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>> Monthly Summaries

April 2004 - first half

Eyal Shochat

Below is a summary featuring the most interesting observations from this month, based on reports from the ISRABIRDNET mailing list and other sources.
All records from Eilat: 22 Long-tailed Skuas flew north over the northern beach on 31/3 (T. Landsberger et al.), 3 Arctic Skuas, 1 Sooty Shearwater and 1 Black Tern were present on 9/4 (D. Shapira, B. Granit).

Waders and waterfowl
Northern Israel: Two Marbled Teals were seen at the Hula lake on 8/4 (L. Kislev). At Kfar Rupin / Sede Elyahu fish ponds there were 5 Ruddy Shelducks, and about 10 Crakes of three species on 4/4 (E. Vanunu).
Central Israel: At Yesodot reservoir, a female White-headed Duck was still present on 8/4, with 13 Ferruginous Ducks (Y. Kiat).
Northern Negev: A Ruddy Shelduck was present at Nizana on 5/4 (B. Granit). Rarely found inland, a Whimbrel at the Be'er Sheva sewage ponds on 10/4 was the second record for this site, and the first since 1988 (R. Livne).
Eilat: A single Red-breasted Merganser flew in over the northern beach on 1/4. It was relocated on 2/4 at km 19 sewage ponds. Km 19 Sewage ponds and Km 20 saltpans also hosted the following birds: Red-necked Phalarope - one on 2/4 (T. Landsberger) and 2 on 13/4 (D. Gelbart). Terek Sandpiper - one on 12/4 (C. Mills) and two on 13/4 (D. Gelbart). Broad-billed Sandpiper, Whimbrel, and a pair of Caspian Plovers on 13/4 (D. Gelbart)

Passerines et al.
Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters were seen continuously from late March, mostly in the southern Arava with a daily maximum of 25 on 7/4 (Y. Dax). A few birds were also reported from Tel Aviv Be'er Sheva and Gevulot.
The biggest ever wave of Semi-collared Flycatchers passed through the area from 11/4. Birds were reported from Ga’ash, Jerusalem, Beer-Sheva, Nizana and Mizpe-Ramon. Highest concentrations were in southern Israel; North-western Negev with 11 at Kibutz Gevulot, 3 at Revivim and 12 at Sede-Boker on 13/4 and southern Arava with 20 at Lotan on 11/4 (J. Meyrav et al.), 14 on the same day at Eilat (R. Mizrachi et al.), 35 throughout the southern Arava on 12/4 (J. Meyrav et al.), 10 at Samar on 13/4 (D. Gelbart), and 20 in the southern Negev/Arava on 14/4 (J. Meyrav et al.).
11/4’s White-throated Robin (D. Shapira et al.) indicated the onset of a rare spring migration wave of this species through Israel, as it happened in 1984 and 1999. On 11-12/4 one was also seen at Lotan (J. Meyrav et al.). On 13/4 there were three at Yotvata (D. Gelbart) one at Nizana (Y. Perelman), One at Revivim (B. Granit, D. Shapira), and one in Jerusalem (still present on the next day, S. Agmon et al.). On 14/4 there were 7 birds in the southern Negev/ Arava (J. Meyrav et al.).
A most early wave of large Hippolais warblers included one Olive-Tree Warbler on 10/4 and about six Upcher's Warblers at Yotvata / Lotan between 10-13 /4 (R. Mizrachi et al.). A male Subalpine Warbler hanged at Yotvata on 9/4 (R. Livne). Also in Yotvata, a male Cinereous Bunting was seen on 13/4 (J. Meyrav).

April 2004 - second half

Eyal Shochat

The best finding of the month is the first White-rumped Sandpiper for Israel, found by Daniel Gelbart at Ma'ayan Tzvi fishponds on the 26th.
 White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis) 
White-rumped Sandpiper
 Ma'agan Michael, 26-APR 

Other good birds were found throughout the country:
Northern Israel
A Black Vulture was seen at Gamla on the 26/4 (V. de Boer).Apart from the White-rump Ma’agan Michael held good numbers of other waders, including a few Broad-billed Sandpipers and a Red-necked Phalarope.

Central Israel
Sea-watching at Yaffo Port on the 16/4 yielded good numbers: 110 Cory’s Shearwaters and 12 Gannets (N. Sapir) A Hill (Pale Rock) Sparrow was seen north of Bet Nir on the 17/4 (E. Hadad). An unusual record for Jerusalem were three Pygmy Cormorants at the botanical gardens, 20/4 (S. darawshi).

Southern Israel
White-throated Robins continued show up into the second half of April. New individuals were noted from the Southern Arava (J. Meyrav, J. Aalto), as well as one from Be'er Sheva (18/4, Y. Perlman). Latest record from Machtesh Ramon, 20/4 (O. Hatzofe).
Semi Collared Flycatchers flood also didn't stop by the middle of the month: A few individuals were reported regularly from the Southern Arava at least until 27/4 (J. Meyrav). A Caspian Plover was seen at Yotvata on the 16/4 (J. Aalto) and on the 30/4 (E. Vanunu).
A female Menetries's Warbler was ringed at IBRC Eilat on the 19/4 and was still present 29/4.
The fist ever Great Black-headed Gull to Be'er Sheva was recorded on the 16/4 (R. Livne), quite an unusual inland record in the south. Another unusual record for Be'er Sheva are was a Namaqua Dove near Hatzerim on the 23/4 (D. Hawlena).
Hill (Pale Rock) Sparrows were seen in good numbers towards the end of the month: 50+ near Tzuk Tamrur, (Judean Desert) 26/4 (A. Tsairi), 12 at Ne'ot Smadar, 27/4 (J. Meyrav) while 36 were caught in IRBC Eilat on the 28/4 (R. Yosef).
Probably the best bird in the south this month was a Black-crowned Finch Lark found near Yotvata by J. Meyrav, on the 28/4. On the next day (29/4) a Thick-billed Lark was seen at the same location (E. Vanunu).
 Black-crowned Finch Lark (Eremopterix nigriceps) 
Black-crowned Finch Lark
 Yotvata, 28-APR 

At Eilat north beach a White-checked Tern was seen on the 28/4 (P.A. Crochet et al.), in addition to other seabirds of the season: a Cory's Shearwater, a few Sooties and Skuas. Waders in the Southern Arava included an Oystercatcher and, as usual for the season a few Broad-billed Sandpipers and Red-necked Phalaropes (J. Meyrav and many others).
To finish the southern section, three Crested Honey Buzzards (22,000 non-crested) and an adult Verreaux's Eagle were seen in Eilat mountains on the 30/4 (J. Meyrav).

Gray Wagtail
(Motacilla cinerea)) Yotvata, May.06

Crested Lark
(Galerida cristata) Yotvata, Apr.05

(Charadrius morinellus) Yotvata, Dec.05
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