Saturday, December 31, 2011

Devil Birds of the Plains (?)

Devil Birds of the Plains (?)Birds with ‘horns’ may look somewhat odd, and those we had today have a most demonic resemblance!

Today Ron Yael and I finally went ringing in Wadi Hayon (uvda area), after the recent postponement, things changed for the better and many birds came back to the area, so today we ventured into the unfamiliar vicinity of lark ringing!
We drove from Eilat at 04:00 (*mistake no. 1, way too early for larks) and arrived at uvda an hour later and started setting up the nets, based on our observation on Friday. When we finished erecting 90 meters of mist net, it was still absolutory dark, nevermind.
We waited, but the birds seem to sleep it out late during the cold mourning, the first birds to arrive were a flock of 15 Sand Partridges, we soon flushed them into the nets, which we set in V formation at the narrowest chokepoint of the wadi and we caught two beautiful males (new ringing species for us).
The two individuals were somewhat different; one with more plain cinnamon-Rufus back (Right – Ad?) and the other had some feathers with light brown barring mixed among the cinnamon-Rufus ones (Left – 1st year?).
 Photo by Yael
It was still pretty cold when the first Trumpeter Finches came down to feed together with some Desert Larks, but our main intention was for more serious stuff.
The Trumpeters aren’t really at their best of colors now, yet it is possible sexing some, by size and amount of pink, this male is 93mm wing and with very pink underparts.
 This female is 86 mm without any pink hue at all on underparts, ageing is more difficult though: Svensson says some 1st year in Morocco (Whoa…) may undergo partial summer moult, the 4 we had today made complete postbr moult and thereby aged 2 (f.g.)

The real action started only at 9, when the first large flock of larks flew into the narrow wadi, about 100 Temminck’s Larks, 20-30 Bar Tails, and 10 Thick Bills (with more T Finches and D Larks) and during one very happy hour all these birds (except the Thick Bills) were flying about the nets and with some encouragement we caught 11 Temminck’s Larks!!! And 2 Bar-tailed Larks!
The few Thick Bills eluded us this time, but hopefully when more will be around we will also catch these magnificent desert dwellers.

We measured the birds extensively and examined each bird, Temminck’s Larks and Bar-tailed Larks are rarely ringed in Israel and we have very limited Data about them.
Bar-tailed Lark (right) & Desert Lark (Left).

After all this action it got very calm, we scraped 3 more Desert Larks and packed up atmidday, very tired, but satisfied.
On the way back just before Mt. Ayt (after Shizafon junction) we saw an adult Eastern Imperial Eagle eating a pigeon just 30 meters off the road! Surely by the time the camera was out and ready the eagle flew on…

In the evening we went to k19 for some Coot ringing, we snatched (no better word to describe) 8 Coots all dirty and wet from the swage water, but it was great fun.

For our readers from other plants: here on earth a new year is coming, 2012, so I would like to say that personally; I had great year (well, half…) with great company and superb birds down here at Eilat, I hope the last difficulties at the IRBCE will be solved during the next year while we keep birding and ringing anything with feathers in the arava!

Happy new year to all

No comments:

Post a Comment