Champions of the Flyway!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Israel 2017 - Rüppell's Warblers

It's hard to pick a favourite Sylvia, but Rüppell's have got to be right up there, and they were hard to avoid over the week - especially in Holland Park, where several flowering shrubs attracted plenty (alongside Eastern Orphean, Sardinian, Eastern Subalpine and swarms of Lesser Whitethoats). Class.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Israel 2017 - Spur-winged Lapwings

A ubiquitous (and therefore usually ignored) part of the local avifauna, Spur-winged Lapwings are hard to miss in Israel, but they're an undeniably beautiful bird - especially if, as here, you get to see their eponymous but usually well hidden weapons-of-choice. This bird kindly decided to stretch just as we were passing close by at the saltpans in the warm evening sunshine, and thankfully (just) fitted in the frame while showing off its peculiar and magical little thorns.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Israel 2017 - Whiskered & Gull-billed Terns

From the magical K20 saltpans just north of Eilat, where migrants filter northbound up the valley against the Jordanian hills...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Israel 2017 - Bluethroats

Hopping around like Robins in the sunshine.

... and an accommodating samamisicus for good measure.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Israel 2017 - Greater Sand Plovers, Eilat Beach

They'd been kicking around for several days and yet had somehow eluded us at each attempt - until the last morning, just prior to the COTF photo gathering on Eilat beach. Well worth waiting for.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Israel 2017 - Squaccos & friends

More mini-heron action from the Eilat area, this time involving Squaccos - well represented wherever there was water and/or vegetation, and always beautiful whether grounded or in flight, with that unmistakable explosion of white - as well as a tame Cattle Egret at the saltpans and a scruffy semi-resident Western Reef Egret on the beach. More to follow....

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Israel 2017 - once Bittern, never shy

One of the stand-out celebrities of the whole Champions of the Flyway week, this absurdly tame Little Bittern cared not for self-preservation or serenity, instead living on the edge (and within inches of traffic) on his chosen ornamental roundabout in downtown Eilat.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

#COTF17 - podium finish!

After just checking the standings on the #COTF17 website, I'm very happy to report that we - the Birdwatch/Birdguides Roadrunners - finished the Champions of the Flyway race in a clear third place in the (most important) category - fundraising, for Doğa Derneği (Birdlife in Turkey) to help them combat the mass killing of migratory birds. At over £4,330 (and counting), we smashed our target and then some, thanks to the generosity of our friends, colleagues and complete strangers, all digging deep for a brilliant reason (see here).

To be absolutely honest, I didn't expect to raise so much, and I certainly didn't expect us to come out ahead of teams blessed with more members, corporate sponsors and backing from big optics companies - a testament to the power of social media (apologies for the bombardment!), and most gratifyingly, the sheer number of supporters who contributed (a whopping 168 of you at last count). Sincere thanks to each and every one of you - you're part of a brilliant team effort.

You can still donate of course - the birds don't care if you coughed up three months ago or in a few seconds time - and every penny is massively appreciated: here's the link if so: Donate here!

(Thanks to Dawn for photos, and both Dawn and Mike for being great team-mates)

Israel 2017 - Red-throated Pipits & friends

Only in Israel... you raise your camera to photograph a Tree Pipit, which gets photobombed by one and then several Red-throated Pipits...

... which in turn are then photobombed by a Ortolan Bunting. How rude.

Take at the migrant hotspot and leave-me-to-die-there paradise of Neot Samadar fields & sewage works - truly an oasis in the desert....