11 Apr 2014

11 April 14 - A Pricky End To The Day

The late afternoon saw us back at the km20 water tanks North of Eilat. Simon & I had another look at the bushy pools heading towards km19, while Edge & Nigel checked out the main saline water tanks. I voted to stay in the area till dusk & have another look for the Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse at the km19 freshwater tank, while the others decided to check out a Gull roost closer to town. In the end their Gull roost proved quiet & while I ended up seeing a similar set of species to the previous visits, I did get much better views of the Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse.
Black Stork: One of three birds which appeared to have just arrived
Little Egret: This is the nominate garzetta subspecies which is widespread in Eurasia, East & Southern Africa
Squacco Heron
Egyptian Goose
Whiskered Tern: This is the nominate hybrida subspecies
Namaqua Dove: This is the capensis subspecies which occurs throughout Africa, but it is at the edge of its range in Israel 
Yellow Wagtail: The pale ash-grey head, strong white supercilium & long pale patch under the eye indicates this is the beema subspecies, which is a very common migrant through Israel ending up in Russia from the Lower Volga East to Lake Baikal, the Kirghiz steppes, SW Siberia, N Kazakhstan & the Altai area 
Graceful Prinia
Spanish Sparrow
The others collected me at dusk & we drove back into Eilat along the small road towards the Eilat ringing area. This route proved to be a good choice as not only was it quick as it was much shorter, but I spotted a Desert Hedgehog crossing the track. A quick stop allowed Nigel to jump out & grab it in his hat (which now has an aroma of  Desert Hodgehog wee). It was a frustrating animal to photograph being either rolled up or running surprisingly rapidly.
Desert Hedgehog: This species was something we hoped to see in the Western Sahara, but weren't lucky enough 
Desert Hedgehog: It could move really fast when it wanted to