Saturday, 18 December 2010

IBRCE Update - Bonelli’s Eagle and more

Re'a Shaish reported from Eilat Ringing Station:
On the 5ht December, afternoon, Tzadok got some interesting field intelligence from Itai Shani, which reported a Bonelli’s Eagle hunting pigeons and doves around the K19 cowsheds. The next morning, Tzadok and I drove towards the location eager to locate and trap the bird. After an hour or so the beast showed itself, perched on the cowsheds roof. The trap was placed, and after a few minutes the eagle was caught (!). A shiver went through my spine as I first lay hands on this amazing raptor. We took the bird down to the ringing station, collected the data, took some photos and quickly released it.

The Eagle was aged 3rd calendar year, having 2 retained juvenile secondaries and primaries together with two generations of adult flight feathers, as well as buff-orange wash to breast. The weight of the bird is mediocre; 2050 gr. was not helping determine its sex.
The fearsome hind claw, 39 mm, and culmen, 31.6 mm, were definitely a refreshing change from the Eurasian Sparrowhawks we catch these days…

Trapping of Bonelli’s Eagle is extremely rare in Israel. Being a rare passage migrant and scarce winter visitor, might also be breeding in the Jordanian side of the border, in the area, this bird is a perfect combination between a 'good bird' for me as a birdwatcher and a very impressive and challenging bird to ring.
Thanks to Itai for the information help in ringing.

Other than that ringing is going slow down here with wintering Bluethroats, Chiffchaffs, Sardinian Warblers, etc. And some nice routine breakers such as Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Long Eared Owl, and Purple Heron; all caught recently.

We will be glad to see you all at the IBRCE,
Re’a & Tzadok

Friday, 10 December 2010

Short visit in Hula Valley Ringing Station

Short morning at Hula Valley produce a few nice ringed birds: Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Dunnock, Common Rosefinch, Reed Bunting and more. Around were about 30,000 Cranes, many others waterfowl and raptors, include few impressive Lesser Spotted, Greater Spotted and Imperial Eagles, Marsh, Hen and Pallid Harriers, Peregrine, Buzzards and more - This is obviously a wonderful valley!

Common Buzzard


Hula Valley

Few from last week:

Green Sandpiper

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Stonechat Complication

Last Sunday (28/11) I ringed a Stonechat at Tzor'a alfalfa field. In the net I saw wide paler upper-tail coverts and rump and I thought "what's that? Is it an Eastern or European Stonechat? No, it's a regular European Stonechat". After I ringed it, I looked again with more attention and I saw a regular Stonechat, slightly paler than European and with an off-white-buff upper-tail coverts and rump, typically for an eastern form. Another typical difference between eastern and European Stonechat is wing-length, the eastern is somewhat longer with 71-75 mm (n=3, Tzor'a Valley) and European 64-71 mm (n=63, Tzor'a Valley), it was 67 - good for European, too short for Eastern Stonechat.
Another typical difference is the colour of rectrices base in males. In European Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) it is a dark brown-grey, in Caucasian and Armenian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus variegate/armenica) it is clearly pure white, about quarter in Armenian and half in Caucasian. In Eastern Stonechat (Saxicola maurus maura) there is no white or only slightly at the base. But also in 'maura' Eastern Stonechat there could be white on base of rectrices, but under the upper-tail coverts, seen only in hand. This Stonechat shows clearly 10 mm white on base of its rectrices, but this is a problem because of our limited experience with that ID sign.

The Stonechat - first winter male, wing 67 mm

About 10 mm white on base of the rectrices

To copmare birds:

Caucasian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus variegate) first
winter male, wing 71 mm

European Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) first winter
male, wing 65 mm

Eastern Stonechat (Saxicola maurus) first winter female, wing 68.5 mm

Caucasian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus variegate) adult male, wing 75 mm

European Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) first winter male, wing 67 mm