Friday, August 01, 2014

The positive observation

If you are reading this blog post now I presume you know that the situation in Israel is neither the happiest nor the most positive. But, the sad/ upsetting news can be read in any news-website while the birding news from Israel are more rare online. I'll focus on the later then. 

Birding at Eilat now is divided into several categories: 
1. Desert watching- walking in very hot places in very hot hours (even before sunrise it can be around 30C)
2. Sea watching- hoping for Tropicbirds but enjoying common local stuff in the meantime.
3. Office watching (not the birds found when searching on google, the birds seen through the window)
4. Northern birding/ ringing...

1. Desert watching
One warm afternoon I went with Liri Koplevitch and Shahar Alterman to birdwatch and snakewatch at Samar Sand Dunes. The first thing we saw wasn't, as expected normally, footprints. Not even a lizard. Just when we parked the car (next to the road, not driving on these miraculous dunes) a Hoopoe Lark Alaemon alaudipes אלימון was running fastly away. Soon after we stood still it started checking us and came really close. Later on we had also some wonderful reptiles but that is for another blog...

Hoopoe Lark Alaemon alaudipes אלימון
By Shahar Alterman צולם ע"י שחר אלתרמן

Desert horned Viper Cerastes gasperettii עכן גדול

Footprints of Egyptian Mastigure Uromastyx aegyptia
עקבות חרדון צב מצוי

2. Sea watching
Not too much to tell... lots of hours, lots of local birders visiting regularly, then came one guy from the north and took it all- A Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus indicus פיתון ים סוף was seen by Barak Granit on July 27th.
Besides that I managed to take a picture of this "crossbill" Striated Heron Butorides striatus אנפית מנגרובים. 

"crossbill" Striated Heron Butorides striatus אנפית מנגרובים
3. Office watching
Summer is the time for sitting at the Information center and shop of the park to do some  office duties, with some air conditioning: planning the next ringing season/ year of educational projects/  data analysis. 
It can be very boring to sit so long... but, thanks to a small family of four Arabian Babblers Turdoides squamiceps זנבן ערבי who are just in love with the windows of the center so it is actually hard to work and not watch them all day long! they watch themselves, they sit and comb each other, they attack the window, they are visiting all the time ! 

Arabian Babblers Tוrdoides squamiceps זנבן ערבי
4. Northern birding/ringing
Mid July is time for the monitoring project at Mt. Hermon, the northern + highest mountain in Israel where lots of cool species are breeding. Our stuff joined a few other ringers and all together we enjoyed two excellent ringing days. Top ringed species were: Linnet Carduelis cannabina תפוחית,
Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus בזבוז לבנון, 
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis חוחית 
and Rock Bunting Emberiza cia גבתון סלעים. The most special one, at least for me, was the White throated Robin Irania gutturalis אירניה. This species is breeding in Israel only at Mt. Hermon but is not regularly seen and ringed only once every few years!

White throated Robin Irania gutturalis אירניה
Yosef Kiat and other happy ringers from central country
אירניה, יוסף כיאט ועוד כמה מטבעים מאושרים ממרכז הארץ

Female White throated Robin Irania gutturalis נקבת אירניה
 Wishing for peaceful days,
Waiting for more autumn migrants to come (despite the fun summer birds),

Yael Lehnardt

Head Ringer & Guide, IBRCE

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