Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Smelly sweet

Yesterday (24/01) I ringed around some Mediterranean Stinkbushes (Anagyris foetida) near one of my sites. Apart for having a very offensive smell, it's one of only few winter flowering bushes in the Mediterranean zone. In this cold season the sweet nectar is a very important energy source for many passerines and insects, especially for the nectar specialized Palestine Sunbird (Nectarinia osea). In the early morning I caught birds coming to the nectar: Palestine Sunbirds, Spectacled Bulbuls, Chiffchaffs and Sardinian Warblers. Later in the morning, while the air was warming up, the birds disappeared but my nets were full of bees.

Palestine Sunbird - male

Mediterranean Stinkbush

Palestine Sunbird - female

In this time of year, even though the winter is still here in full blast, we start to find early signs of spring. These included full song of Graceful Prinias, blackening throat of White Wagtails and blackening head pattern of this beautiful second year Reed Bunting.

Reed Bunting

Friday, 20 January 2012

Freeze and rain

Yesterday (19/01) I joined Yotam, Yoav and other ringers to a special operation in the Uvda Valley (S Negev). This is a third ringing session of Yotam in this site and our target was to catch desert's larks. We set up 570 m mist-nets in the frozen early morning. Our catch included 30 birds: 9 Temminck's Larks, 5 Bar-tailed Larks, 4 Desert Larks, 8 Trumpeter Finches, 2 Spanish Sparrows, 1 Blackstart and 1 Mourning Wheatear. We folded the nets in the rain, possibly the only rain event of this year in this arid zone.

Temminck's Lark - male

Temminck's Lark - left: male, right: female

Bar-tailed Lark

Trumpeter Finch - male

In the afternoon we returned to the wagtail roost, my regular site (about 200 km N), but rain interrupted our session. Despite the rain, we recaptured the Common Rosefinch I ringed in late December. This exceptional bird has yellowish plumage, otherwise it's just a normal Common Rosefinch - I would be very glad to get some feedback on this bird.

More details about the Uvda ringing in IBRCE and Yoav's websites.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Tzor'a Valley Ringing - 2011 summary

During 2011 my ringing totals were 6783 birds of 83 species, during 106 ringing sessions. This my second-best annual total, after the exceptionally high effort of 2008 that produced 14000 birds (see figure). Another 1354 birds were recaptured, 3 of them with foreign rings and 5 Israeli controls from other ringing sites.

Dominant species were Barn Swallow (22.2%), Eurasian Reed Warbler (12.1%), White Wagtail (12.0%), Chiffchaff (8.0%), Willow Warbler (6.3%), Bluethroat (3.9%), Chaffinch (3.6%), Yellow Wagtail (3.5%), Blackcap (3.5%) and Cetti's Warbler (2.1%).
Exceptionally good passage was noted during autumn migration (see figure).

Tzor'a had six new bird species ringed during 2011: Ringed Plover, Ruff, Pintail Snipe, European Nightjar, Hoopoe and Red-breasted Flycatcher.
The ringing work during 2011 based on my loyal volunteers. 42 different volunteers participated in 2011's ringing - huge thanks to them. Also we unveiled the new Cetti's Warbler logo. Already on 01/01/2012 I produced an annual ringing report, in Hebrew, but hopefully I will produce an English one soon.
During the last days we ringed only in the wagtail roost; the numbers went down and the rainy weather also hampered our ringing efforts. So, I look forward to spring and to another nice year.

Annual ringing report