Sunday, February 26, 2012

Spots and speckles

Spots and speckles

With migration almost in full swing and increasing ringingpower the last days were truly enjoyable days, first on Friday we merely had our first 3 digits morning ringing, the day’s tally (together with a small afternoon session) was 99 new birds and 26 recaptures with ‘firsts’ asIsabelline Wheatear and eastern Orphean Warbler.
The core of the catch was made by 42/4 Chiffchaffs and 14 House Martins.
Apart from birds our first volunteers arrived on Friday tired after making all the way to Eilat fromFair Isle! But after a decent sleep they were all ready to go.

 We also recaptured the Pale scops Owl so there’s another opportunity to show him off
 On Saturday we decided to make last attempt in uvda area, weather was bad very windy with even a short drizzle while we were setting up the nets, unsurprisingly we started badly not catching anything before 08:30, but we had a final total of 16 birds! Including 9 Trumpeter Finches, 3 Temminck’s Larks and a White-crowned Wheatear which made us very happy experiencing desert birds not usually found in the hula valley not to mention Fair Isle

 Birding around was also great with over 200 Temminck’s Larks 40-50 Bar tailed Larksdozens of Trumpeter Finches and 4 Mourning Wheatears but we couldn’t find any Thick bills.

And today we opened the day with a long tailed surprise: a Great spotted Cuckoo, cool bird we don’t catch that often even they are pretty common. Soon birds kept us quite occupied with a nice flock of 18 House Martins together with more Chiffchaffs and Lesser and Common Whitethroats weather was just great, sunny with almost no wind. The sequence of passerine was cut by yet another nice catch: a Spotted Crake! What was surprising about this one was it was trapped in a Heligoland trap! With no water and only trees… birds get dizzy in the desert.
 The cuckoo was a 2nd year birds showing this nice moult in the wing:

Any comments about age/sex are welcomed; we have little experience with this bird in spring time.

I came back for another afternoon swallows attempt, their numbers grow by the day and they are finally starting to roost in the reeds by the nets, today when I arrived to take out the 4 House Martins and 16 Barn Swallows from the nets a Short eared owl swooped over the reeds and went down to the net hovering just a meter away from it! To make sure he won’t be extracting birds instead of me I tried to flush him into the net but without success, first time I have a close encounter with this owl.
 Totals for today mourning and evening combined (new/retrap): 119/28 (147)
Chiffchaff 38/3
Lesser Whitethroat 6/0
Spanish Sparrow 6/1
House Martin 23/2
Orphean Warbler 2/0
House Sparrow 4/0
Barn Swallow 17/0
Blackcap 0/1
Dead sea sparrow 1/6
Whitethroat 10/1
Sardinian Warbler 3/3
Yellow vented Bulbul 1/4
Bluethroat 1/1
Savi’s Warbler 2/1
Collared Dove 1/0
Reed Warbler 1/1
Graceful Prinia 0/1
Spotted Crake 1/0
Sedge Warbler 1/2

Great spotted cuckoo 1/0

 Raptors passage today was slow and also very high, there is some crazy weather ahead (southern winds tomorrow and a storm in the north of Israel on Wednesday) so something should change around


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