Monday, 15 June 2015


I have never been a "twitcher". I have only ever been on one twitch, that was too see the Black -bush robin in Yotvata sewage ponds, and that was so easy as there was so many people. To be honest I'm not much of a birder really. I much prefer to be out ringing. So when Eyal Shochat suggested  after finishing our point surveys near Beit Guvrin, we go look for the Bateuler Eagle a rare African vagrant here in Israel first found by Ezra Hadad a couple of weeks previously, I thought why not we probably won't see anything and I'm in no rush to go home, so with very little anticipation on my part off we went to the vast areas of farmland north of Kiriyat Gat. After around 45 minutes we had clocked up an impressive list of 10 raptor species (Buzzard, Steppe Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, kestrel, Black Kite, Black-winged Kite, Marsh Harrier, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle and Booted Eagle) and had been sent to many different places by people who had seen the bird 10 minutes previously. We finally ended up back where we had started in the place where the bird had first been located. Eyal was fixing up his scope and i began scanning the skies. Straight away i got on this fairly large raptor, I thought immediately this must be it as i could hardly make out a tail and it was flying in a "V" just as Eran Banker had described to me. I told Eyal to check out the bird and he immediately confirmed it. We got some good scope views before once more it flew of into the distance. Well will I become a twitcher, I don't think so and I'm not rushing to the North to see the Lappet-faced Vulture, but I must admit it was fairly exciting to find this bird and if something pops up closer too home I might be tempted to go and have a look.

Bateleur Eagle photo's courtesy of Rony Livne

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