Monday, 28 February 2011

My Song Thrush was eaten in Cyprus!

I received a report about one of my Song Thrushes that I ringed on 23/12/2009 at Tzoraa valley Ringing Station. Unfortunately it was killed by a hunter near Lefkara, Cyprus (375 km). This is the first Israeli control of a Song Thrush.
We have a few recoveries of hunted migrants from Cyprus every year; most were Bee-eaters, Blackcaps and Spanish Sparrows. Illegal bird hunting in the Mediterranean basin is a significant problem for migratory bird population crossing the Mediterranean. Have a look at this report from BirdLife illustrating the problem.

This specific bird was ringed in a big Chaffinch roost. This winter roost hosts tens of thousands of Chaffinch and few hundred thrushes. Until now, I ringed about 9,000 birds in the roost - this is only my first recovery (!). I was hoping for a Chaffinch control, as Israel has no Chaffinch recoveries yet, and I hope it comes soon.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Spring days

These are beautiful spring days, nature is completing another cycle; spectacular bloom, buzzing insects and… migrant birds. Last week I ringed, for the first time this season, Ehrenberg's Redstart, Savi's Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat.
On Friday (25/02) at Tzor'a Valley Ringing Station I had 34 birds, most were Chiffchaffs with their unattractive moulted look, Savi's (1), Moustached (1) and Sedge (6) Warblers. Still not too many birds around, so I had much time to photograph the landscape - enjoy!

Savi's Warbler
Sedge Warbler
Moustached Warbler

Eastern Groundse - Senecio vernalis

Common Asphodel - Asphodelus ramosus

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Spring and other recent events

On Tuesday (15/02) I caught a Cetti's Warbler with a brood patch! It's my first this spring and definitely very early. Spring is here! Other signs of spring from last week are Swifts, Barn Swallows and House Martins in the sky. More and more Whitethroats are ringed and the wintering White Wagtails complete their pre-breeding moult and will soon start heading north.

Cetti's Warbler

Another note from Tzor'a ringing station 2010 summary: We had 1269 local retraps, out of which 341 were birds ringed before 2010, some in multiple years. These birds represent 1.2% of the birds ringed in 2004-2009. This graph shows the distribution of the older retraps by their ringing year. The oldest bird recaptured in 2010 was a Clamorous Reed-Warbler that was ringed on my first ringing session at Tzor'a valley in October 2004. The most recaptured species was Cetti's Warbler: 139 individuals produce 234 retraps!

Earlier this week I was took part in a very interesting ringing session. We went ringing at Hameyshar Plains in the southern Negev. Our mission was to study the Thick-billed Lark (Ramphocoris clotbey). It was a very successful day, as expected from our high effort - 50 mist nets (!). We ringed 17 Thick-billed Larks, 1 Tawny Pipit, 2 Isabelline Wheatears, 1 Asian Desert Warbler and 1 Whitethroat. Yoav Perlman and myself summarized the results in a short article (see here), thanks to Yoav and the rest of the team.

Thick-billed Lark - male


Asian Desert Warbler

Thursday, 3 February 2011

2010 summary

I return to write after a long break.
My personal 2010 ringing totals are pretty good with about 215 ringing days. About 90 days at my project in Tzor'a valley ringing station, 95 days at JBO and about 30 days in other ringing sites.
In total, I ringed more than 12,000 birds during 2010.

Tzor'a valley ringing station totals included 5,086 birds ringed and 1,270 recaptured. The most ringed species were Chaffinch, Barn Swallow, Yellow Wagtail, Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Bluethroat, Blackcap, Spectacled Bulbul and Common Kingfisher (see graph). Rarities I caught at Tzor'a were 2 Citrine Wagtails, 1 Yellow-browed Warbler and 9 Common Rosefinches (!). I controlled only one foreign bird, this was a Lesser Whitethroat ringed in Nottinghamshire, England (3,736 km), recaptured on its northbound spring migration.

I hope to have even more success next year.