13 Apr 2014

13 April 14 - Watching Me, Watching You

We spent the rest of the day around the Kfar Ruppin kibbutz. There are extensive fish ponds that you are allowed to drive around & which really needs a car: given the size of the kibbutz & the numbers of fish ponds. Also having a car helps as a mobile hide allowing a closer approach to many of the birds. There are also plenty of fields to check out as well. There is a great bird hide overlooking a reasonable sized pond, with bushes & uncultivated areas behind it. The numbers of birds present on the kibbutz is just incredible and more like numbers on a bird reserve, rather than a farm. There can't be many farms in the UK that have those numbers of birds on their land. It's well worth a couple of days staying here with some much good birding on the doorstep.
This was an old watch tower: But it looks like another design on the theme of bird hides
The kibbutz was still a working farm & well as a significant fish farm
Olives were also an important product
Pygmy Cormorant
Black Stork: Dull billed sub adults flying over one of the fish ponds
White Stork: Both White Storks & Black Storks were commonly found on the kibbutz
Night Heron: Immature & adult of the nominate nycticorax subspecies of the Old World. The remaining 3 subspecies all occur in the New World. There was a roost of around 40 birds in the Palms by the bird hide
Osprey: No surprise seeing Ospreys here with all the fish ponds
Chukar: Late afternoon saw us looking for Black Francolin in the fields alongside the road to the kibbutz. We saw this bird as we were driving back a farm track, but were disappointed on stopping to find it was just a Chukar
Black Francolin: After some further searching we found this male. This is the nominate francolinus subspecies which occurs in Cyprus, Turkey, Asia Minor, Israel to Iran & Iraq. I had forgotten how stunning they are since the last ones I saw in India in 1991
Turtle Dove
Smyrna Kingfisher: This is the nominate smyrnensis subspecies, (also known as White-breasted Kingfisher), which occurs from North Israel to the Arabian Peninsula across to NW India
Pied Kingfisher: The nominate rudis subspecies of Africa through Israel to Turkey
 Pied Kingfisher: Who could ever get bored of this feeding action
Collared Flycatcher: This female was around the flat in the kibbutz, but was always shy & elusive 
Collared Flycatcher: Female. A better view of the wing panel
Great Tit: This is the terraesanctae subspecies which occurs in NW Syria, Lebanon, Israel & Jordon
Jay: This is the atricapillus subspecies which occurs in South Syria, Lebanon, Israel & West Jordon
Dead Sea Sparrow: Male
Ortolan: There were several birds around the pond in front of the bird hide
Egyptian Locust
Egyptian Locust: What a fantastic pair of eyes
Simon photographing the Dead Sea Sparrows
After another great days birding we headed into Beit She'an to find some of the restaurants were open this time. Getting back to the kibbutz, the Scops Owls were calling again, so I had another look for them. Initially, I saw a couple of birds in a similar area to the first night. Then after some more looking, I found a very obliging bird which was calling from a low tree & only 4 metres off the ground. He seemed quite happy for me to take some photos & in the end I left him there still calling away. With such a density of Scops Owls on the kibbutz, then it's a great place to see them.
Scops Owl: They do like calling from the Palm trees
Scops Owl: Initially, I only had chance for a quick couple of shots of this bird, before he flew. But then he came back & settled down to calling from what looks to be a favourite perch
Scops Owl
Scops Owl: The bird of the trip for me as this bird was so showy
Scops Owl: Watching Me, Watching You, the latest product from 'Head & Shoulders'