Thursday, February 13, 2014

Spring migration is sneaking in

As we enjoy last week of preparations till the beginning of Spring season 2014, we do lots of maintenance-works. In between, there are groups visiting the IBRCE Park and therefore ringing has to be done! (Don’t worry, we handle this tough situation).

Numbers are still pretty low with no more than 30-40 birds when we do open our nets. Variation, on the other hand, is nice for these earl dates. We already get some migrants, right after crossing Sahara desert, right after escaping from some hunters in Egypt among local species such as House Sparrows Passer domesticus דרור בית, White-spectacled Bulbuls Pycnonotus xanthopygos בולבול צהוב שת, Graceful Prinias Prinia gracilis פשוש and males of Sardinian Warblers Sylvia melanocephala  סבכי שחור ראש that are fighting all the way into the nets.

One of the local species
Arabian Bubbler Turdoides squamiceps זנבן ערבי 

Arabian Bubblers Turdoides squamiceps צמד זנבנים 
The first to come from Africa are the Swallows and Swifts (just as described in our last Blog-post). Usually, during migration we are ringing every morning and also few evenings every week. The evenings are devoted for swallow-roost-ringing mainly. But, on 8/2, even before we had the chance to start with our spring program we had a special catch- Pale Rock Martin Ptyonoprogne obsoleta (wing 119mm) סנונית מדבר.  As they fly high up there is no chance to get these unbelievably fast Martins but this one most likely got into the net since Yoav Perlman and I talked about catching this species only two days before.

Pale Rock Martin Ptyonoprogne obsoleta סנונית מדבר
Pale Rock Martin Ptyonoprogne obsoleta סנונית מדבר
Pale Rock Martin Ptyonoprogne obsoleta סנונית מדבר
Pale Rock Martin Ptyonoprogne obsoleta סנונית מדבר

One round later we were pretty sure we have a big rat at the end of the Heligoland trap (there are usually no rats in the desert so it was weirder than you might think). It wasn't a rat, yet not too different from one: female Little Crake Porzana parva ברודית קטנה.

female Little Crake Porzana parva ברודית קטנה

In addition we had two first Sedge Warblers Acrocephalus schoenabaenus קנית פסים, two Reed Warblers Acrocephalus scirpaceus קנית קטנה and usualties.

Sedge Warblers Acrocephalus schoenabaenus קנית פסים Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus קנית קטנה

Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenabaenus קנית פסים     
On the 12th we had one last ringing before opening the season officially (on Sunday, Feb 16th we start ringing daily! Stay tuned!). It was a rather short session but we still had two Common whitethroats Sylvia communis סבכי קוצים.

Sunday it is all starting for real!

I don't know what about you, I'm excited about having one more spring at the IBRCE. Just at the edge of north-east Africa, when millions of birds are crossing, rushing towards breeding grounds making one of the toughest journeys on earth.


Head ringer and guide, IBRCE 

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