Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Israel 2019, day thirteen - Ashdod Dunes

Masked Shrike - one of many in the dunes
 
Day twelve was our first legitimate rest day of the trip, which we spent relaxing and hanging out with the Perlmans; but Yoav and I were back in the ring and up well before dawn the following morning, and soon on our way north-west to Ashdod beach and dunes.

Mountain Gazelle
 
I tagged along with Yoav and IPNA Ranger Sivan for a few hours monitoring this potential nature reserve on the Mediterranean coast, sandwiched between Ashdod's industrial wastelands and Tel Aviv's southern suburbs - despite the huge volumes of litter on the beach (apparently mostly from Egypt, Gaza and further west), it was full of birds and indeed potential, especially the scrubby dune system.

Super-chilled, big-eared Red Fox
 
Warblers, hirundines and other insectivores abounded, and after reducing a little over recent days, Painted Lady migration went through the roof again, with countless waves moving north (and a minute's count back in Yoav's garden totalling 302....). Other highlights included an entertaining paryy of European Bee-eaters, Mountain Gazelles, and a Red Fox - which occupied the only sofa cushion on the beach as if it were placed there specifically for it....




European Bee-eater
 

Hoopoes