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>> Birding Reports

Negev, 18/NOV/05

Tomer Landsberger

On November 18th, Barak Granit, Eran Dvir and I were birding in the central and western Negev.

We started at the "grave park" located at Sde Boker college, were we had an Olive-backed Pipit feeding on the turf with Meadow Pipits. This species is a very rare passage migrant and winter visitor.

We continued to 'Bahad 1' sewage, near Mitzpe Ramon, hoping to get a Ring Ouzel, which in recent years was regularly seen there in November. At first sight, the place looked very disappointing. The number of birds has dropped dramatically since we were last there, and it didn't take us long to realize that our main target was absent. Around the Tamarisks were a Fieldfare, some Siskins, Desert Finches and a Brambling.

Just when we were about to leave, a female Pied Wheatear, very rare in Israel, appeared out of nowhere and landed in front of us. We immediately started taking pictures of the very obliging bird. The Wheatear was perching just several meters away from us, occasionally hopping and catching insects, and then flew towards the opposite vine-yard. Later on, two Syrian Serins made a stop-over to drink.

Further north in Urim fields, western Negev, we saw an Adult Lanner being mobbed by a pair of Peregrines. Along the famous pylons were at least 5 Imperial Eagles, 4 Merlins, Pallid and Hen Harriers, Peregrines and Long-legged Buzzards. We then went searching for Dotterels in Ofakim. There we saw an additional 5 Merlins, Hen Harriers, a Pallid Harrier and 4 Finch's Wheatears, but could not find any Dotterels.

Photos of the Olive-backed Pipit, courtesy of Rony Livne, were taken on the 20th.

Olive-backed Pipit Olive-backed Pipit Olive-backed Pipit Pied Wheatear Pied Wheatear

(Carduelis chloris) Hula valley, Feb.05

Sinai Rosefinch
(Carpodacus synoicus) Wadi Hava, Oct.05

(Alcedo atthis) Ma'agan Michael, Aug.04
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