11 Apr 2014

11 April 14 - A Morning At Yotvata

Another early start saw us heading to an early breakfast, so we didn't have to raise back to Eilat mid am for a late breakkie. Then it was back North to Yotvata. The sewerage works were the main location with another attempt to photograph a Little Crake. There were also a number of other species present at the sewerage works, as well as in the nearby kibbutz. We also had a look at the dunes next to one of the circular fields, but making sure that we didn't stray across the border. 
Looks like there was a formal border crossing at one point
The dunes nearby: Apparently the border is just a low fence in the dunes
Garganey: Male. My favourite Western Palearctic dabbling Duck
Osprey: Adult. Just in case you have forgotten what they look like since the photos a few posts ago
Marsh Harrier: Male of the nominate aeruginosus subspecies
Marsh Harrier: Male. Sand dunes aren't the normal habitat!
Little Crake: Female. The grey face of the males extends down to the breast
Spur-winged Plover
Wood Sandpiper
Little Green Bee-eater
Pied Wagtail: The White Wagtail alba subspecies
Yellow Wagtail: The Black-headed subspecies feldegg
Citrine Wagtail: Male. This looks like the werae subspecies which has a greyer mantle (whereas the nominate citreola has an olive or brown tinge to the grey mantle). Also werae has a less extensive black nape (which doesn't extent onto the sides of the breast)
Citrine Wagtail: Male. The werae subspecies is the commoner subspecies in Winter & on migration, but the nominate citreola does occur on migration
Rufous Bushchat
Masked Shrike: Female. Males would have black, rather than grey upperparts & would be deeper orange on the flanks 
Masked Shrike: Female. She finally moved to a natural background
Ortolan: Another photo of the same bird. The streaks on the breast indicates this is a 1st year bird which still retains some of the 1st Winter plumage
The next stop was the Caspian Plover area at the start of the Ovda Road, but very close to the start of the turnoff this time. We had met some Swedish birders the previous evening, who had seen a party of Scrub Warblers in the bushes in this area. A quick look & we located the birds, which remained quite skulky.
Scrub Warbler: This is the inquieta subspecies. Not a great photo, but it shows the prominent streaking on the crown, whitish supercilium, dark line through eye & dark eye. The Moroccan birds we saw earlier in the year had fine streaking on the crown, an indistinct buffy supercilium & weaker eye stripe
Whinchat: They will soon be passing through Dorset again
We returned to Eilat along the Ovda road that goes via the Eilat Mountains. This gave us another chance to have a look for the Hooded Wheatear, but this time we saw it. With the border fence in the background & being right next to the army checkpoint, I decided it would be better to leave the camera in the car: especially as it would have been a poor photo as it wasn't close.
Desert Lark: The birds found in the Southern Israeli deserts & the Sinai are intermediate between the deserti subspecies we saw in the Dead Sea area & the isabellinus subspecies of North & West Eqypt & SW Saudi Arabia
Desert Lark
Crested Lark: This is the brachyura subspecies which occurs in the Southern Deserts of Israel as well as North Libya to coastal Egypt, North Sinai, North Saudi Arabia & South Iraq. Other subspecies occur further North in Israel
Dorcas Gazelle: Mum & youngster. When they saw us they headed off into the desert, which we couldn't consider following as this is all firing ranges
A lot of the desert on both sides of the road was off limits during the week due to the firing range