Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Great night at Atlit

Yesterday (29/8) we (Ohad, Yoav, Francis, Itai and I) spent the morning at Ma'agan Michael beach to learn how to use with a large whoosh net, suitable for catching flocks or large birds. We tried to tempt terns to land in our catching area with Little Terns dummies but this was hard and not enough time.

Little Terns dummies

I stayed in Carmel Coast area for terns night ringing at Atlit salt-pans, that became a night to remember…
My assistant this night was Carmel Zitronblat, he certainly brought a truck-load of luck with him. We arrived early in the evening and began setting the nets. The first part of the session did not look good. Tern numbers were down with only few hundred, probably most have left south. Until midnight we ringed 'only' 11 Common Terns. At 1:30 AM we were just about to take the mist-nets down, disappointed to see there were no birds in the net again, when a tern hit the net only few meters from me. This was an adult Common Tern wearing a ring and I saw only a metal ring (no plastic colour ring), so I thought 'this must be an interesting catch'; another look made me shout 'this is a foreign ring!'. The full caption on the ring is AT-214214 MUSEUM ZOOL. HKI FINLAND. This is surely an exciting catch and only second recovery of Common Tern in Israel from the northern hemisphere. The previous recovery was in 1984 from Ukraine. I hope to get the answer and complete details from the Finnish Ringing Center soon.


Finnish Common Tern

The next net round produced another exciting bird. I saw a large and dark bird in the net, when I got closer I found out this was a Whimbrel! Whimbrel is an uncommon migrant in Israel and very rarely ringed; it's a powerful and loud bird. Other birds this night included 1 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 2 White-winged Terns and 1 Little Tern.
I hope to have more exciting nights like this with terns (and more recoveries).


Little Tern - juvenile