Friday, March 07, 2014

Surprise Storm (like a party but with loads of dust and floods!)

1st March- Raptors
The breezy conditions continue to keep ringing numbers down but there was some good overhead passage through the day with a variety of raptors cruising over including 90 Steppe Eagles Aquilla nipalensisעיט ערבות , 2 Greater Spotted Eagles Aquila clangaעיט צפרדעים , single Imperial Aquilla heliaca עיט שמש  and Bonelli's Eagles Aquilla fasciataעיט ניצי , two Long-legged Buzzards Buteo rufinus עקב עיטי and three White Storks Ciconia ciconia חסידה לבנה as an added extra. There was also a good selection of other birds seen round the station through the day with a new Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola נחליאלי לימוני on the pond where the Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides אנפית סוף and two Water Rails Rallus aquaticus רלית linger on, the Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis חוחית was seen again and a notable increase to 22 Grey Herons Ardea cinerea אנפה אפורה were noted around the salt ponds.

Surprised gulls* Larus surprisus* שחפים מופתעים* in the rain
By Ruth Schueler צולם ע"י רותי שולר

2nd March- Crazy surprising storm
A dramatic unexpected change in the weather with the wind dropping off to practically nothing and switching to the South while clouding over completely by the afternoon and producing regular rain showers (apparently rain in Eilat is much rarer than any bird seen since I've got here!).   These changes also halted any migration action for the day with the nets very quiet through the morning and a lack of any raptors noted; a flock of 36 Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo קורמורן גדול did head north and a Quail Coturnix coturnix שליו was near the station. The most entertaining sight through the morning was a group of 9 Ring-necked Parakeets Psittacula krameri דררה which flew up from their fruiting tree to surround and continually harass a poor, innocent Spur-winged Plover Vanellus spinosus סיקסק that was simply flying over for at least five minutes before heading back to the same tree with the contented air of a job well done!

Juvenile Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus פלמינגו מצוי צעיר in the rain
At IBRCE Park בפארק הציפורים
By Ruth Schueler צולם ע"י רותי שולר

            A little drive round in the late afternoon produced an Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus שלצדף on Northern Beach – a pretty scarce bird this far south (the excited squeal from Yael as the northern Europeans barely registered it illustrated the point nicely!), a flock of 39 Baltic Gulls Larus fuscus fuscus שחף שחור-בלטי which flew north, several flocks of Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus שחף אגמים which came in off the sea and headed inland and a slight increase in wader numbers at K20 ponds including a few Dunlin Calidris alpina חופית אלפינית and Kentish Plovers Charadrius alexandrinus חופמי אלכסנדרי with larger groups of Little Stints Calidris minuta חופית קטנה.

3rd March- Crazy surprising storm no. 2
After a wet night with thunder and lightning we awoke to a very 'British' spring day; breezy, dull, overcast with thick fog (although to be fair the fog in this case was actually large amounts of dust in the air totally obscuring the mountains on both sides of the valley!). We were not that confident that there would be much in the way of migration but there was a steady trickle of new birds through the nets including the first Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia crassirostris סבכי חורש of the spring, three Olivaceous Warblers Iduna pallida שיחנית קטנה and a few Reed Warblers Acrocephalus scirpaceusקנית קטנה , Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia currucaסבכי טוחנים , Sedge Warblers Sylvia schoenobaenus קנית פסים and a Savi's Warbler Locustella luscinoides חרגולן זמירי
first Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia crassirostris סבכי חורש

Despite the poor visibility there were also a few birds overhead with 13 Black-headed Wagtails Motacilla feldeggנחליאלי צהוב , two Ortolans Emberiza hortulanגבתון גנים , two Red-throated Pipits Anthus cervinusפיפיון אדום גרון  and at least 20 Baltic Gulls Larus fuscus fuscus שחף שחור-בלטי passing north while three fine male Cretzschmar's Buntings Emberiza caesia גבתון אדום מקור and an equally fine male Ruppell's Warbler Sylvia rueppelli סבכי שחור גרון turned up near the station.
male Ruppell's Warbler Sylvia rueppelli סבכי שחור גרון

male Ruppell's Warbler Sylvia rueppelli סבכי שחור גרון

 There were also some new birds on the salt ponds with a pair of Garganey Anas querquedula קרקיר and 90 Slender-billed Gulls Chroicocephalus genei שחף צר מקור of note while new waders included a Sanderling Calidris albaחופית לבנה , a Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius חופמי גדות and a few extra Little Stints Calidris minutaחופית קטנה .  

A drive round in the afternoon saw more ducks on K19 with a drake Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyrocaצולל ביצות , 4 more Garganey Anas querquedula קרקיר and a pair of Gadwall Anas streperaברווז אפור  in with the hundreds of Shoveler Anas clypeataמרית , Pintail Anas acuta ברווז חד זנב and Teal Anas crecca שרשיר מצוי while the Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus שלצדף was still at Northern Beach just before the heavens opened again for another downpour and more thunder and lightning! Unbelievable.

4th March- flooded Evrona
first Eastern Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus orientalis עלווית לבנת בטן
By Simon Davies צולם ע"י סיימון דייויס
We survived another crazy night with torrential rain and flash floods to find a scattering of migrants in the nets through the morning including the first Eastern Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus orientalis עלווית לבנת בטן of the spring and another two Eastern Orphean Warblers Sylvia crassirostris סבכי חורש with small numbers of Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia currucaסבכי טוחנים , Whitethroat Sylvia communisסבכי קוצים , Reed Acrocephalus scirpaceus קנית קטנה and Sedge Warblers Acrocephalus schenobaenus קנית פסים and Savi's Warblers Locustella luscinoides חרגולן זמירי .   There were fewer migrants noted around the station although a Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris פיפיון צהוב was new near the western nets.

Evrona slat-flat flooded area מלחת עברונה מוצפת

We had more luck finding migrants in the afternoon with a walk in Holland Park producing at least 7 Ruppell's Warblers Sylvia rueppelli סבכי שחור גרון (with the males giving little bursts of song and chasing each other around), three Eastern Bonelli's Warblers Phylloscopus orientalisעלווית לבנת בטן , a female Cyprus Warbler Sylvia melanothorax סבכי קפריסאי and a fine male Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica סלעית קיץ in amongst the common species.   The desert near Arvona then produced another male Ruppell's Warbler Sylvia ruepellii סבכי שחור גרון, a male Cyprus Warbler Sylvia melanothoraxסבכי קפריסאי , a Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator חנקן אדום ראש, a lingering Asian Desert Warbler Sylvia nana סבכי מדבר and a good herd of 23 Dorcas Gazelles Gazella dorcas צבי נגב ;

footprints of Dorcas Gazelles Gazella dorcas at flooded Evrona 
עקבות צבאי נגב במלחת עברונה השטופה

we just had time then before dark to see if anything came in to roost on the salt ponds and were rewarded with two Gull-billed Terns Sterna niloticaשחפית עבת מקור , 7 Caspian Terns Sterna caspiaשחפית כספית , 114 Armenian Gulls Larus armenicus שחף ארמני and two Heuglin's Gulls Larus fuscus heglini שחף סיבירי .

Simon Davies,
Volunteer-ringer, IBRCE

Not only feathers
Egyptian Mastigure Uromastyx aegyptia חרדון צב מצוי are pretty common next and in IBRCE Park. On the western side of the IBRCE Park there is also a little special Park for these little fellows. Simon Davies encountered a juvenile Mastigure probably soon after hatching! Isn't it something?

Egyptian Mastigure Uromastyx aegyptia חרדון צב מצוי
by Simon Davies צולם ע"י סיימון דייוויס

Egyptian Mastigure Uromastyx aegyptia חרדון צב מצוי
by Simon Davies צולם ע"י סיימון דייוויס

The migration of the Dragonflies- Emperors Anax קיסריות mainly, is lingering as well. One of our local photographers, Ruth Schueler, took a wonderful picture of one too cold, early in the morning. 

Emperor Anax קיסרית
By Ruth Schueler צולם ע"י רותי שולר

A little more of the local atmosphere

Floods next to IBRCE Park. Amazing view.

Yael Lehnardt
Head Ringer & Guide, IBRCE

* There are no such gulls the Gulls in the picture are Black headed Gulls.. אין כאלו שחפים, אלו שחפי אגמים

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