Sunday, March 23, 2014

Live and death is in the power of IBRCE team (not exactly..)

Finally, the news you’ve all been waiting for … they survived!! Two clean, happy and rested Slender-billed Gulls Larus geneiשחף צר מקור  were released into the saltpans during the morning where they both flew straight out to join the other birds present. Their saviour, Misgav, was not only celebrating his birthday but also the release of these wonderful Gulls with us.  
Slender-billed Gulls Larus geneiשחף צר מקור
were saved thanks to the awarness of the Salt company worker
A clear arrival of migrants overnight resulted in some better ringing. 117 birds were caught which brought the season total of new birds ringed to just over 2000 (just to begin with!). 
adult male Cretzschmar’s Bunting Emberiza caesia  גבתון אדום מקור זכר בוגר
adult male Cretzschmar’s Bunting Emberiza caesia  גבתון אדום מקור זכר בוגר
adult male Cretzschmar’s Bunting Emberiza caesia  גבתון אדום מקור זכר בוגר
adult male Cretzschmar’s Bunting Emberiza caesia  גבתון אדום מקור זכר בוגר
An adult male Cretzschmar’s Bunting Emberiza caesia  גבתון אדום מקור competed with a Hoopoe Upupa epops דוכיפת for title of most colourful bird and another Common Quail שלו Coturnix coturnix was captured. A Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus עלוית אפורה was the first of the season and 20 Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler Phylloscopus orientalisעלוית לבנת בטן is an excellent day total for this species.
31 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus מגלן חום flew over during the morning and a couple of Greater Short-toed Larks Calandrella brachydactyla עפרונן קצר אצבעות also migrated north. The first Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus שחיינית צרת מקור of the year was on the salt ponds and a Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus  אנפית גמדית was seen in flight over the IBRCE pool. 

72 birds were caught today with highlights including the first Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis פיפיון עצים to be ringed this season and a female Ruppell’s Warbler Sylvia rueppelli סבכי שחור גרון , a species not caught for a few days. 
first Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis פיפיון עצים
Immature (5)Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis פיפיון עצים צעיר (קוד 5)
Immature (5)Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis פיפיון עצים צעיר (קוד 5)
The biggest surprise was a Long-eared Owl Asio otus ינשוף עצים in one of the Heligoland traps at about 10am, a nice opportunity so see this beautiful species in daylight. 

Long-eared Owl Asio otus ינשוף עצים
By Roni Vaisanen צולם ע"י רוני וייסנן

Adult seconderies pattern Long-eared Owl Asio otus ינשוף עצים

By Roni Vaisanen צולם ע"י רוני וייסנן
After sunset the wader traps were set and we recaptured a Common Redshank Tringa totanus ביצנית לבנת כנף originally ringed in autumn 2003, as an adult. It means this bird is at least 12 years old!
During the evening the IBRCE salt ponds were quite productive. Yesterdays Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatusשחיינית צרת מקור  had found some friends and formed a small flock of 3 birds. 8 Pallas’s Gulls Larus ichthyaetus שחף עיטי dropped in and included 2 adults with full breeding plumage but all were disturbed and flew north just before dusk. 75 Ruff לוחם  was a clear increase on previous days and 5 Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilisביצנית עדינה  , 1 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus ביצנית אדומת רגל and a Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea נחליאלי זנבתן were also present.

The daily ringing total rose again today to 103 birds although a high proportion of these were re-traps. The highlight was a female Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus אנפית גמדית which was perfectly timed to be enjoyed, not just by us but also by some birders joining an IBRCE tour.
female Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus אנפית גמדית
female Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus אנפית גמדית
2 Arabian Babblers Turdoides squamiceps זנבן were also ringed and an interesting Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis דרור ספרדי  showed a mix of sexual plumage characters, more male on the left and female on the right!
Overhead, there was a small passage of raptors. Most were Steppe Buzzard Buteo b. vulpinus עקב חורף מזרחי  but also a few of the commoner eagle species. Among the passerine migrants an estimated 4000 Spanish Sparrows Passer hispaniolensis דרור ספרד passed through the site.

Matt Slaymaker
Volunteer-ringer, IBRCE

Yael Lehnardt
Head Ringer & Guide, IBRCE

Not only Feathers- Amazing kill

The gull story ended well but not all birds make it out of Eilat again. Some you can save, some you lose! In this specific case, we haven't lost any of the Gulls but we witnessed an amazing kill- A Painted Carpet Viper (Saw Scaled Viper) Echis coloratus אפעה מגוון eating a Blackap Sylvia atricapilla סבכי שחור כיפה just next to one of our traps. All team gathered and watched the snake eating the bird, working so hard to swallow it.
These Vipers are serious bird lovers, eating birds lovers I mean. Usually they are seen hidden in the lower part of Miswak Salvadora persica סלוודורה פרסית, waiting for a Warbler to come and feed on the Blue-Spotted Arab Colotis phisadia לבנין הסלוודורה caterpillars or the fruits of the bush.


A little more of the local atmosphere

20 very excited Finnish birders, one very excited Finnish ringer, one Arabian Bubbler Turdoides squamiceps זנבן ערבי. A nice spring tour at the IBRCE. 

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