Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Lance Degnan finds ISABELLINE SHRIKE in Camargue

A male ISABELLINE SHRIKE (form isabellinus) is currently in the Camargue (Southern France) at Amphise (in fields and trees north of the road). Found yesterday by visiting British birder Lance Degnan and still present (and spending a lot of time singing...) today (per Pierre Andre Crochet).

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas Eve 2010 - GREAT BUSTARD on Dutch/German border

This GREAT BUSTARD was discovered near Groesbeek, close to the German border, yesterday afternoon. For full details, photographs and location click on the Dutch Hotline at
The bird was certainly unringed, but was flushed by passing cars and disappeared low southwestwards (contributed by Bas van der Burg)

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Record number of GREATER SPOTTED EAGLES wintering in ISRAEL

I spent the last 3 days surveying wintering raptors for the IOC at the northern Valleys in ISRAEL

This winter Beit Shean and Harod Valleys are harbouring phenomenal numbers of GREATER SPOTTED EAGLES, never to be seen in this area before. A total of 67 eagles were counted in the last three days between Gesher to Tirat Zvi and from Sde Nahum to Geva. This number is a bare minimum after eliminating any risk for duble counting. Gesher holds five eagles, the main area being Maoz Haim - Hamadia with no less than 26 and 11 more to the south, mainly in Tirat Zvi. Beit Shean Valley itself held 37 eagles (without Gesher). The rest (25) were counted at Harod Valley, mainly in Mesilot-Beit alpha and Hefziba fishponds. This is a record number also for Harod Valley.

It was interesting to locate a roost of Eagles in Jordan just across the Jordan river. up to 12 eagles roosted on some Eucalyptus trees not far apart, across the border. These birds spend their day around Maoz Haim fields.

More raptors of interest: 1-2 Steppe Eagles, 1 probable hybrid Lesser x Greater Spotted Eagle, 1 juvenile White tailed Sea Eagle, 28 Ospreys - a record number of wintering birds, Short-toed Snake Eagle, 1 Peregrine, 6 Merlins, 1-2 Pallid Harriers, 5 Hen Harriers, Long legged Buzzard, 6 Common Buzzards and 20 Eurasian Sparrowhawks.

Away from raptors: 4 SOCIABLE PLOVERS at Maoz Haim and 2 Richards Pipits around, only 100 Great Black-headed Gulls (mainly at Mesilot fishponds) and at Kfar Rupin Fishponds at least 1,000 Little Stints and a male Little Bittern at Newe Eitan (Barak Granit)

Monday, 20 December 2010


On 12.12 a STRIPED CRAKE, apparently a female, was found on a village at Sevilla Sierra, Southern Spain. It landed in the town and was released in a nearby creek the following day. There is a photo and the full story in the RareBirds in Spain webpage (homepage and December news section). Also a link to another further photo in Alberto Plata’s blog, with the story in Spanish - a 1st for Spain.

By the way, the Red-footed Booby continues its recovery and today was OK at the recovery centre (Ricard Gutiérrez - )

Sunday, 19 December 2010

1,046 WHITE-HEADED DUCKS wintering on one reservoir in ISRAEL

Lior Kislev and myself had a few minutes this morning to spend, and went to check Kfar Baruch reservoir (north west of Afula). The numbers of wintering wildfowl there was amazing with many hundreds of Shovelers, Pochards, Tufted ducks and WHITE-HEADED DUCKS.

We only had a few minutes to scan the reservoir so decided to accurately assess the WHITE-HEADED DUCK numbers and were staggered to find a total of 1,046 birds present. Unfortunately we didn't have the time to check The Tishlovet reservoirs (3km away) but there may well be many more there. (Shai Agmon)

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

BOOBY still present

The RED-FOOTED BOOBY (Sula sula) is still lingering at L'Estartit harbour in NE Spain. As there are every time more birders from outside Spain arriving to the spot, and it's expected more people is coming during the next days, there is a special page in Reservoir Birds showing links to the route from Girona (nearest airport) or by road from France to help the people to arrive at the location, at the following address


This same address has some fabulous images of the bird taken by Rafael Armada.

This website will publish similar pages, with routes (by air and road), for any future mega found in Spain with the possibility to be twitched, to help foreigners to locate areas for an eventual trip.

José Luis Copete

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


Tapani Liha obtained this cracking image of the Pori vagrant over the weekend but sadly heavy snow overnight has seen the bird move on.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Photos from the recent Gebel Elba trip in EGYPT - BROAD-BILLED ROLLER

Such a shame. A BROAD-BILLED ROLLER found emaciated and long dead (Ahmed Sayed)

Sherif Baha el Din obtained these photographs of BASALT MOURNING WHEATEAR and PERSIAN WHEATEAR at the extreme southern tip of EGYPT.


This immature RED-FOOTED BOOBY was present today for its second day in SPAIN at Port Badia de L'Estartit, 30 kms east of Girona. The superb photos were taken by Sylvia Guix and Elisabeth Nadal.


A male GREY HYPOCOLIUS was found at Cape Greco, Cyprus on Friday evening, 3rd December. It is still present today. It appears to be the most westerly record and first record for (new) Europe as well as for Cyprus. There appear to be influxes in the UAE, Bahrain and one record in Egypt on Friday. Maybe the current drought in western Arabia is causing a shortage of berries and the bird is behaving like a Waxwing, as its scientific name suggests.

Check it out at

Colin Richardson, Bird Recorder, BirdLife Cyprus, P.O. Box 628938069, Paphos, Cyprus

Saturday, 4 December 2010


During a trip to Gabel Elba from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, a total of seven different species of wheatear were recorded. There were tens of Kurdish Wheatears Oenanthe xanthoprymna, one of the commonest birds around Gebel Elba in winter. On Dec. 1, a male Persian Wheatear Oenanthe chrysopygia was seen and photographed, the second record for Egypt (the first also being from Gebel Elba). There were five species of Sylvia warblers, including at least 2 Cyprus Warblers and 3 Menetries’s Warblers. Several Hume’s Tawny Owls were heard. Other Elba specialties recorded included: Arabian Warbler, Shining Sunbird, Rosy-Patched Shrike, Fulvous Babbler and Fan-tailed Raven. On Dec 1st on the coastal plain a Grey Hypocolius was observed - an Egyptian rarity. A Basalt Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens picata was photographed at Shalateen on Dec 2nd, which represents the first record for Egypt and potentially for Africa.

Incredibly, a dead bird photographedon Oct. 30 by Ahmed Badry Sayed (Elba Protected Area Ranger) on the coast at Adal Deeb, was subsequently identified as a BROAD-BILLED ROLLER Eurystomus glaucurus, the first record for Egypt.

Local fishermen confirmed the long-suspected breeding of Crab Plover Dromas ardeola on small sandy islets off Marsa Shaab south of Salateen, describing perfectly the nests and breeding behaviour in a colony found during summer 2010.

Sightings by: Sherif Baha El Din and Ahmed Badry Sayed

Massive wintering flock of DOTTEREL in ISRAEL

Eyal Shochat joined me today to the wintering raptor survey at the NW Negev. We had a great day

*Dotterel* - No less than *490 *birds were counted today. 20 birds were seen near their "usual spot" (south-western corner of Hatzerim air field) but the cherry on the cream was a flock of 470 birds which were feeding on a dry field, located some 5 km south of the power line, east of Urim-Zeelim Road. This is the largest flock ever recorded in Israel. The birds were there at the late morning, but also a good number of them (280) remained there in the pre-roosting time, many of which remained to roost.

Apart from that:White Pelican - 2 flocks in migration today (~200 and 80) at noon and evening.

Common Swift - 13 - moving north! earliest ever?

*Sociable Plover* 2 - 1 near the Dotterels and another one on Ofakim outskirts. We didn't find the 7 birds which were seen recently near thepower line.

Cream-coloured Courser - 3 birds together at Urim east

*Calandra Lark *- at least 500 birds were seen yesterday (and some today) at the Power line (western side)

Richard's Pipit 1 at HIrbet Hasif (west of Hatzerim)

Tawny Pipit - quite a few in the area (about 10)

Spectacled warbler - 1 near Ofakim (at Urim fields)

Isabelline Wheatear - more than usual, all over.

Finsch's Wheatear - 6-7

From the Raptors section:

Short-toed Eagle - 1 yesterday, looks like active south migration.

Imperial Eagle 10

Pallid Harrier 3 (2 males)

Hen Harrier - only 4Saker 1 juv

Lanner - 1 adultPeregrine 12 (good)

Long-legged Buzzard 13

Buzzard - 12

*Merlin* - (5) a female of the *Pallidus* ssp was seen well, west of Hatzerim. The bird is white underneath (appears from a distant as a Black-shouldered Kite or Pallid Harrier male) with narrow and not distinct rusty-reddish streaks, and very pale grey above. The bird is very distinct. It is quite large as well (in relative).The status of this ssp in Israel is unclear.

Barak Granit

November news from DENMARK

Hereby November 2010 Danish Bird News:

A female Desert Wheatear was at Rørvig, Vestjylland on 1st. A drake American Wigeon was at Bygholm Vejle, Nordjylland on 6th-13th. The returning drake North American Black Scoter was again at Blåvands Huk, Vestjylland on 10th with a Danish record three drake Surf Scoters there on 28th. The returning 5th cal GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL was again at Århus Harbour, Østjylland on and off during 14th-28th.

Other November records include nine Great Northern Divers, three White-billed Divers, two adult Black Brants, one Red-breasted Goose, one dubious Ruddy Duck, one drake Red-crested Pochard, one migrating 3rd-cal King Eider, seven Great White Egrets, a very late Sabine's Gull past Gedser, Falster on 20th, two adult Mediterranean Gulls, one 1st winter Iceland Gull, three 1st-winter Yellow-legged Gulls, a very late 1st winter White-winged Black Tern at Vejlerne, Nordjylland on 3rd, nine Grey Phalaropes, two Hoopoes, six Crested Larks at the breeding site at Hirtshals, Nordjylland on 29th, the latest ever Red-throated Pipit past Fornæs, Østjylland on 6th, three Richard's Pipits, the latest ever Barred Warbler on 6th-14th at Vejlerne, Nordjylland eventually caught by a cat, two Yellow-browed Warblers,one Pallas's Leaf Warbler and 24 Coue's Arctic Redpolls.


Wednesday, 1 December 2010


The 4th Tarsiger cyanurus for Spain has been seen and photographed this morning at Clot de Galvany, Elx, Alicante (J.A.Ramos). The other 3 previous records all were from late autumn and even winter, being the 3rd a still non-homologated record of a bird ringed this year in Huelva.

Today’s bird might be twitchable and directions in Spanish as well as four photos are included in Rare Birds in Spain website both in homepage and December news section which includes a twitter apple to follow as soon as known the latest inter-html updates news.

Interestingly, the same area, Alicante, is holding FIVE overwintering Greater Spotted Eagles, at least one with a satellite transmitter and coming (for another consecutive winter) to the area from Estonia. As that is an area holding many tourist visitors in this part of the year it might be of interest for the overall European audience.

Ricard Gutiérrez