Thursday, January 12, 2012

Larks Incorporated

Larks Incorporated

Today Itai and I made another attempt at wadi Hayon to catch and learn more about the larks and other birds there.
After sleeping out in the ‘rather cold’ (3-4 degrees Celsius) area I just barely woke up into the freezing mourning and so made my way to open the nets, this time the birds woke up early and had a nice catch already on the second round: 6 Bar-tailed Larks! Together with one Desert Lark and 6 Trumpeter Finches.
These birds seem to be coldproof to a truly remarkable extent being active so early!
We had close look at every one of them, and Itai noted some differences in the alula and wing colors, we photographed all 6 of them, so this can be considered a start point.

We had some prograss with the Trumpeter Finches, four (out of 8) birds today had retained juv. feathers (and so were aged 2nd year, euring 5), one female had 3 primaries and 2 secondaries, the two others had one retained primary each; one of them also had old feathers in the tail, actually it had only 3 new feathers and one bird had only few old primary coverts.
Really Interesting stuff!
 Old retained primaries & secondaries:
 Odd tail moult. (?)
The rest of the Mourning was spent trying to push the larks around to the nets with little success, we did however caught a cracking male Temminck’s Lark, who really got the better of us today; over 100 were all around. Also present were 10 Thick-bill Larks and a flock of Spanish Sparrows.

 a freaky one (I just cant get enough of them):

During all the wandering around, Itai got this picture of the Temminck’s Larks showing their ability to blend in with the ground: one moment you might see fifty flying just twenty meters away and as they land it seems as at least half are gone, In this photo there are at least 17 maybe 19 that can be found...

Tomorrow we will conduct the annual waterfowl counting held by the NPA (teams will count almost all water bodies over the country). We will be doing Eilat and arava area and the plan is to Itai and Shai to head north to Lotan and start going back south while Dr. Benny Shalmon (NPA biologist) and I will start from the beach and push north, hopefully doing km 20 salt ponds together so probably more updates tomorrow

Have a cold winter!
Yotam and Itai

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