zaterdag 31 maart 2012

Just some pic's!

A short blog post today. I'll just post some photos of today:
 Isabelline Wheatear, female. Ringing tick!
 Little Bittern, female.
European Nightjar, female. We ringed one yesterday evening. What a cool bird! After seeing one hunting near the swallow nets at dusk, we caught one just a little bit later.
Explosive raptor migration this afternoon! Many buzzards and kites, and also an Egyptian Vulture and some Steppe Eagles.
 Olive-backed Pipit, another individual than yesterday.
 Roni and the Pied Wheatear.
Wryneck in the Date Palms.

At the North Beach one of the Brown Booby's was still present and when we drove back from the North Beach to the IBRCE we suddenly saw a raptor coming from the north. First impression: Osprey. Second impression: Bonelli's Eagle. Third impression and final answer: Crested Honey Buzzard! A different individual than the dark female bird of the Northern Date Palms. An adult male Crested Honey Buzzard passed by, quite closeby. And just this little trip out I decide not to take my camera with me.. always happens like this!

Edit: today during the ringing Christian and I had a great lifer: 2 Desert Finches flew by and stopped by to drink and gave great views. One of my species on the wishlist! 

vrijdag 30 maart 2012

More Israeli ticks!

After some peak days with 600 birds it is slowing down clearly with less new birds and many recaptures. Today we had 250 new birds and lots of recaptures. It is nice to have some relaxing during the morning, and not ring ring ring! A new and recap Scops Owl were found in the mistnets this morning.  Today saw a clear increase in shrikes with about 6 Woodchat Shrikes and 3 Masked Shrikes, there was an increase in Nightingales as well. Also, we ringed the 2nd Great Reed Warbler of the season. More noteworthy birds ringed were 4 Ortolan Buntings.
 Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) , adult male. Wonderful male!
Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)

After ringing we headed to the datepalms to look for the Olive-backed Pipit that has been avioding us for quite a while now. It didn't take long before Roni found an Olive-backed Pipit! A life bird! The bird is moulting heavily so it is not a real beauty. Nevertheless an Israeli tick.
Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni), ugly bird!
Balkan Warbler (Phylloscopus orientalis), lots of them around in the Date Palms.
 Quite a few Semi-collared Flycatchers (Fidecula semitorquata) around, showing well.
This individual was a bit odd looking, with very little white near the bill and no white on the median coverts. Tail pattern was good for Semi-collared Fly. Hybrid?

After this visit we went to the SPNI Field School south of Eilat, near the coral reef. A Yellow-browed Warbler has been lingering around here for a few days now. It didn't take us long to relocate the bird. So this is what a spring bird looks like! Ugly!
Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus)

donderdag 29 maart 2012

Herons don't need fish

The trend of high numbers keeps continueing, eventhough today wasn't as spectacular as the last two days. Still about 400 birds in the morning. A really nice variety of birds today with Ortolan Bunting, Hoopoe, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Wryneck, some Rüppel's and next to that the first Great Reed Warbler of the season. Only the second one ever for me in the hand, what a monster!

We closed early, around 11:00 and did some things. We put our crake traps in place again since a beautiful Baillon's Crake is wandering around near the nets. Roni and I saw it without binoculars at 2 meters distance, great! Too bad I didnt't take my camera with me, that would've been amazing photos!

While I was having a good and needed afternoon nap I suddenly woke up and looked up: Christian was standing in the doorway with a nice Squacco Heron! The Squacco Heron was trapped in our heron trap. The funny thing is, is that we still need to put fish in the heron trap in order to attract the herons, but apparently that isn't needed!

Furthermore, the first real Bee-eaters have arrived, with a flock of more than 20 birds migrating by over the IBRCE park this morning. Also, a Caspian Tern has been lingering above the IBRCE pond for a while and every morning we see flocks of Night Herons. 

No birding this afternoon, just some relaxing. In the evening we will ring some swallows and afterwards, we will go to the lecture of Martin Garner at the Eilat Birds Festival!

 Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana), male
 Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)
Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides), adult

woensdag 28 maart 2012

Leuke vogels

Lack of inspiration for a blog title made me do the blog title simply in Dutch. Today and yesterday were BIG days with in total 1100 new birds (in just two days!)... Large numbers of Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroats and also good numbers of Rueppel's Warblers (plusminus 35 ringed the last two days) and many Balkan Warblers passed through the station these days. Also we broke the record of Cyprus Warblers with the 10th of the season being ringed yesterday! Today in the first round we had two Scops Owls and also yesterday in the late morning one was in one of the Heligolands!
 Full nets, mainly Blackcaps and Lesser Whitethroats
Israeli's ringing only!

Yesterday, the 27th, in the afternoon we went to Uvda for the Basalt Wheatear that is still present. It wasn't at its usual spot so first we did some birding in the area. First lifer was a pretty large flock of 60+ Spotted Sandgrouse flying and sitting around on the plateau. Other birds around were a couple of Mourning Wheatears, a female Hooded Wheatear, a male Desert Wheatear and the usual Isabelline Wheatears. Later in the afternoon the we saw the Basalt Wheatear, what a cool bird! It wasn't really close but we had good views of the bird, also in flight.
Overview on the IBRCE park, saltpans and Jordan.
Uvda Valley, the site of the Basalt Wheatear

Today, the 28th, we went for Yotvata in the afternoon. Our target birds were Bimaculated Lark, maybe Caspian Plover and Hoopoe Lark. We did some driving around without many birds. Just some normal migrants, such as Masked Shrikes, Blue Rock Thrush and many pipits, buntings and larks. After some driving around we parked the car and walked to the middle of the Northern Circular Field. Here we quickly found a ringtail Pallid Harrier and there was a single Crane foraging in the field. Eventually we saw a few Bimaculated Larks, large monsters!
Masked Shrike, Yotvata fields
Many birders at Yotvata fields today, including one birding group of BirdingBreaks!

After some good icecream we checked the sewage ponds of Yotvata resulting in a Spotted Crake that has been present here for several days and a male Citrine Wagtail!

Citrine Wagtail, male
Find the Spotted Crake!

maandag 26 maart 2012

110% ringing

Menetries's Warbler, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Pied Wheatear and a big female Sparrowhawk were the highlights today with ringing... What an incredible amount of (rare) birds here at the moment... Just simply amazing! Lots and lots of ringing today, a good 400 birds day.

 Menetries's Warbler (Sylvia mystacea), 2cy male
 Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka), 2cy male. This Pied Wheatear was just hanging in between the swallows during the evening session...!
And while I was relaxing at the ringing station I saw a raptor flying around in trap 1. I grabbed a big net and ran as fast as I could into the trap. A beautiful adult female Sparrowhawk was in the trap. Great!

In the afternoon we did a quick twitch. We went for the reported Striated Scops Owl at Kibbutz Samar. It didn't take us long to relocate our first Striated Scops Owl!
Striated Scops Owl (Otus brucei)

On our way back we went to the city where the parks were packed with birds: cleary huge arrival of Red-throated Pipits, Balkan Wagtails, Tawny Pipits and Cretzchsmar's Buntings
Red-throated Pipits (Anthus cervinus) walking 'just' along the pavement.
This Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola) was present at the saltpans near the IBRCE. A fine individual.

Next to all this, the 2nd day of the Eilat Bird Festival has ended today! I'm curious about what all the tours have seen today, probably a lot of good birds;) Yesterday evening we went to the opening of the festival in the Red Sea Isrotel which was very nice. The website of the Eilat Bird Festival: !

zondag 25 maart 2012

Busy days

The last two days we've been pretty busy with bird ringing with many people around so I can say I am pretty tired right now. Birds, birds and birds! Every morning we do ringing and most of the nights also swallow ringing and in the afternoon we osome trap fixing or birdwatching.

Still a lot of birds are around everywhere. There are quite a few Semi-collared Flycatchers present in most of the Date Palm plantations and Pied Wheatears are regularly seen as well, especially in the Northern Date Palm Plantation. Yesterday a first for Israel was discovered by two Dutch birders, Marc Guyt and Arjan van Egmond. They discovered a vittata 'morph' Pied Wheatear at the K20 Date palms. After seeing a few Pied Wheatears and a single Cyprus Wheatear (the 'first' Cyprus Wheatear that was found in the Northern Date Palms turned out to be a Pied) we quickly went for the Wheatear and soon we saw lots of cars and also lots of people. Our first Israeli twitch!

Highlights from ringing yesterday were Ortolan Bunting, some Steppe Buzzards, a female Sparrowhawk and a 'coutelli' Water Pipit. Today we had a small fall of Chiffchaffs, suddenly there was a flock of 80 birds hanging in just a few nets. Pretty impressive! We had a 2nd Semi-collared Flycatcher.

After some nap time we did a quick tour to K19 where we saw a 2nd year Bonelli's Eagle and hundreds of Short-toed Larks, some Red-throated Pipits, a few Turtle Doves and the Northern Date Palms held 2 male Semi-collared Flycatchers and an adult male Pied Wheatear.

 Ortolan Bunting
 Water Pipit 'couttellii'
 Sparrowhawk, 2nd year female
 Aviad with a nice Steppe Buzzard
Pied Wheatear 'vittata', adult male
 Bonelli's Eagle, 2nd year bird, K19
 Red-throated Pipit, K19 cowsheds
Semi-collared Flycatcher, 2nd year male, Northern Date Palms

vrijdag 23 maart 2012

Bity Bittern

Since a few days lots of people are around here at the ringing station. A group of really kind people from the North, Ma'agan Michael have come here for a few days to enjoy everything here. They come here every year during this time of year. They prepare lots of great food everyday so no one is starving!
Busy at the IBRCE!

Strong northern winds again with a pleasant temperature today. Ringing was normal this morning, quite a few birds including our 9th Cyprus Warbler of the season, an amazing male this time!

Sorry to bore you again with this Cyprus Warbler but I just can't resist to place of photo of this beautiful Sylvia! 

Around noon we got a call: staff of a five star hotel in Eilat had found a heron in their small decorated pond in the hotel. Roni, Avi & Christian went for it and came back with a huuuuge surprise!
A freaking Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)!!!

Bitterns are really rare here in the Eilat area so this was an exciting surprise. It was big individual, probably a male, and it was very alive!
High fashion with Mr. Vaisanen.

In the afternoon Christian, Roni and I went to Eilat to look for a Cinereous Bunting Christian, Roni and Avi had discovered after the Bittern catch. We didn't find it but we did find cool other birds. Such as Tawny Pipits, 60+ Cretzchsmar's Buntings, 2 Quails, Masked Shrike and a female Cyprus Warbler at Camel Ranch south of Eilat. 

Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris)
Cretzchsmar's Bunting (Emberiza caesia), Ofira Park
Also, we have our own 'House Redstart', it lives at the IBRCE for already two days!

donderdag 22 maart 2012

Wader Time!

21st of March:

After a shorter ringing session than usual, closing the nets around 11.15 we worked on the broken Heligoland trap and had some progress with the trap. While I did a nap Christian and Roni went to the city to do some things. Afterwards we grabbed all the wader traps and put them in place.

The first waders we ringed were some nice species! In the first trap we found a Marsh Sandpiper, already in summer plumage, awesome! The other traps held a Ringed Plover, 3 Little Stints and two Kentish Plover.
 Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
 Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)

Nothing really of interest this morning, although a Moorhen was a surprising catch in one of the crake traps. Also, we ringed the first Nightingale for the season. The day’s tally was 116 new and 21 retraps.

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

Again, the air was full of dust and there was not much to see; the raptors did decide to migrate a little though with a few tens of Steppe Buzzards and a few Steppe Eagles passing by. While working on the trap of small flock of White Storks flew by. The saltpans near the IBRCE park held some 11 Red-necked Phalaropes and a Greater Sand Plover.

Balkan Warbler 1 -
Barn Swallow 2 -
Blackcap 8 -
Bluethroat 6 – 2
Chiffchaff 13 – 4
Collared Dove 1 -
Common Nightingale 1 -
Common Whitethroat 6 – 2
Cretzchsmar’s Bunting 3 -
Eastern Orphean Warbler 3 – 2
Laughing Dove 1 -
Lesser Whitethroat 49 – 5
Moorhen 1 –
Quail – 1
Red-rumped Swallow 1 -
Redstart 7 – 2
Reed Warbler – 1
Rueppel’s Warbler 1 -
Sardinian Warbler 2 – 1
Spanish Sparrow 1 -
Swift 1 -
White-spectacled Bulbul – 1

TOTAL 116 – 21

Little Stint 3 –
Kentish Plover 2 -
Ringed Plover 1 -
Marsh Sandpiper 1 –

22nd of March:

The dust had cleared out of the sky and that with the clearance of dust we had a noticeable increase of birds. Quails were flushed often again and there was a lot of Steppe Buzzard migration.

As for the morning’s ringing: I only took part in the ringing session briefly as I started to feel really bad again; for a few days in a row now I’m suffering from sinusitis so I made the wise decision to gave the doctor visit, here in Eilat. I went together with Tzadok. The doctor subscribed me some antibiotics, I have to use three tablets a day. Hopefully things will get better for me soon!

The bird of the morning was a beeeeeeautiful adult male Semi-collared Flycatcher for sure. Marvelous things these flycatchers.  We had quite a good variety of waders this morning with a recapture Marsh Sandpiper, some Ruffs, a Redshank, quite a few Little Stints, Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper ringed in the morning. (Quite a few new ones for me in the hand today!)

Semi-collared Flycatcher (Fidecula semitorquata)
 Redshank (Tringa totanus)
 By far the ugliest Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) I've ever seen.
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)