Today we decided to break the routine of ringing at the station and went out to set up some nets around an old dead tree by the canal. The reason we choose this location is the melon fields nearby, many seed eaters are feeding there now, 150+Desert Finches (which were our main target), few hundred Spanish Sparrows, some Greenfinches, Indian Silverbills and more.
Yishay and Shaby who came yesterday to twich the Rf Bluetail came along and joined me this morning, and helped a lot with setting up the higher then usual nets we had to use for catching Desert Finches. Thank you guys!
Everything went as planned and we had a good catch of Desert Finchs, and also some other treats like this SiberianStonechat. Update: sorry for the embarrassing mistake here, it is a perfecet male saxicola maurus variegatus.
Totals for today: 57 birds with no retraps.
Desert Finch – 33
Spanish Sparrow – 8
House Sparrow – 3
White Wagtail – 2
Chiffchaff – 5
Sardinian Warbler – 2
And singles: Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Eastern Stonechat and a Collared Dove.
Ageing Desert Finches is not easy, and literature is not very much available about them.
Many individuals we believe to juveniles performed arrested moult, with a large degree of variation, some moulting just one or two of the remiges, and others leaving just one or two unmoulted remiges. very limited moult (female):
More extensive moult (two different males):
the color of the bill is also variable with juv. male just starting to get black(compare to the adult male above):
and just to show off: the first Dead sea Sparrow for this winter, ringed yesterday at the station.
After we packed up we had some spare time so we went to Eilot palm plantations to have a look at the Olive-backed Pipits there, we had great Views on two of them (Barak Granit reported 3, last week). They usually arrive in November and would probably/hopefully stay there until February, it’s very interesting if these are the same birds wintering here every year or not (or maybe there are more then 3?), but I guess I can try answering this question,