zondag 29 april 2012

Sunday's Sanderling

After the two reported Sanderlings by Maarten Kaales at the Veenoordkolk near Deventer yesterday, we had to go back today to see them ofcourse, as it would be a new tick for my county!

Ossenwaard was on first, but apart from 3 Ruffs, a few Little Ringed Plovers, singing Yellow Wagtails and a thermal of 8 White Storks there was nothing else. From there we drove to the Veenoordkolk where we started scanning for the Sanderlings. It took us some time, but as we were at the end of the strip of land near the river we found one Sanderling foraging on the grass close to the edge of the water. Cool! The bird was moulting into summer plumage.
Sanderling (Calidris alba), images by Tammo Meijer

Other birds of interest were 6 Little Ringed Plovers, 10+ Common Sandpipers, a male Ruff and last but not least a nice group of 7 adult summer plumage Little Gulls migrating north, in a steady pace. 
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)

Tomorrow I'll have my first ringing session of the season at my CES site, exciting!

zaterdag 28 april 2012

IJssel: always has a surprise!

The morning was rainy but the afternoon was much better. A reasonable temperature and dry skies, good weather for birding! My dad and I did a little tour along the IJssel. We started off at the Rammelwaard, hearing my first Common Whitethroats and Lesser Whitethroats and Yellow Wagtails of the year (in NL ofcourse :)) For the rest not much of interest.
Adding some colour to this dreary day.

We continued to the Yperenbergplas, where we soon found a Little Owl perched on a small pole in the meadow. Too bad it flew off pretty soon. On the Yperenbergplas itself there was a group of 29 Common Terns hunting. Here we saw our first Swifts, a group of 7 birds, hunting above the lake. In the mean time a male Ruff flew by and landed in the meadows, next to the displaying Black-tailed Godwits and Redshanks.
 Little Owl (Athene noctua). Perched.
Well hidden.

From here we drove further north. After a quick scan with my binoculars over the Veenoordkolk and Teugse Kolk I saw nothing special, but I decided to grab the telescope. After a short scan I discovered a county tick for us: a beautiful pair of Mediterranean Gulls was standing along the shore! We quickly got in the car and crossed the IJssel to see the pair from up close. We succeeded!
The pair of Mediterranean Gulls (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus), both 3cy birds. One bird (male probably) was calling instantly, what a great call!

Too bad to hear that an hour after we left, Maarten Kaales found 2 Sanderling at the exact same spot where we saw the Med Gulls.. That would have been another county tick! Well, tomorrow is another day!

vrijdag 27 april 2012

Because House Sparrows are too mainstream

I ringed this clearly overweight individual this morning in my garden:
Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)
Wing of the Wood Pigeon, >2cy

After the morning's session I set off to my ringing site on the Veluwe. It was great driving through the forests and hearing all the returned passerines. Activity everywhere! Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Redstarts, Pied Flycatchers, Song Thrush etc, everything was singing. In the more open areas Wood Larks and Yellowhammers were numerous, as well as a few singing Stonechats. All species of tits were active as well.
Great habitat to drive through in this season!
 Radio Kootwijk, with the cathedral in the back.
Hoog Buurlo

At my ringing site I checked a few nestboxes that have been hung there. Quite a few were occupied. In one nest I already found few days old chicks (1 day old?) of Great Tits.

woensdag 25 april 2012

This was it!

My glorious adventure in Israel has ended! Back to the confrontating truth!

It feels so weird to be back home now, waking up, without hearing any singing Bulbuls or Laughing Doves, yes I miss Israel already.. But hey, it feels good to have a sleep-in for a change :)

I had my last morning at the JBO yesterday. It was a great ending of a enjoyable week in Jerusalem. 2 Nightjars in the early morning, and a River Warbler later in the morning were the definite highlights! Thanks to all the nice people from the JBO for the past week!

Then it was time to check out from the Abraham Hostel and wait for the airport taxi. I arrived around 14:00 at Ben Gurion Airport. After the check-in I ate some pizza of the Pizzahut and continued my way through customs. At 16:50 the plane would leave. I was a bit sleepy so I fell asleep as soon as we got in to the plane. I woke up after an hour, still under the impression that we still hadn't taken off yet, but we were flying above the Mediterranean Sea, leaving me a bit disoriented haha.

At 21:15, Middle-European summer time, we landed at Schiphol airport. I picked up my baggage quickly from the baggage hall and then at the arrival hall, I saw my family again after two months :)

 Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana), I had my big lens with me, but the light was still terrible in the early morning..
A Jackal came out in the open, to relax a little bit near the water, such a dog!
Thrush Nightingale (Luscinia luscinia) , foraging in front of the hide
European Nightjars (Caprimulgus europaeus), both were males, on distinctively bigger and more defined (better looking) than the other. The wings were respectively 195 mm and 210 mm (210 was out of the 'normal range' for Capeur!) 
Note the differences.
And an overall shot of the best-looking one of the two.
River Warbler (Locustella fluviatilis)

And one more interesting picture from a Pied Flycatcher from monday the 23rd. On the right wing, p5 had dropped out for some reason, and it was now full regrown again, the new p5 showed a white spot on the shaft, unlike the left wing...! The photos below will illustrate this:

Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca), overall shot
 Left wing
Right wing

Bye bye Israel!

zondag 22 april 2012

Remember, 4 is a very good age

Ringing has been excellent the past two days at the JBO with today 195 birds spread over 23 species and yesterday 185 of 20 species.

We had a Spotted Flycatcher on both days and also few Pied Flycatchers were ringed. Yesterday there were 3 adult males Collared Flycatcher around at the ringing site, but none were caught. This morning however, we ringed two females Collared Flycatchers. Barred Warblers have been ringed in reasonable numbers which is really nice :D Also we ringed about 5 Thrush Nightingales on both days.

Another highlight from today was a pretty Icterine Warbler. A Spotted Crake has been present at the small pool for a few days already, but today was the first time it showed really well. It was bathing for a few seconds in the pool. I forgot to mention that there was also a Corncrake around for a few days.

 The JBO with the city center of Jerusalem on the background.
 Ringing at the JBO
Groups of kids come every day and get educated on bird ringing!
 Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina)
Yael with the Icterine Warbler
Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

Some Pied Flycatcher wings:
 Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca), male
 Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca), male
 Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca), female

 Collared Flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis), female
Wing of the Collared.

Some wings of Barred Warblers:
 Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria), adult female, though the tertails (inner one moulted) and greater coverts (very worn) intrigue me..
 Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria), adult female
 Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria), young male, note the 3 inner moulted primaries.
Remember, 4 is a very good age! (as Roni likes to say it!)

vrijdag 20 april 2012

Ringing at the lowest place on earth

The time for my alarmclock was set at the ridiculous time of 3:20, to get ready for some ringing at the Dead Sea with Ron (Haran) & Ron (Efrat)!

At 4:00 they picked me up in the city and around 5:00 we arrived at the ringing site.The ringing site is a  special place, several springs stream (with hot water) from the mountains in to the Dead Sea.

After putting up 8 nets we could witness a beautiful sunrise. It was amazing to witness sunrise in such a wonderful place. A really special happening! I enjoyed every minute of it.
The ringing site

Loads of birds hopped from bush to bush, mainly Blackcaps, and eventually ended up in our mistnets. It was mainly Blackcaps, Blackcaps and again Blackcaps! But next to that the variety was also pretty good. I got a ringing tick: we ringed 2 Clamarous Reed Warblers. Furthermore we ringed some Great Reed Warblers, 3 Cetti's Warblers, Eastern Orphean Warblers, Eastern Olivaceous Warblers, 1 Dead-Sea Sparrow, 2 Ortolan Buntings, Tree Pipit and another highlight was a Barred Warbler. At the end of the morning we had caught 233 birds with 8 mistnets, incredible! 187 of them were the 'Kippa' Warblers as I like to call them.
 Cetti's Warbler
 Clamarous Reed Warbler
 Clamarous Reed and Great Reed Warbler
 Never posted a photo of a Bulbul before, so here it is!
These rule out all the Sylvia's for sure!

Birds around included White-breasted Kingfisher, quite a few Fan-tailed Ravens and Tristram's Grackles.

After the ringing we visited a place in the northern Dead Sea area where we saw 5 Namaqua Doves, what a lovely little doves with their long tail!
 Namaqua Dove
Ringing with Ron & Ron