Sunday, 3 April 2011

Sylvia land

On Friday 18/03 I went ringing in one of my favorite ringing site, Modiin Hills. It's a beautiful natural habitat with typical Mediterranean plant community. This is a favorite stopover site for Sylvia warblers, especially in spring but also in autumn, and it is an important breeding site for our local Sardinian Warblers. The secret of this area is the Palestine Buckthorn (Rhamnus palaestinus). This spiny bush is dominant in the area and Sylvia migration cycle is adjusted to its life cycle. In spring the flowers are blooming, and insects coming to the nectar get eaten up by warblers. Further, and the buckthorn's thorns make the bushes themselves a safe shelter. In autumn the sweet fruits ripen; the warblers feed on the fat-and sugar-rich fruit and help the bushes to distribute their seeds.

Flowers in spring and fruit in autumn

Common Whitethroat

This session produced 109 birds, most Sylvia Warblers, as expected: 54 Lesser Whitethroats, 20 Whitethroats, 4 Blackcaps, 4 Sardinian Warblers, 19 Chiffchaff, 1 Quail and other regulars. One of Lesser Whitethroats that I ringed in this site in March 2009 was controlled in Norfolk, England, 3612 km, in May 2010 (see here); I expect more foreign greetings like this.

Sardinian Warbler

Modiin Hills