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Birding Reports
Hadoram's visit to Israel - February 2008

 Arabian Warbler
Arabian Warbler
 Arabian Warbler (Sylvia leucomelaena), race negevensis , Israel,
from the forthcoming 'Photographic Handbook of the Birds of the Western Palearctic', A & C Black. © Hadoram Shirihai 

I checked at least 15 territories of the species that were used to be active, at least until late 1990s and all except two were lacking of birds!
The only two territories where in Hazeva area one of which I found and the other Jonathan Mairav and Yoav Perlman told me about. I used recordings extensively! To my opinion the species (endemic race) is on a verge of extinction in Israel! My hope is that Ornithological center, SPNI can find the sources to do something to save the species. I like to suggest NOT trying ringing them, as it probably will be better NOT to handle a species with so few individuals.

 Common Swift
pekinensis common swift
 pekinensis Common Swift
from the forthcoming 'Photographic Handbook of the Birds of the Western Palearctic', A & C Black. © Hadoram Shirihai

The characters of race pekinensis (Common Swift) and its separation from Pallid Swift
last week I saw passage of both species together in Nizzana (see images). Race pekinensis differs from nominate apus by its paler forehead which often extends further back as narrow stripe above/beyond eye, and purer white and larger throat-patch, as well as overall browner plumage, greyer under tail-coverts and broader pale tips below; also note distinctly paler inner primaries, secondaries, and greater upper wing-coverts. Thus, it could in certain lights appear like Pallid Swift, but which, still, have paler plumage and even wider throat patch (see image). I hope this of interest. Actually, the passage of the swifts was unusually low, probably following the bad whether (but maybe there is about local migration expert that can explain this phenomenon better), but for your info pekinensis is on the way to its Asian breeding ground.

 Alpine Swift
Alpine Swift
 Alpine Swift race tuneti/archeri,
from the forthcoming 'Photographic Handbook of the Birds of the Western Palearctic', A & C Black. © Hadoram Shirihai

(these birds were with the pekinensis and pallidus), and they were looking very pale above and small, to me very much like race archeri, but for the sake to play safe I marked them as tuneti/archeri. I think, in general, the species is hardly ever photographed in Israel.

Alpine Swift Arabian Warbler Chukar Hume's Owl Nubian Nightjar Pallid Swift Common Swift (race pekinensis Peregrine Falcon Saker Falcon Sardinian Warbler

Caspian Plover
(Charadrius asiaticus) Arava valley, Apr.05

Lanner Falcon
(Falco biarmicus) Sde-Boker, Oct.06

Citrine Wagtail
(Motacilla citreola) Yotvata, Mar.05
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