Sunday, October 05, 2014

Euan in Wonderland

I arrived in Eilat two weeks ago, from the cold and dark of Scotland, and have been enjoying getting adjusted to the considerably hotter weather and the many exotic new species.   Ringing each day the past few weeks has been steady, producing 60-100 birds with interesting species being caught daily.
The most common migrant species have been caught Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus  קנית קטנה and Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilusעלוית אפורה  , although numbers are now starting to dwindle. Shrikes have been a constant presence, with 22 caught one morning, resulting in lots of sore hands.    
A regular migrant we catch most days that I can not fail to get excited about is the Wryneck Jynx torquilla סבראש .

A great bird for me was this stunning adult Hoopoe Upupa epops דוכיפת.  

Another highlight has been Scops Owl Otus scops  שעיר מצוי, of which two have been ringed so far.

A juvenile Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus  אנפית גמדית was another nice bird to find in the nets.

Every day we see flocks of migrating Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes נץ קצר אצבעות, ranging from less than 20 birds to several thousand. The 27/09 saw a spectacular number of birds passing overhead, and an adult male ended up being ringed.

A few evenings a week have been spent ringing the Swallow roost, but the Hirundine highlights have been in the mornings. The first net round on the 27/09 produced one of the best birds so far from a ringer's perspective; a control juvenile Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica סנונית רפתות, bearing a Hungarian ring. On 04/10 Hirundines were flying very low as they fed on flies and several were caught, including some Red Rumped Swallows Cecropis daurica סנונית מערות, and a bird rarely ringed, a Pale Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne obsoleta סנונית מדבר.

We have also had two successful evenings mist netting waders, catching 24 and 19 birds respectively. The most numerous species ringed was Little Stint Calidris minuta חופית קטנה, but we also caught Dunlin Calidris alpinaחופית אלפינית ,Ringed Plover  Charadrius hiaticula חופמי צוארון, Ruff  Philomachus pugnax לוחם and Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea חופית מגל .

As well as ringing we try to spend as much time as we can birding in the surrounding area, but it's not just birds we see. Recent excursions have resulted in good views of Dorcas Gazelle Gazella dorcas and Jackal Canis aureus     

With October now here and the days getting cooler, hopefully many new migrant species and large numbers of Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita עלוית חורף, and Bluethroats Luscinia svecica כחול חזה await.
Euan Ferguson

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