Day 18 23.02.2018
Now that we have decided to have three observers stationed in the mountains, the possibilities for days off become more limited. As a result I have to make the most of them when they come around, and today I did just that!
I went early morning with the sanctuary team, who dropped me off at K19 ponds just after first light. My plan was to hike to Amran Pillars to hopefully finally see Sinai Rosefinch, but I had a quick look on the pond first. As soon as I looked over the bank, BOOM! Three Great White Pelicans sat there. They did not sit there for long though, as soon as they saw me they took off and after a couple of flybys headed in Jordan.
Speaking of Jordan, the previous day the Lesser White-fronted Goose that had wintered in Israel yesterday reappeared in Jordan, a first for the country. Since it was less than kilometre from the border, I had hoped it would return to Israel. Scanning the water produced nothing, and as a result the idea passed that I might see it again. However, I was wrong, as the bird appeared from behind me with two Egyptian Geese, flew around the pond a couple of times and then returned from where it came. I can’t say I seriously expected to see it, so I was buzzing when that happened.
Two lifers in, and I hadn’t even begun on the days birding really. I worked the scrub around the pond, all the while making my way towards the Wadi containing Amran Pillars. It was some walk, but considered it to be worth it. As I arrived at the Wadi a car pulled up, containing a young German birder that I had met the previous day. We drove to the site and there, waiting for us, were a flock of 15 Sinai Rosefinch, including at least four males. There were a few photographers in the valley, and they had put down food and water for the birds, drawing them in stupidly close. It also drew in White-crowned Black Wheatear and Scrub Warbler.
After that I took a lift back to K19, and then birded my way back to the bird sanctuary. On the way I had a host of awesome birds; Barbary Falcon, Black-eared Wheatear, Caspian Stonechat, Woodchat Shrike and an awesome flock of 70+ Dead Sea Sparrows, which were something of a surprise.
Once I had returned to the bird sanctuary I then headed to Holland Park to see what new migrants were in. The first bird I saw was an Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, my fourth lifer of the day. It showed substantially better than the Western I had seen in Spain, so I can now finally feel like I’ve properly seen a Bonelli’s Warbler. I also had three Cyprus Warblers and three Quail, plus a host of Sardinian Warblers, Lesser Whitethroats, Sedge Warbler and Chiffchaffs. You can now feel that the birds are coming, and it’s very exciting.
-Great White Pelican
-Lesser White-fronted Goose
-Sinai Rosefinch & Scrub Warbler
-Dead Sea Sparrow
-Eastern Bonelli's Warbler
K19: Great White Pelican, Shoveler, Teal, Mallard, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Spur-winged Plover, Coot, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, House Sparrow, Egyptian Goose, Garganey, Marsh Harrier, Steppe Buzzard, Ruff, Lesser Whitethroat, Lesser White-fronted Goose, Tawny Pipit, Crested Lark, Chiffchaff, Spanish Sparrow, European Stonechat, Spectacled Bulbul, Laughing Dove, Collard Dove, Isabelline Wheatear, Hoopoe, Bluethroat, House Crow, Brown-necked Raven, Sardinian Warbler, White Wagtail, Trumpeter Finch, Barbary Falcon, Little Green Bee-eater, Arabian Babbler, Scrub Warbler, Graceful Prinia, Pintail, Wigeon, Dead Sea Sparrow, Barn Swallow, Marsh Sandpiper, Woodchat Shrike, Common Whitethroat, Caspian Stonechat, Black-eared Wheatear,
Amran Pillars: Southern Grey Shrike, Hoopoe, Spectacled Bulbul, Sardinian Warbler, Hooded Wheatear, Desert Lark, Sinai Rosefinch, Scrub Warbler, Blackstart, Crested Lark, Brown-necked Raven,
Holland Park: Chiffchaff, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Tristrams Starling, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Arabian Babbler, Common Whitethroat, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Quail, Hoopoe, Black Redstart, Sand Partridge, Crested Lark, Feral Pigeon, Collard Dove, Laughing Dove, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Little Green Bee-eater, Spectacled Bulbul, Graceful Prinia, Palestine Sunbird, Common Kestrel,