Autumn migration continues to provide many interesting birds here at Eilat. Apart from a freak catch of 180 birds one morning (thanks to low feeding Hirundines and large flocks of Spanish Sparrows Passer hispaniolensis finding the nets), the number of captures has been lower the past couple of weeks, averaging about 50 birds ringed a day. However despite the lull in numbers we have still caught some nice species.
The late autumn migrants have arrived, with the first Bluethroat Luscinia svecica ringed on 08/10 and the first Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita on 17/10. Winter visitors like Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala Cetti's Warbler and Cetti cettia have also started to appear.
We have also some ringed some less common migrants. Amongst the daily catch of Red-backed Lanius collurio and Masked Shrikes Lanius nubicus came a Daurian Shrike Lanius isabellinus on 13/10 .
A juvenile Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva, a fairly scarce species for the area, was caught on 16/10, with a few more being sighted by birders around Eilat.
A Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus, despite the name, was another unncommon bird ringed.
An interesting bird that caused considerable debate between Noam and Juan was a juvenile Wheatear that Showed features of both Pied Oenanthe pleschanka and Black-eared Oenanthe hispanica . Eventually it was settled on being the latter, and another similar bird was caught a few days later, both probably the eastern subspecies Melanoleuca .
Every morning we've been opening the nets early to try to catch Nightjars, as well as walking around the park at night with a torch and hand net in the hope of dazzling one. All targeted attempts have so far been unsuccessful. However, halfway through the morning ringing session on the 17 th I got a surprise when I flushed a European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus from its daytime roost and into one of Heligoland traps. It's sometimes the case with ringing that when you do not try, you succeed!
Another good bird to the find in the Heligoland trap was a juvenile male Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus .
2 White-throated Kingfishers Halcyon smyrnensis , a winter visitor to Eilat, have been ringed, these stunning birds perhaps my favorite so far. We are also catching Common Kingfishers Alcedo atthis almost daily.
Another colorful beauty we are continuing to ring every week is the Little Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis .
As well as morning ringing we've found the time for the Hirundine roost, with the best catch being 145 birds, and a couple of evening mist netting sessions on the salt ponds, with 54 waders ringed, mostly Little Stint Calidris minuta . The highlight of birding in the local area was at least 6 Hoopoe Larks Alaemon alaudipe observed at Evrona on 05/10.
As the days get shorter and cooler as November beckons, we look forward to seeing what nice birds each day will bring as the season continues.