Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The chicken morning

Last Friday at Tzor'a about 50 birds, but smelly Coot and Moorhen in the net were nice. Other birds included mostly winter stuff - the numbers and variety of birds ringed is going down. At the Jerusalem Bird Observatory only few birds every morning, most are recaptured Robins. No birds and no Rain!

Meadow Pipit



Thursday, 25 November 2010

Late autumn routine

After the great rush and adrenalin we had here earlier this autumn, things are settling down for the winter. Not that this routine is bad! Ringing at Tzor'a Valley is still good with about 100 birds every session, with recent goodies including Night Heron on 21/11, Pied Kingfisher, Moustached Warbler, Brambling, and another Common Rosefinch. Most birds ringed are Bluethroat, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch and Cetti's Warbler (ssp. retrapus, of course). Most interesting were 11 Penduline Tits - lovely birds! I was happy to have a group of high school biology specialization kids, who came to study about bird ringing and ecology.

Penduline Tit

Corn Bunting

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

European White Stork controls

Every year in early autumn (August-September) 500,000 White Storks pass over Israel, mostly above the eastern Israel. Last season Helmut Eggers from Germany spent a few weeks reading White Stork rings in the Bet-Shean Valley and read about 120 rings. Recently I got answers from European ringing schemes - from Hiddensee and Helgoland (Germany) and from the Croatian Ringing Center. I am still waiting for answers from Poland, Radolfzell, Estonia, Hungary and Slovakia. Most of the storks were ringed as pullus in their nests in Europe. In our database we have about 450 White Stork foreign controls; most were read in the field or found dead. This is one of the species with the largest number of controls, after Lesser Black-backed Gull and Black Stork.

White Stork migration
German ringed White Stork - September 2010, Bet-Shean Valley

Thanks to Helmut Eggers for his effort and report, to Liron Ziv for his images and to the European ringing schemes for supplying their ringing data.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Exciting autumn in the Judean Plains

Last week I ringed twice at Tzor'a. This is a very good ringing season in our region. Every session we ring 100-200 birds of many species, 24-29 bird species every session! My highlight last week was a Yellow-browed Warbler on 08/11 - tick for me. Other exciting species included Water Rail, Jack Snipe, 2 Pied Kingfishers, Moustached Warbler, Caucasian Stonechat, Common Rosefinch and first Bramblings of the season.

Yellow-browed Warbler
Jack Snipe

On 08/11 I ringed for the first time this season at the finch roost in Tzor'a Valley citrus plantations. This is a big citrus plantation and it hosts about 50,000 finches for roosting every night in winter, 90% of them are Chaffinch, but also Linnet, Brambling, Greenfinch, Song Thrushes and others coming to the huge roost. In the last four years I ringed in this roost about 8,500 birds (7,000 were Chaffinch). We (Ron, Yotam, Shabi and Marco) ringed about 100 birds; most were Chaffinch with a few recaptures from previous years, Robins, Song Thrushes, Greenfinch, Brambling and for dessert - one Common Rosefinch.

Ron, Yotam and Song Thrushes
Common Rosefinch
Water Rail

First Hawfinch this season was ringed at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory.



Sunday, 7 November 2010

Israel's first Kentish Plover control!

Last Monday (01/11) Tamir Siman-Tov reported a colour ringed Kentish Plover from Ma'agan Michael beach. After some correspondence with European shorebird ringers I contacted the right colour-ringing scheme; the head of this scheme is Dr. Andras Kosztolanyi, and he kindly reported all ringing data. This adult male Kentish Plover was ringed at Tuzla Lake in southern Turkey at its active nest; that same day also its mate and one chick were ringed, and the family stayed in the area until at least 24/06/2009 when the fieldwork at that site ended. This is the first Israeli Kentish Plover control; the distance between the ringing and finding places is only 459 km but this information about short-distance dispersal is extremely important. Kentish Plovers are endangered throughout the eastern Mediterranean region.
Thanks to Tamir Siman-Tov for his report and images and to Dr. Andras Kosztolanyi for the ringing data.

Turkish Kentish Plover

Some nice birds I ringed during the last days were a Red-breasted Flycatcher on 28/10, Cyprus Warbler on 01/11, both at JBO, Two Common Rosefinches on 29/10 and Starling (my first in the hand) on 31/10 in Tzor'a - all juveniles and very ugly birds…

Red-breasted Flycatcher

Masked Shrike
Cyprus Warbler