Champions of the Flyway!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Israel, March '18 - A Quail In The Desert

They think it's all over..... well, not until I've racked up a succession of posts documenting our frankly wonderful nine days spent lapping up the birds and people that made up Champions of the Flyway 2018. I wanted to start with this little beauty, which we found way out in the searing heat and sparsely vegetated semi-desert expanse of Seifim Plains, a harshly beautiful and peaceful place to the west of Eilat.

Of all the species reflecting this year's COTF awareness and fundraising efforts, the Quail (to precede with 'Common' seems far from appropriate) is an unparalleled exemplar. Hunted, trapped and massacred in their tens of thousands every spring on their epic and arduous return journeys to Europe, their plight effectively symbolises the plight of all our long-distance migrants battling home through the killing fields of the Mediterranean; we take their supposed abundance and ubiquity for granted at our peril.

To watch this intrepid, pocket-sized migrant pit-stopping out there in the middle of nowhere, alongside Desert Larks, Chukars and Hooded Wheatears, was both a privilege and a potent reminder of why we were there at all.