Friday, April 25, 2014

Levants fallout

April 20th
Surprisingly, despite the heavy wave of heat we enjoyed a slight wave of migration as well. It was not the high number of ringed birds but the interesting variation: 
First Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia זמיר מנומר (some also heard around),
many Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus קנית קטנה, 
Common Redstarts Phoenicurus phoenicurus חכלילית עצים, 
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa Striata חטפית אפורה. 

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa Striata חטפית אפורה
Namaqua Dove Oena capensis תורית זנבנית
In addition to the migrants, we had some nice local birds, one every day for four days in a raw! Namaqua Dove Oena capensis תורית זנבנית. Sometimes it's not about the rarities but about the nice/interesting/hard to get/local/combo! all together!! :)

April 21st
Like a Swiss clock, every year, the Levant Sparrowhawks Accipiter brevipes נץ קצר אצבעות arrive on the very same dates. It is normal to see some random early ones (like the one that was seen during the Bird Festival in March) but from 20-21 to 25-26 there is always a good steady stream of Sparrowhawks overhead. On the 21st it started but didn't end till few days later!

Migrating female Levant Sparrowhawks Accipiter brevipes
נץ קצר אצבעות נקבה בנדידה
צולם ע"י רוני וייסנן By Roni Vaisanen
Male Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes
זכר נץ קצר אצבעות
By Marten Svensson צולם ע"י מורטן סוונסון
Female Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes 
נקבת נץ קצר אצבעות
By Marten Svensson צולם ע"י מורטן סוונסון

 The ones who came in crazy delay are the Blue cheeked bee eaters Merops persicus שרקרק ירוק. Maybe they should ask the Levants when to leave Africa since they came in exact one month too late. They are regularly seen on the last week of March, just before first European Bee eaters Merops apiaster שרקרק מצוי but not this year. On the 21st we saw a flock of 7 during most of the day, few more were seen on the next days.

Another colourful species we saw around is the Roller Coracias garrulus כחל. Two were seen along the morning flying around and perhaps same two were observed at K20 in the afternoon.  

Roller Coracias garrulus כחל
צולם ע"י רוני וייסנן By Roni Vaisanen

Other migrants at K20 included flocks of Sand Martins Riparia riparia כוכית גדות fighting the strong winds and Yellow Wagtails Motacila flava נחליאלי צהוב among them.

April 22
Another good day of Sparrowhawk migration. During the morning over 550 passed in low flight over the IBRCE Park, we noted about twice this amount in the afternoon over the city. We just couldn't blink! 
In addition we had 450 Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorous איית צרעים
and 150 Steppe Buzzards Buteo buteo vulpinus עקב מזרחי

Levant Sparrowhawks Accipiter brevipes
upper one is an adult while the lower is a 2CY=code 5
נץ קצר אצבעות- עליון בוגר תחתון צעיר ובלוי

Levant Sparrowhawks Accipiter brevipes
Right one is an adult while the left is a 2CY=code 5
נץ קצר אצבעות- ימני בוגר שמאלי צעיר ודהוי
April 23rd
It was a cool morning! In one round we ringed 
Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes נץ קצר אצבעות
Scops Owl Otus scopus שעיר מצוי (late! time to be already in breeding grounds)
And a Hoopoe Upupa epops דוכיפת (our national bird)

During the day we had "only" 850 Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes נץ קצר אצבעות with Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorous איית צרעים and Steppe Buzzards Buteo buteo vulpinus. 

We shouldn't forget mentioning the strong migration of White Winged Black Terns Chlidonia leucopterus מרומית לבנת כנף during this week. Mostly seen by the Northern Beach of Eilat (few thousands so far) but also at K20 Salt ponds and over the IBRCE Park. On the 23rd we noted 180 of them flying over.

April 24th
During the morning we had great fun with about 30 visitors- the Monitoring course of the SPNI, sponsored by the EU. Great essential move if you ask me in person. 
We did our best to indulge them with the best IBRCE had to offer and they sure did enjoy it! I wish you many more great experiences. 
In the afternoon we went to watch some birds by the northern beach of Eilat. A great site when looking for a perfect place to enjoy birding right before sunset and the 20 min after.
We enjoyed all usual goodies (as detailed in last post) and added a "needed" species for Roni's list- an Israeli rarity: Red breasted Merganser Mergus serrator מרגון בינוני. It is most likely the same bird that was seen several times during winter and spring, including one observation at same place last week.  

Left to right: Marten Svensson and Christopher Magnusson
מימין לשמאל: כריסטופר מגנוסון ומורטן סוונסון

Yael Lehnardt

Head Ringer & Guide, IBRCE

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Second Half of Spring started right with a Black Diamond

Spoiler ספוילר
Second half of April always brings a big change in species, always shows how soon it will all end. Now we still get some Lesser Whitethroats Sylvia curruca סבכי טוחנים and Blackaps Sylvia atricapilla סבכי שחור כיפה but no more Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita עלוית חורף or Bluethroats Luscinia svecica כחול חזה.

We do get some Rufous Bush Robins Cercotrichas galactotes חמריה חלודת זנב and Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos זמיר ירדן in growing numbers, together with some Flycatchers and other "later spring migrants".

Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca חטפית שחורת עורף
By Christopher Magnusson צולם ע"י כריסטופר מגנוסון
We wish we had more but they seen to decrease rapidly:
Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana גבתון גנים

On Saturday we went to search for a Black Bush Robin Cercotrichas podobe חמריה שחורה. It was found by a local  birder, Ophir Lotan, at Evrona Salt Flat. The place was absolutely empty but after we watched few Collared Doves and Bulbuls we found it! Lifer for our Swedish part of the team.  
New species (for some of us): Black Bush Robin
At Evrona Salt Flat
מין חדש (לחלקנו): חמריה שחורה
במלחת עברונה
Northern Beach of Eilat- providing lots of nice birding hours:
Sea Watching improved a lot recently; Liri Bas & Roni are having funתצפיות הים השתפרו באופן משמעותי לאחרונה. רוני, באס ולירי נהנים מכל רגע

These are more or less the species we've seen in some evenings at the northern beach, 11-19th of April
Eurasian Wigeon
ברווז צהוב מצח
Northern Shoveler
Sooty Shearwater
יסעור כהה
Gray Heron
אנפה אפורה
Little Egret
לבנית קטנה
Western Reef-Heron
לבנית ים-סוף
European Honey-buzzard
איית צרעים
few tens
Steppe Buzzard
עקב חורף מזרחי
few thousands
Ruddy Turnstone
Parasitic Skua
חמסן טפיל
Slender-billed Gull
שחף צר-מקור
Black-headed Gull
שחף אגמים
White-eyed Gull
שחף לבן-עין
Armenian Gull
שחף ארמני
Lesser Black-backed Gull
שחף שחור
few hundreds
Little Tern
שחפית גמדית
Gull-billed Tern
שחפית עבת מקור
Black Tern
מרומית שחורה
White-winged Tern
מרומית לבנת כנף
Whiskered Tern
מרומית לבנת לחי
Common Tern
שחפית ים
few hundreds
White-cheeked Tern
שחפית שוניות
Sandwich Tern
שחפית שחורת מקור
Rock Pigeon
יונת סלעים
Common Kingfisher
שלדג גמדי
Pied Kingfisher
פרפור עקד

Also visible migration is not what it used to be in March or early 
April.. Species are pretty different, not too many raptors are seen (the usual gap between Steppe Buzzards Buteo buteo vulpinus עקב מזרחי to Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus איית צרעיםׁׁ) and the most prominent migrants around are more or less:

Eurasian Wigeon
ברווז צהוב מצח
Green-winged Teal
Black Stork
חסידה שחורה
White Stork
חסידה לבנה
Gray Heron
אנפה אפורה
Purple Heron
אנפה ארגמנית
Little Egret
לבנית קטנה
Squacco Heron
אנפית סוף
Black-crowned Night-Heron
אנפת לילה
Glossy Ibis
מגלן חום
Eurasian Spoonbill
European Honey-buzzard
איית צרעים
Booted Eagle
עיט גמדי
Levant Sparrowhawk
נץ קצר- אצבעות
Eurasian Sparrowhawk
נץ מצוי
Steppe Buzzard
עקב חורף מזרחי
Common Sandpiper
ביצנית לבנת בטן
Green Sandpiper
ביצנית שחורת כנף
Common Greenshank
ביצנית ירוקת רגל
Wood Sandpiper
ביצנית מנומרת
Red-necked Phalarope
שחיינית צרת-מקור
Collared Pratincole
שדמית מצוייה
White-winged Tern
מרומית לבנת כנף

White Storks Ciconia ciconia חסידה לבנה
April 17th
The best. During a three days long "families birding Festival of Passover", just before all the mess starts, two smiling guys came back from the western nets, They had only two birds so it couldn't be the number of trapped birds that made them so happy... It wasn't. It was the Black diamond, The Black beauty, The queen of all black birds- Black Bush Robin..!
We were waiting for it very long, blamed to keep one in secret, it jumped into the nets before we had the chance to locate it while birding around.
After that, guiding hundreds of people in 38C seemed to be as easy and fun as eating a piece of cake! 

Black Bush Robin Cercotrichas podobe חמריה שחורה
2cy (code 5) שנה קלנדרית שנייה

Black Bush Robin Cercotrichas podobe חמריה שחורה
2cy (code 5) שנה קלנדרית שנייה
Yael Lehnardt

Head Ringer & Guide, IBRCE

Not only feathers

A little more of the local atmosphere

Sedder Pessach סדר פסח
What every volunteer is afraid of is the week of Passover- No fresh bread, no Pita bread, no Beers are alowed to be sold. Yet, we tried to enjoy the holiday by following the Jewish tradition of "Sedder Pessach". We read some of the "Hagada" and ate lots of wierd things; Matza bread, Hazeret, Haroset, Kneidalah soup and clearly didn't skip the tradition of drinking four cups of wine! 
At the end we also searched for the "Afikomen"- Roni was the happy finder. 

Bas Kok with a friend באס קוק וחבר
Bas Kok, our Duch volunteer, left the IBRCE on his way to ring few more birds in Israel by Lotan and the Jerusalem Bird Observatory.. Good luck and thanks for your time with us!