Saturday, April 05, 2014

Long time no C.. Too many birds!

Past week was excellent. Lots of migrants were seen overhead during the festival and in the few days since the festival ended. Thousands of raptors and swallows (4 species) are passing daily in one of the best weeks of migration I can remember at Eilat (usually there are few good days and then a gap before the next good days, this time no gaps, strong migration is seen every day).

In the ringing we enjoyed lots of different species with nice numbers in total. 

Steppe Buzzards Buteo buteo vulpinus עקב מזרחי
By Roni Vaisanen צולם ע"י רוני וייסנן

Steppe Buzzards Buteo buteo vulpinus עקב מזרחי

Black Kite Milvus migrans דיה שחורה
By Roni Vaisanen צולם ע"י רוני וייסנן
March 29th
Almost the last day of Birding Festival. Quiet saturday. Ringing included 49 new birds, with a very late Song Thrush Turdus philomelos קיכלי רונן. 

At noon we decided to tick the obvious twitch- Look for the Pied Bush Chat Saxicola caprata דוחל שחור at Neot Smadar. What a nice white ass! We enjoyed watching it for about 45 min, with a beautiful Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus חנקן נובי and a male Semicollared Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca חטפית טורקית in next bush.

Pied Bush Chat Saxicola caprata דוחל שחור
By Bas Kok צולם ע"י באס קוק
After a nice walk we also relocated the Isabelline/Daurian Shrike Lanius isabellinus חנקן ערבות, it was not seen for a few days. In the pic you can see a festival tour watching the relocated shrike.

Isabelline/Daurian Shrike Lanius isabellinus חנקן ערבות
March 30th
121 birds were ringed, nice migrants variety. Nice migration of Ducks- Shovelers Anas clypeata מרית and Teals Anas crecca שרשיר mainly. 

March 31st
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla סבכי שחור-כיפה migration got stronger with a few dozen seen and 50 ringed, making it the first day with more Blackap's than Lesser Whitethroate's Sylvia corruca סבכי טוחנים. The day's ringing total was 155 birds and it included 4 more Ruppels Warblers Sylvia ruppelli סבכי שחור-גרון and Hoopoe Upupa epops דוכיפת.

April 1st
Celebration!!! Over 10 media reporters visited the ringing station, the volunteers (Roni, Teresa & Matt) were trying to see as many bird species as possible in 24 hours; part of the "Champions of the Flyway" bird race (supplied with our Kangoo car, they were restricted to an area of 80 KM away from the IBRCE and unable to drive faster than 80 KM per hour. They still had 137 species!).

Bas and I were supported by 4 ringers from Yeruham (Hoopoe team) and had a little more birds ringed than species seen by our second half- 
139 new birds (total of 177) with a nice wave of 
34 new Blackaps Sylvia atricapilla סבכי שחור כיפה and 
3 Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia crassirostris סבכי חורש. 

During the whole morning lots of raptors were seen passing through the area, there was no time to count after marking a "V" on the species :)

April 2nd
Another wave of migrants! April is the real thing! not only 37 new Blackaps Sylvia atricapilla סבכי שחור כיפה but also first two ringed Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans סבכי רונן, Male+ Female. We thought they'll skip us this year, as weeks went by and only few were seen around, non at the IBRCE. Luckily we had these amazing "albistriata" eastern race (if you follow Svensson's new article we wish you good long reading when examining next pics- Surfbird!)

Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans סבכי רונן

Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans סבכי רונן
Be beautiful and shut up! That's what we say in Hebrew for the next thing:
Little green Bee eater Merops orientalis שרקרק גמדי
And another new for season, pretty early (two weeks earlier than normal!):
Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria סבכי ניצי
Thousands off Swallows that migrated during the day made us wish for a good swallow ringing in the afternoon. Well, unluckily the swallows didn't agree and only 1 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica סנונית רפתות was ringed. Instead of swallows we got the first for the season beautiful Rufous Bush Robin Cercotrichas galactotes חמריה חלודת-זנב, which already had a ring- it was ringed here exactly 11 months ago, May 2nd 2014!

Rufous bush Robin Cercotrichas galactotes חמריה חלודת זנב

April 3rd
A slow day in the ringing station, but still very strong in the skys with Swallows and Martins passing when ever and where ever you look. Only a few of them found their way into the nets but one was enough this time: A Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica סנונית רפתות with a Turkish ring on it's right leg and another purple ring on its left, we are waiting for an answer from the Turkish ringing center to know exactly when and where it was ringed.

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica with a ring from Turkey
סנונית רפתות עם טבעת טורקית

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica with a ring from Turkey
סנונית רפתות עם טבעת טורקית
Ron Efrat

Volunteer-ringer, IBRCE

Yael Lehnardt
Head Ringer & Guide, IBRCE

A little more of the local atmosphere

As it was Matt's and Teresa's last day with us, an IBRCE goodbye was set with two Steppe Buzzards Buteo buteo vulpinus עקב חורף מזרחי ringed- the happy faces helped disguise the sad goodbye. Thanks a lot for the great help and good luck in your next stop!
Matt & Teresa with two Steppe Buzzards Buteo buteo vulpinus
מאט וטרסה עם שני עקבים מזרחיים

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