Sunday, 25 December 2011

Another one bites the dust

On Thursday afternoon (22/12), while Avishai and I were driving to ring at the wagtail roost, I received a phone call about a small bird wearing an Israeli ring that had hit a window in a nearby village. The lady gave me the digits on the ring but without the ring's series; this is very important in order to identify the ring, but she had already disposed the bird with the ring… Because it was close I decided to recover the bird myself. I arrived there and found one of my White Wagtails that I had ringed last winter. After talking to the lady that had found the dead bird, I found out that it's the second bird that got itself killed against the same window. I advised her to mark the window, to prevent future collisions.

Last week the White Wagtails in the roost were joined by a Snipe and nice coutelli Water Pipit.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Eastern Stonechat and other winter roosters

On Tuesday (13/12) I ringed at the Tzor'a reservoir, instead of my regular Friday sessions; this Friday I will conduct a ringing course at Ma'agan Michael. Only 33 birds were caught, 23 recaptures. The first bird for the morning was a nice female Eastern Stonechat with typical appearance, measurements (wing length: 71 mm) and about 10 mm pale at base of rectrices, concealed under the uppertail coverts.

During the past three days I ringed 145 White Wagtails. Lots of other birds join the roost, and I caught some representatives: Penduline Tit (1), Spanish Sparrow (4), Reed Bunting (6) and Corn Bunting (6). One White Wagtail was recaptured from autumn 2008, ringed in the alfalfa field (10 km).
Other old recaptures were Moustached Warbler from 2010, Clamorous Reed-warbler from 2008 and some Cetti's Warblers and Chiffchaffs from 2009-10.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Some notes about our residents

On Friday (09/12) I ringed again at the Tzor'a reservoir, typical winter morning with only 44 birds, 19 recaptured. Worth noting was the large number of local Barn Swallows - about 500 hunting above the reservoir and 300 in the alfalfa. One Swallow was ringed, nice bird at the end of complete post-breeding/juvenile moult; in this time of year European Swallow only begin moulting in their African wintering grounds.

On 07/12 one of my Barn Swallow was found freshly dead after it hit a window; this bird was ringed in October during a large roost catch in Tzor'a and found in Haifa, 114 km north! This was probably a local bird, joined a migrant flock and then returned back north.
Another interesting bird was a Clamorous Reed Warbler at the end of post-juvenile moult and had five retained secondaries. This is a very late and interesting moult pattern.

Friday, 9 December 2011

'pygmaea' Yellow Wagtail

I have just completed punching all of the autumn ringing data in. It was a great season with grand total of 4713 birds ringed and 814 recaptured. The species richness was also very good with 76 different species. During this season we controlled three birds with foreign ring from Hungary, Norway and Zambia - very nice result; during this period only one more passerine with foreign ring was controlled in Israel (!).
On the first day of winter I ringed this putative 'pygmaea' Yellow Wagtail. It was a first year female and struck me as being tiny. Wing length was 72mm and tail length 63mm, both measurements fit perfectly with this tiny race breeding in Egypt. Also plumage details are good - dark olive-green above, short and narrow supercilium and dark breast patches. Shirihai mentions in his book three previous records between 1986 and 1990, all from Eilat (two in winter). I will send this interesting record to some experts for a second opinion, and will post the final decision soon.