Wednesday 18 March 2015

Kingfishers wings

Second year (age 5) after suspended moult, autumn

Juvenile plumage

Tuesday 21 October 2014

September to mid October

I continued with the intensive work in the Beit She'an Valley also this autumn to collect moult data. This period produced more than 1300 birds ringed of 64 different species. The interesting or irregular species were 1 Black-winged Kite (in mist net…), 30 Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, 60 Red-throated Pipits, 2 Richard's Pipits, 5 Tawny Pipits, 2 Citrine Wagtails, 26 Isabelline Wheatears, 23 Marsh Warblers (big number), 1 Isabelline Shrike, 6 Lesser Grey Shrikes and 376 Dead sea Sparrows.

Black-winged Kite

Isabelline Shrike

Lesser Grey Shrike

Richard's Pipit

Dead-sea Sparrow

In Tzor'a Valley I worked intensively during 12-14 September. This session was relative poorer, produced only 240 birds of 21 different species. Two interesting species were Red-footed Falcon (7) and Roller (2).

 Red-footed Falcon - male

Red-footed Falcon

Red-footed Falcon

Red-footed Falcon - female

Thanks to Ron Efrat, Rafi Paz, Itai Bloch, Ezra Jasper, Arad Ben-David, Michaela Zinkin, Avner Rinot and Kobi Meyrom for their assistance. Also to the British team, Terry Southall, Gary Goddard, Mike Jackson & Christopher Southall, who worked in Beit She'an Valley during this period and joined some nice sessions.

Roller's wing

Sunday 20 April 2014


Finally, after four years of tern ringing, came the first sign from the African wintering quarters, but in a less expected way. On Wednesday (16/4) we started the season with first ringing session. We captured 93 birds: 3 Slender-billed Gulls, 12 Black-headed Gulls, 5 Little Terns and 73 Common Terns. One of the Common Terns was a control from South Africa with the ring SAFRING UNIV CAPETOWN SA CV-51330! The bird was ringed on the East Coast of South Africa, Port Alfred, 7,387 km, in October 2010, by Tony Tree.

Thanks to Inbal for her help that night and to Tony for sharing the ringing data.

Monday 10 February 2014

Wheatears and shrikes

Last Thursday-Friday (6-7/2) we went south to the Negev Desert for a Wheatear and Shrike ringing session. My aim, as always, is to study their moult strategies. We started with mist-netting at Hameishar Plains. This winter is particularly dry and no germination took place in this habitat; this resulted in very low bird densities. Nevertheless we ringed 3 birds, Desert Lark, Sardinian Warbler and beautiful Asian Desert Warbler. After this poor start we worked with spring-traps for wheatears and shrikes. During two days' work we ringed 1 Isabelline Wheatear, 13 Mourning Wheatear, 1 Finsch's Weatear, 1 White-crowned Wheatear and 5 Southern Grey Shrike - at least one elegans type.

Asian Desert Warbler

Mourning Wheatear

White-crowned Wheatear

Finsch's Wheatear

Thanks to my partners to this trip, Ron and Arad, and also thanks to the ringers who helped during those two days: Yoav, Meidad and Yoram.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Siberian Buff-bellied Pipit

In recent weeks I have ringed two Buff-bellied Pipits Anthus rubescens japonicus in Beit-Shean Valley. This species was discovered for first time in Israel by Hadoram Shirihai, back in 1981. The first records were considered to be of an 'unusual Water Pipit', according to the very limited literature available back then, and the true identity was revealed only in 1984 by Shirihai and Alstrom. This pipit breeds in central and eastern Siberia and winters in Japan and E Asia, and also, in small number, in the Middle East. It's smaller than Water Pipit, between Meadow and Water pipits. Leg colour is reddish-brown and not black like Water Pipit. Upperparts are uniformly dark greyish olive-brown and unstreaked. It has bold breast streaking, very close to Meadow pipit, unlike coutelli Water Pipit that is the common form in the Middle East. The moult strategy and ageing are very similar to other pipits, the post-juvenile moult is very limited, including only LC (n=3), and ageing is done by MC pattern and wear.

Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens japonicus - juvenile