Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Mt. Hermon and more

Last Friday (15/11) we ringed on Mt. Hermon. It's the highest point in Israel and a very interesting site obtain data on northern and eastern species that are uncommon in Israel. My primary aim was to obtain moult data on Red-fronted Serins, that were seen there recently in good numbers. We ringed a total of 359 birds, most were Chaffinch; interesting species included 1 Radde's Accentor, 1 Red-fronted Serin and 3 Yellowhammers that are uncommon in Israel.

Radde's Accentor

Red-fronted Serin - juvenile

Yellowhammer - male

On Thursday I was surprised to find a Little Bunting in the net in Tzor'a. It's a good rarity in Israel, but it's a special year for this species and this is the 3rd found in Israel this autumn.

Little Bunting

I continue my work in Beit-Shean Valley, no great surprises in this area lately, but Dead-sea Sparrows are always nice to ring.

Dead-sea Sparrow

Thanks to Francis, Ron, Yael, Rafi and Amir for their help.

Monday, 21 October 2013

September to mid October

I continued with the intensive work in the Beit She'an Valley to collect moult data. This period produced more than 1200 birds ringed of 65 different species. The interesting or irregular species in my nets were 1 Little Grebe, 3 Teals, 1 Black Stork (in mist net…), 1 Temminck's Stint, 6 Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, 2 Red-throated Pipit, 1 Tawny Pipit, 12 White Wagtail, 313 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Citrine Wagtail, 19 Isabelline Wheatear, 2 Eastern Stonechat, 67 Cetti's Warbler (big number), and 43 Desert Finch.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Desert Finch

Little Bittern

Tawny Pipit

Isabelline Wheatear

Citrine Wagtail - adult female

Eastern Stonechat - first year male

Little Grebe


Black Stork

In Tzor'a Valley I worked intensively during 20-24 September. This session produced also nice figures, 1400 birds of 35 different species. Most were Swallows (370) and Willow Warblers (700). Two interesting species were Balkan Warbler and Common Rosefinch.

Yellow Wagtail - adult male

Common Rosefinch

Thanks to Ron Efrat, Ezra Jasper, Arad Ben-David 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.

European Bee-eater - second year after partial moult

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Hot and damp and hot… but with many birds!

Recently I started working more intensively in the Bet She'an Valley. My aim is to collect moult data of passerines that are uncommon or are not found in my regular sites. Those species are especially the local breeding species like 'transitiva' Barn Swallow, Clamorous Reed-Warbler and Dead-sea Sparrow, and also uncommon migrants. The highest temperature ever documented in Israel was in the Bet She'an Valley - 54°C. With the many fishponds, reed-beds and swamps humidity in the valley is very high too.
In two mornings (Friday and Tuesday) I ringed 294 birds including some interesting species: 3 Little Bitterns, 1 Scops Owl, 15 Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, 47 Clamorous Reed-Warblers (this is the annual total at my regular site, in Tzor'a), 4 Dead-sea Sparrows and many others. In total 24 different species.
Thanks to Ron and Kobi for their assistance.

Dead-sea Sparrow - male

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater - adult

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater - juvenile

Scops Owl

Monday, 17 June 2013

Mt. Hermon

Last days I spent on Mt. Hermon. This is a highest and northernmost point in Israel – its peak is over 2200 m; the result of this is a combination of breeding species of southern Europe, like Lesser Whitethroat and Eastern Orphean Warbler with Mediterranean and more eastern or Balkan specialties like Upcher's Warbler and Syrian Serin.

Rock Nuthatch - juveniles

On Thursday-Friday we performed our first session of the CES project there. We work in a drinking site and most birds caught were seed-eaters. The total was 164 birds: 'semirufus' Black Redstart (1), Blackbird (2), Common Bulbul (1), Blackcap (2), Common Whitethroat (15), Lesser Whitethroat (11), Eastern Orphean Warbler (2), Upcher's Warbler (1), Woodchat Shrike (2), Sombre Tit (3), Great Tit (5), Rock Nuthatch (3), Linnet (66), Goldfinch (16), Greenfinch (1), Syrian Serin (11), House Sparrow (12), Rock Bunting (5) and Corn Bunting (2).

Adult Common Whitethroat after partial post-breeding moult

Sombre Tit

Recently, during the SPNI breeding bird survey of the mountain, discovered a small population of breeding Chiffchaffs were discovered in one specific wadi; this is more than 500 km from the southern known population of any species / subspecies of the Chiffchaff complex. To obtain more data on those birds we ringed on Sunday at this site. We caught 3 individuals together with a nice variety of typical woodland species.

Later on that day we colour-ringed western Rock Nuthatches as part of a research by Amir Ben-Dov; we ringed 7 individuals in 4 separate territories. All adults started their post-breeding complete moult already.

Thanks to Nadav, Francis, Amir and all other participants in the Hermon ringing.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Terns - the opening shot

I began the tern ringing season with four tight sessions, 30/4-08/5. This period is normally very productive with the peak of tern migration, and then numbers normally reduce when the breeding birds start laying eggs. We enjoyed nice totals including some nice shorebirds and interesting controls.

Little Tern

The first was a Common Tern ringed in Ukraine and second was from Poland. Another nice control was of a Little Tern I ringed as juvenile in July 2011 and now returned for its first breeding season.



The total is 214 birds by this list:
1 Pied Kingfisher
3 Common Ringed Plover
1 Temminck's Stint
25 Little Stint
2 Ruff
1 Wood Sandpiper
1 Bar-tailed Godwit
3 Slender-billed Gull
31 Little Tern
142 Common Tern
1 Black Tern
1 Barn Swallow
1 Thrush Nightinale
1 Common Nightingale

Bar-tailed Godwit

Black Tern

During the next few weeks I will stop ringing near the breeding colony, not to disturb the sensitive colony. This is Israel's largest tern colony. Meanwhile I will observe the colony using our web camera from my house - much better observation conditions! During the last week I produced some nice recoveries of our ringed birds, when I sit more than 60 km from the events.


Thanks to my helpers for the strenuous work this time: Ron, Hans, Yoram, Eilon, Rafi, Arad, Re'a, Adiv, Gay, Michael, Sapir and Yoval.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Early spring

Last week, my first visit to my CES site produce a Ukrainian-ringed Chiffchaff.  Apart from this surprise I ringed in Tzor'a and in Modiin Hills the predicted species for this season, mostly Lesser Whitethroats, Blackcaps and Reed Warblers.
Two mornings in JBO in late March produced two Subalpine Warblers - very nice species I haven't ringed for a very long.

Subalpine Warbler - male

Subalpine Warbler - female

Subalpine Warbler - female


Ukrainian Chiffchaff


Penduline Tit - female