Monday, 27 February 2012

Tzor'a birds - late February

Most of our recent ringing efforts were put towards the local White Wagtail roost. Our winter total is already up to 1100 individuals ringed. It's a relatively high effort for Israel, with the same effort on this species only 20-25 years ago. Now towards the spring migration the wagtails perform a partial moult, including tertials, inner GC and body feathers. Their plumage is more attractive with new and shiny feathers and black throat.
Around the reservoir the winter is still on. On Friday only 42 birds were caught with only local and wintering birds: Chiffchaffs, Chaffinches, Bluethroats, Moustached Warbler and local Cetti's Warblers. During this quiet morning we had time to prepare the area for spring migration by opening the old net rides. We also enjoyed some birding: Black-necked Grebe is not a common bird in our pond and this one gave long and close views.

Black-necked Grebe

Go on our way out of the area, in a muddy puddle we saw this 2cy Citrine Wagtail feeding with White Wagtails and Skylarks. This species is uncommon in Tzor'a Valley, until today only two were ringed.

Citrine Wagtail

Besides that Common Swift and first Barn Swallows gave a nice drinking show, later joined by migrant House Martin. Around the reservoir we heard some Water Rails and near our ringing table we had a Little Crake, also a nice bird for Tzor'a.

On Thursday we controlled a Penduline Tit in the wagtail roost, ringed at Nativ Ha'Lamed Hei (16 km) in December 2011. Earlier this week a ringed Spur-winged Lapwing was observed; it was also ringed at Nativ Ha'Lamed Hei, in 2009 (9 km).

White Wagtail: with (left) and without (right) black throat 

Active moult: tertials and inner GC growing

Thanks to Ezra Jasper for the help and images.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Regards from Poland

In April 2009 I ringed in one of an important stopover site in southern Israel, Neot-Smadar - just N of Eilat, about 200 km S of my regular area. It was a short but very productive ringing session, only three ringing actions (morning-evening-morning) produce about 1000 birds ringed. These included two foreign controls: Barn Swallow from Greece and Blackcap from Hungary, and another Blackcap from Eilat Ringing Station was recaptured. Last week I received another reminder to the importance of that site, as I received a report from Poland about another Blackcap that was found dead in eastern Poland - 2700 km N.
After a rainy week, I ringed on Friday (03/02). The catch included many Spectacled Bulbuls, 1 Starling, 3 Linnets and other winter birds.