Sunday, 26 June 2011

Hot and wet breeding

Since 2006 summer I've been ringing regularly during the summer and breeding season around the Tzoraa reservoir. This is a wet habitat with raspberry bushes, Tamarisk trees and large reed-beds (in Israeli standards). The result of those conditions after 08:00 and 30°C are a steamy and hot place.
Despite the rough conditions, or perhaps thanks to these conditions, it's a very good breeding site for a few warbler species: Cetti's, Reed, Clamorous-Reed and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers. The long term monitoring in this site results in very interesting data, as most of 'my' breeding pairs are ringed and return year after year to same site. At this time of year most of their nestlings are already flying around and also get ringed.
Today (24/06) I caught 40 birds, including a few recaptures from 2006-08.
The adult Reed Warblers are easily identified by their worn and brown-grey plumage, distinct to the warm-brown and fresh juvenile plumage; few of the adults have already started their partial head moult (they moult the feathers, not the whole head).
Also Cetti's Warblers begin their moult, juveniles - partial and adults - complete. This time I ringed tens of them and later on, during the year, some of those birds will get recaptured again and again.
Flying around were a small flock of Lesser Kestrels and my first Green Sandpiper for the autumn.

Cetti's Warbler - adult, post-breeding complete moult

Cetti's Warbler - juvenile, post-juv. partial moult

Clamorous-Reed Warbler - adult

Reed Warbler - adult

Reed Warbler - adult, head moult

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Old Little Tern

Last night I did another tern ringing session at Atlit. Only 10 birds got caught until 01:00, so I decided to close the nets early. The catch included 7 Common Terns, 2 new Little Terns and another old recapture Little Tern, B-85324. It was ringed as pullus at the same site in the first week of July 1995. Most likely this bird was ringed when it was about 15 days old, so today is her 16th birthday!
Thanks to Francis and Elon for their help.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Poland - Israel - Hungary - Slovakia

Normally, information about controls are reported to the original ringing scheme, where the bird had been ringed. When a bird was controlled more than once or in more than one country, most ringing schemes produces a form with the life history of the bird. But if the story gets too long, the full information often reach back only to the original ringing scheme.
Recently we received an unusual report about a Black Stork 1P58, ringed in Poland in summer 2003 as pullus and first found in Israel in autumn 2008. Later this stork was reported also from Hungary (2010) as a breeding female, and from Slovakia (2011). This report is very interesting and reveals the global movements of these migrant populations, even without the use of a satellite transmitter.
Thanks to Pawel T. Dolata from Poland for sharing his data.

See more in birding Slovakia website (Slovak), more about the Black Stork project (German) and more from Poland and Hungary.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Night surprise

Mistnets placed over water, especially at night, often produce surprises in the form of interesting or seldom ringed species. During my ringing sessions at Atlit saltpans, as part of the terns monitoring project, the nets produced a few species that I don't ring every day, such as Whimbrel or Broad-billed Sandpiper. Last ringing session's surprise was two Slender-billed Gulls; this is a common gull in Israel but rarely ringed and of course my first in the hand. Both were sub-adults in variable moult. In Israel only few SB Gulls have ever been ringed, most being rehabilitated birds. Nevertheless, we have six SB Gull controls, all Ukrainian birds found dead on the Israeli Mediterranean coast.