Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Terns, waders and more

Last Sunday (22/05) we visited the tern colony at the Atlit salt pans again. The migrant terns have left the area and the breeding population is incubating actively. At this time, before hatching, the colony is relatively quiet. We ringed only 16 Common Terns and one Little Tern. Our regular work pond was muddy and attractive for the small wader flock; we ringed 10 Ringed Plovers, 1 Little Stint, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Broad-billed Sandpiper. In the early evening we saw a noisy Whimbrel.
On Friday (20/05) I ringed at Tzoraa valley. The first Cetti's and Reed Warbler nestlings were ringed. At the end of the ringing session we saw and heard a fairly large and frightening Palestine Viper (Vipera palaestinae).
This morning (25/05) at JBO, I ringed an adult female Golden Oriole; this non-regular spring is still surprising.

Ringed Plover

Broad-billed Sandpiper

Curlew Sandpiper

Golden Oriole

Palestine Viper

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Late migrants and hot breeding

The last days at the JBO produced nice numbers of birds with good species richness. Today's totals (15/05) included 172 birds of 20 species: 18 Olive-tree Warblers (!), 15 Thrush Nightinales, Little Bittern and others. Most of the resident females have brood patches; numbers of nestlings increase by the day - Blackbirds, Great Tits, Spectacled Bulbuls, Sardinian Warblers, Greenfinches and House Sparrows are abundant.
On Friday (13/05) at Tzoraa valley I had 95 birds, including late Garden Warblers and Blackcaps, and many breeding species: Reed, Clamorous Reed, Eastern Olivaceous and Cetti's Warblers, all with brood patches or 'active' Cloaca. I am waiting for their babies.

Red-backed Shrike

Thrush Nightinale

Masked Shrike

Sardinian Warbler - nestling

Little Bittern - female

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Migrants in grey

Today (08/05) another good day at the JBO, 180 birds of 20 species. Highlights were a 2cy male Eurasian Cuckoo, a few Olive-tree Warblers, two male Red-backed Shrike and other late migrants.

Eurasian Cuckoo

Olive-tree Warbler

Garden Warbler

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Friday to Friday ringing down under

On Friday (29/04) I visited the Hula Valley ringing station and joined Nadav's team. It was a beautiful morning with about 210 birds ringed and it was good to catch up with some old friends. Most of the birds were Reed and Sedge Warblers but also a few others as Little Bitterns, White-breasted Kingfisher, Barred and Eastern Orphean Warbler (which are irregular in the Hula valley as most of their migration takes place over Israel's central mountain ridge).

Little Bittern

Sedge Warbler

White-breasted Kingfisher

Hula Valley

May started with massive mornings at JBO. 240 birds on 01/05 with a good fall of Blackcaps and 10 Pied Flycatchers. On 04/05 100 birds, first Spotted Flycatcher for me this spring, good species richness and good numbers of Barred Warblers and Masked Shrikes.

Masked Shrike

First tern session took place on the night between Wednesday and Thursday in Atlit salt pans. This was a great night just after dusk a large flock of migrant Common Terns arrived at the site. 121 terns were caught, 8 Little and 113 Common Terns; two Little Terns were controls from last summer.

Little Tern

Last Friday (06/05) I was ringing at Tzoraa valley ringing station. It was a slower morning after a busy week - only 50 birds were ringed, but I was pleased with a beautiful Turtle Dove ringed and with finding a Spur-winged Lapwing family with four chicks near my ringing spot. They will get their rings as soon as they grow up a bit.

Turtle Dove