Donna Nook 19/09/2010

An afternoon visit in moderate SW's with persistent rain was never going to be ideal for migration. A Curlew Sandpiper & Little Stint were with a small group of Ringed Plover & Dunlin. 2 Greenshank were at the Pyes end. A juvenile Marsh Harrier hunted the saltmarsh.
Dropped in at Cleethorpes on the way back after a report of a Spoonbill but there was no sign. 18 Little Egrets were logged heading off to roost.

Sandilands & Sea View

Managed a 2 hour seawatch today in blustery NNW's (admittedly not at the best time of the day - 11.50 to 13.50).
Highlight was undoubtedly the party of 5 Long-tailed Skuas that drifted reasonably high south over the sea. Best of the rest were 4 Arctic Skua, 2 summer plumaged Red-throated Diver, a Purple Sandpiper N (my 2nd in 3 days) & 68 Common Scoter, A good selection of waders heading north though - Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Curlew, Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Dunlin & Sanderling all went through.
After the seawatch I dropped in at Sea View where the best bird was a Pied Flycatcher, with 3 Lesser Whitethroats & 6 Willow Warblers also seen.

Donna Nook 28/08/10

With Wrynecks, Barred & Wood Warblers across the water in the Spurn area & an Icterine reported at Sea View, I thought I'd better check the local patch. In blustery conditions all I could manage were a few Willow Warblers, Lesser Whitethroats & a Reed Warbler. 3 Marsh Harriers together over Pyes was a nice sight and a fourth bird was seen on the southern section of the reserve. Other birds seen included Merlin, Whimbrel, 5 Green Sandpiper & 3 Greenshank. I then checked the tide edge & though I failed to see any skuas or shearwaters, I was surprised to find a Purple Sandpiper there. I've only ever seen one previous bird on the patch and that was along the same stretch of beach almost exactly a year ago (30/8/09). Purple Sandpipers are quite a scarce sight in Lincolnshire as we just don't have the right habitat for them and Donna Nook reflects this with sand & mud flats & no rocky habitat whatsoever. Purple Sandpiper is one of my favourite waders, probably because they are usually quite approachable - this particular individual was no exception....

Israel 27th April - 5th May 2010 (Part 2)

Little Green Bee-eater

Honeys (click to enlarge).
Three of the typical variations of Honey Buzzard can be seen here.

This male Honey Buzzard was found dead by the side of the road

Looking for Temminck's Lark in the baking heat

Wood Sandpiper

Checking the saltpans at Eilat Birdwatching Centre

Scanning the skies

Little Stint

Cruising the Israeli highways

The back of a Thick-billed Lark!

Spur-winged Plover

& Spur-winged Plover chick

Collared Pratincole

Spanish Sparrow

The scenery was impressive

Sand Partridge

Quail - the first time I'd actually seen one, after hearing plenty over the years.

Mourning Wheatear

Up into the mountains we go

North Beach, Eilat

Levant Sparrowhawk

At times I got the feeling we were birding quite close to the Jordan border

Greater Flamingo

Broad-billed Sandpiper - After 15 years of birding I finally caught up with one!

One of the oldies can't keep up with the pace

Alan comes back from nod land

Israel 27th April - 5th May 2010 (Part 1)

Slender-billed Gull

North Beach, Eilat at sunset

Masked Shrike (female)

Honey Buzzard

Some of the little critters really did blend in well with their surroundings

With such big areas to cover, locating target birds wasn't exactly easy! (note Howard in the distance)

Red-backed Shrike (female)

Rufous Bush Chat

Nubian Ibex

Smart building on a Kibbutz

Namaqua Doves

Kentish Plover

House Crows

You could see three countries from this viewpoint. Egypt is on the far right, the mountain in the foreground on the left is in Israel & the distant mountains also on the left being part of Jordan.

The border with Egypt

Alan clearly wasn't afraid of heights (click to enlarge)

Howard scanning for raptors

Yellow-vented Bulbul

In the middle of the desert we found the above - Temminck's Lark. We then had great views of a pair feeding young at the nest.

We also came across this material in the middle of the desert. Unfortunately the rest of the material is too pornographic to publish here (if you want to borrow it just give me a shout)

Bee-eaters were quite a common sight (click to enlarge)

Seawatching at North Beach, Eilat

We weren't sure what this sign said but we got the impression we shouldn't enter (note one of the team in the distance)

Black-winged Stilt

Curlew Sandpipers

(Desert) Little Owl

Two of the group sneaked off for a quick beer

After sampling one or two bottles, I can highly recommend Israeli beer (note the ornithological theme on the label)

Random little critter

White-winged Black Tern

The Grimsby (& Healing) boys on tour