Eilat, Israel. First Impressions.

Lost for words.

Just back from nearly 9 days in and around Eilat, Israel. In what was declared one of the best springs for many years. I hoped to see a few a few key things. Even on an optimistic day the birds and the Israeli birders surpassed all expectations (more to come on both). Here’s a little taste. All 3 species/bird taxa below were seen on everyday in good numbers. In fact all 3 were seen in the areas in front of the hotel we stayed at.

adult male Ehrenberg’s Redstart ‘samamisicus’. Israel, March 2012. Saw loads, all plumage types and recorded a bunch of calls.. One of the first birds seen was a 2nd cal year male giving the more distinctive of their calls.

Steppe Buzzard, Eilat mountains, Israel, March 2012. Saw in the 10’s of 1000’s of these in all plumage types.

Mystery Bird:

This individual lived outside the hotel all week. It was a suitable introduction for Neil Glenn and myself to the ID challenges of this group of chats. It’s a female. But which species?

it’s a female wotsits…

About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
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12 Responses to Eilat, Israel. First Impressions.

  1. I don’t have any books in front of me here and the kids are wild but I’ll get the ball rolling and say it must be some sort of Wheatear?

  2. Paul French says:

    Off the cuff ID of female Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, as i think Pieds should be greyer above than this. But not absolutely sure of spring birds to be honest.

    • I browsed around a little after I commented and thought Eastern Black-eared Wheatear as well.

      • Mick Cunningham says:

        I would’ve hypothesised eastern female black too and then tried to grill it, they always trip me up there . Years ago we were puzzled by just such a bird, Hadoram rolled up and said “eastern fem black. you won’t find it depicted in the books”. (from memory exact throat pattern, back pattern, exact colour and extent of wash on unders all crucial – could be completely wrong. I vaguely recall him speaking about long-looking bill too) mind you, this was before his middle east mcmillan. It’s changed. Last time I was there I couldn’t find the sandgrouse pond amongst all the new flats! still good birds tho’.Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Paul Baxter says:

    I’ll go with Frenchy here and plump for Black-eared also….

  4. thedrunkbirder says:

    Eastern Black-eared for me too though I bet it turns out to be Pied.

    That Redsart is a stunner and no mistake!

  5. Jonathan Meyrav says:

    Another “local” vote for black eared female type, tones are just too worn for Pied beside some more clinal features. It was great meeting you MG looking forward to your posts.

  6. Alan Matthews says:

    Female Pied, warm tones resulting from strong sunlight?

  7. Mick Cunningham says:

    of couse, I meant female black-eared. Not Black – doh!

  8. Sacha Barbato says:

    I will go with fem Pied. Have not even opened any field guide, so probably wrong, just looks very dark!

  9. Hi Martin

    Sounds like you had a brilliant first visit! Your wheatear looks much like what I’ve grown to expect a female Eastern Black-eared should look like. However, I’ve been troubled by quite a few of these including one on my most recent trip. I’d be impressed (though not surprised) if you came up with something other than Eastern Black-eared for this one.

    Best Wishes,


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