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mvecht`s Big Year

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We spent the first two days of our Israeli trip in Jerusalem looking at the historical sights.

Only a few interesting birds around.

#197 Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus). I believe this is a 1 CY male



#198 Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)

This is not a common bird in Israel. I do see them in Denmark from time to time but typically only a fleeting glimpse.

Heavily cropped.



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Today I took a lunchwalk at Egaa Engsoe. The White-tailed eagles put on a display with several unsuccesful hunts, but too far away for pictures. #137 Icterine wrbler (Hippolais icterina)

The last pictures from the trip are from Dana Point Harbor, CA #175 Heermann`s Gull (Larus Heermanni)   #176 Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)   A few Sea lion`

#220 Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis cyanophrys)  

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Since the Hoopoe is the National bird of Israel it has to be part of the story.

Already seen in Denmark back in January.


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great shot of the hoopoe!


we had watched a one part of a documentary on wild Israel and they featured the migrating birds - stupendous! So I hope you had a fabulous birding day. 

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@Kitsafari  Had a fantastic day. I am now in Eilat and will be doing some birding this afternoon. Israel is heaven for a European birder/safarigoer as it is a great mix of European and African birds. I will be posting quite a few birds next week, but dont worry :D I will not even get close to your count.

Also I found that a lot of the "hides" in Israel are not the best for photography. Lots of long distance shooting.

However I am having fun. As of this morning 12 lifers and I am hoping for a few this afternoon.

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Love the Hoopoe!

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Unfortunately the holiday is over and I am on the way back home.

I have gotten to like Israel a lot. Great cultural sites, fantastic weather and lots of birds.

It is estimated that 500 million birds migrate through Israel every year.



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Monday the 11th My wife did a full day trip with guide Carmel Zitronenblatt.

I had used Carmel back in April as well.

First stop was Agamon Hula. This is an area with a shallow lake that attracts many birds including raptors.

Unfortunately it does not open until 9 am on weekdays so we had to spend the first 15 minutes in the parking lot,

This resulted in 2 Black-winged Kites, A few Black kites, both lesser and Greater spotted eagles, Cranes, Pelicans and a Hoopoe, so the waiting was not too badB)

This time of year the highlight is the many cranes that winter here. This is a fairly recent phenomenon. The migration Cranes were distroying the local crops so a feeding program was started. Now the feed the cranes with more than 8 tons of grain in peak season. This however also means that a lot of the Cranes stay over winter rather than continuing to Africa. We did however see migration Cranes further south.

Since childhood I have loved the sound the Cranes make so this was a great experience. For the entire 3 hours we were on site you could hear Cranes every second.

According to the people who manage the feeding the Crane count was app 56,000. I can not say we saw them all but we certainly saw a lot.

They dont add to the count as they were already seen in January in Denmark, where a few birds brave the winter.





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Stonechats were quite common.

#199 European stonechat (saxicola rubicola)


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For my number 200 I am getting away from the chronological order-

13 November Ein Bokek Israel (Dead Sea)

#200 Palestine sunbird aka as Orange-tufted sunbird (Cinnyris osea)

Juvenile male










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Well done on reaching 200. The cranes are amazing 

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Dave Williams

I have only seen Cranes in small numbers and the sound they make is something special.

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pedro maia

Beautiful bird you chose for your 200th and congrats on that, I´ll be looking forward for the others and to see if you catch and overtake me B).

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Congratulations on the double century.

Nice Sunbird. I love Cranes too.

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@TonyQ @pedro maia @Dave Williams @Galana


thank you for the kind words. Cranes have always been one of my favorite birds.

@Pedro dont worry. The trip was productive, but not enough to catch up with you.

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Peter Connan

Congratulations @mvecht!


Great sightings in Israel!

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Well done with #200, how cool to see a Sunbird outside Africa!

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Israel looks like a great birding destination. Congratulations for #200!

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Congratulations on reaching #200 with the beautiful sunbird. Israel certainly sounds like a good birding destination. Especially the parking lots, it seems ;)!

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@michael-ibk @PeterHG @Tdgraves @xelas @Peter Connan


Thank you for the kind words.

@Michael    Israel is the northern limit for Sunbirds although a few have bred in Lebanon. It is the national bird of Palestine.

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11 November Agamon Hula Israel


#201 Common Kingfisher  (Alcedo Atthis)

Seen regularly in Denmark whilst fishing.

At Agamon we saw five in a few hours.




#202 Citrine wagtail (Motacilla citreola)

Very rare in Denmark. A lifer for me.

Only seen for a few seconds, so I have to go with an EBC




#203 European spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)

Still uncommon in Denmark but is getting more and more common.




Edited by mvecht
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Congrats on the 200th with a beautiful sunbird. I love cranes too - they are elegant and graceful. What an experience you mush have had - surrounded by thousands of them.

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There were a few Snipes around (already counted in April but a really bad EBC at the time)


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We saw 10 Greater spotted eagles and one lesser. Both of them lifers for me.

They were all quite far away.


# 204 Greater spotted eagle  (Clanga clanga)






and a few Booted eagles

#205 Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus  pennatus)








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In the afternoon we went to Bet Shean which is an area south of Lake Gallilei with lots of farms and fishponds.

Some of these farms are hostile to birders and others encourage birding. Good to have a guide that knows the area:D

The star of the show were the Black kites (added in April)

I have no idea how many we saw during the 2,5 hours but my guess is 5000+. I counted 800+ in one field.

In general they were quite skittish. The second the car stopped they would take off.






The houses in the background are in Jordan.


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