Pied Wheatear at Neot Samadar (Shizzafon)

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)

Sinai Agama

Namaqua Dove near the Dairy Farm

KM20 Saltpans

lørdag den 11. februar 2012

Israel 7/3-13/3 2010


Slept until 0930 and had a relaxing morning. A quick stop at the Eilat Ringing centre did not produce anything other than Marsh Sandpiper 4.Went to the Date Palm Plantation and ticked of the wintering female Crested Honey Buzzard. We flushed the bird twice before it flew off to Jordan. This seems to be the normal procedure with this bird so be sure to arrive early in the day. We met up with Rasmus Turin and Henrik Kisbye at the Ringing Centre and they informed us about two Asian Desert Warblers at KM33. A most wanted species for most of the group.

At KM33 we did not see the warblers but had fine views of Indian Silverbill 7 in the nearby date palm plantation. The silverbills can be quite difficult to find as they seem to disappear in palm trees but in the end we all had very good views.

Just south of Yotvata we saw several of the endangered Acacia Gazelle which is a subspecies of Mountain Gazelle only found in the southern part of Israel. At Yotvata we had a small lunch break at the visitor centre. The afternoon was spent birding the Northern Circular Field in Yotvata. Birds seen included Pallid Harrier 1 ♂ and Bimalculated lark 5 among the hundreds of Greater Short-toed Larks.

At dusk we had a successful encounter with the Licthenstein’s Sandgrouse at KM19. The birds (2♂♂+2♀♀) came in to drink at 1800, precisely. The evening was spent spotlighting at Yotvata but again without Egyptian Nightjar and Desert Eagle Owl. We did see Cape Hare 2, Lesser Egyptian Gerbil (easily caught by EDY) and Desert Hedgehog. Spent the night at Eilat.

Desert Hedgehog at Yotvata

Acacia Gazelle which is a subspecies of Mountain Gazelle is only found in the southern part of Israel.

Bimalculated lark at Northern Circular Field, Yotvata

Lesser Egyptian Gerbil (easily caught by EDY)

fredag den 10. februar 2012

White-rumped Sandpiper

White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis), 15/7-2009, Constable Point, East Greenland

Observers: Henrik Skov, Flemming Merkel, David Boertmann og Rasmus Due Nielsen

Constable Point was used as a base for conducting aerial surveys in Eastern- and North-eastern Greenland during the latter part of July in 2009. A good population of breeding waders are to be found in the area mainly Common Ringed Plovers and Dunlins especially in the area just east of the small airport.

We arrived at Constable Point in the evening of the 15th of July. The weather was perfect with blue skies and no wind at all. Before calling it a day I wanted to go for small walk, just to get a feel for which birds that were currently in the nearby area. From the Airport I could se a small lake with what looked to be a considerable amount of waders and some Glaucous Gulls. Territorial Dunlins were numerous on the way down there and one Red-necked Phalarope was also seen (a Greenland first for me).

At the lake I first concentrated on a large flock of waders in the northern part. The first bird I looked at seemed to have a very long body and no apparent black markings on the belly. Moving a little bit closer I could even see fine stripes on the flanks and a brown hood. I could not believe my luck and quickly managed to take a few pictures of the bird. Before moving any closer I just wanted to check the rest of the nearby flock. There was one more even closer! On this bird I could even see the arrow shaped markings on the side of the bird as it was feeding closer. The bird flew a few meters and I managed to catch a glimpse of the white rump. Thereafter I went quickly back to Hotel Hilton to tell the others about the birds and we enjoyed them for a subsequent 40 minutes before returning to the hotel for a good nights sleep.

No apparent differences in plumages were noted between the two birds. The birds were the 4th and 5th for East Greenland.
15/7 White-rumped Sandpiper bird number one.

15/7 White-rumped Sandpiper bird number two.

15/7 White-rumped Sandpiper bird number two.

torsdag den 9. februar 2012

The Wadden Sea

The Wadden Sea is truely an amazing place. The area holds large numbers of birds year round with peak numbers during spring and autumn. Aerial surveys of the area done by the University of Aarhus three times a year. This winter a large part of the area was covered with ice so birds were concentrated in few areas and many species were less numerous than in normal years.

2/2 Grey Seals on a sandy bank just northwest of Mandø. Grey Seals are scarce visitors to Danish waters. Numbers have been increasing in recent years, especially in the Baltic near Ertholmene north of Bornholm. Any comments regarding the identification of the two sandy-colored seals in the main group would be greatly appreciated.  
2/2 Langli is the northernmost island in the Danish part of the Waddensea. It is no longer inhabited and is today a wildlife reserve, mainly because of its large numbers of breeding gulls and terns. Spoonbills are now also breeding in small numbers on the southern part of the island. The island has several Danish firsts, including Asian Desert Warbler, Booted Warbler and Elegant Tern. Other rare birds include Bridled Tern and Laughing Gull. I visited the island twice in the late spring of 2010 with a Subalpine Warbler as the first passerine on one morning.
2/2 The island of Mandø is famous for rare birds. It is the smallest of the four islands in the Danish part of the Waddensea that can be visited all year round. The many isolated bushes are magnets for eastern passerines during the autumn and good for more scarce passerines as eg. Wryneck in spring. In October 2011 the island had Red-eyed Vireo (Danish first), Little Bunting, Gyrfalcon, Red-necked Phalarope, Richards Pipit, Great White Egrets and several Yellow-browed Warblers in a single day. Other Danish firsts from the island include Blackpoll Warbler.


mandag den 6. februar 2012

The Dirty Dubai Tour (Part two)

UAE offers a lot of good birding opportunities and in a Lexus filled with homemade sandwiches it's just heaven. Below you can see a few more pictures from our one-day trip in November 2011.
Khor al-Beida. This site is only 30 km from the Dubai City Centre and is one of the best places to see Crab Plover in the UAE.

We had fantastic views of this dream bird.

Another dream bird and again we had pretty good views ;-)

Wamm Farms. A very exciting place to bird.

Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola) at Wamm Farms.

Duarian Shrike at Wamm Farms.

Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis) ssp. cyanophrys at Wamm Farms,

Variable Wheatear (Oenanthe picata) at Wamm Farms

RDN and his beloved coffee.

Masafi Wadi is a regular wintering site for Plain Leaf Warbler.

Mr. Tommy "Ambitious" Petersen and RDN

Khor Kalba is an area of mangroves in the southeastern corner of the UAE right on the border with Oman

Arabian collared Kingfisher at Khor Kalba

Bridled Tern at Fujairah Port Beach.

This Green Turtle was a nice surprice.

Steppe Grey Shrike at Khor Kalba.

Steppe Grey Shrike at Khor Kalba.

More Gulls

The Glaucous-winged Gull has become slightly more difficult to see during the last week. Often the bird has not shown until almost midday. When the bird is present the trick to getting good images is to feed intensively in one part of the University Lake which will get most of the gulls really close (including the Iceland Gull) but the GWG will often not come. Another person start feeding wherever the GWG is and usually you can get really good views (remember to bring your 100mm macro…)

3/2 GWG just before it got to close for my lens...

3/2 GWG showing well

3/2 GWG trying to get in on the bread.

3/2 GWG like it is mostly seen. Pretty inactive!

3/2 GWG like it is mostly seen. Pretty inactive!

3/2 Iceland Gull in a quiet moment.

3/2 Martin Gottschling getting good pictures of the GWG.