Flight of the Bee-eaters

21 Apr

European Bee-eater

European Bee-eater

I stepped outside late this afternoon to place our garden waste on the sidewalk for pickup when I heard some distinctive bird calls. I looked up to see some unfamiliar bird silhouettes circling overhead. I went back home and grabbed the binoculars. Wow. I saw a bright yellow neck, turquoise underparts, long thin beak, chestnut head and back and a tail with a single long point in the center. A new bird for my list of birds in Israel! They are European Bee-eaters. According to my bird guide, they are in passage possibly from India (where they winter) to North Africa or Southern Europe (where they breed).

I put the telephoto lens on my camera and tried to get some photos of them without much luck. It was dusk and they were perched fairly high up a tree. My digital SLR refused to focus on the birds in the tree, but zeroed in on the branches instead. Even with the manual focus setting it was a problem. I finally managed a half-way decent shot by focusing first on a branch further out and then moving the lens onto the bird.

I feel pretty fortunate to have caught a glimpse of these colorful birds.


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