Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Guns N' Roses

This mornign I went ringing at Ashdod. There was a bit of a weather change at night (from disgustingly hot to very hot) so I was hoping to have a good catch but in fact it was a rather quiet morning with few migrants on the ground. Quite many retraps from last week so it seems that few birds have arrived since then. The only bird worth mentioning was this adult Marsh Warbler:


Early in the morning I received a bombshell text from Yotam that he had just caught Israel's 8th Gropper (I still need it for my Israeli list). Good stuff! Hope we ALL have a good autumn (not only at Eilat).
Later in the morning I had a flyover 1cy Rose-coloured Starling. It flew out of sight with a myna; I went to search for it in the near area but no sign. Not bad (but not good enough).
Thanks to Arad for his help.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Good autumn ringing

Very hot and humid tyhis morning at Ashdod but migration is in full swing now, with lots of migrants. Birds carrying heavy loads of fat, and the Reed Warblers all have very long wings = northern origin.
Most charosmatic bird of the morning was Wryneck - always a pleasure to handle. Here it's doing its Wryneck things:



I was very pleased to catch a couple of Willow Warblers. In a couple of weeks I can expect to have large catches.

Willow Warbler - 2cy+

I caught one Common Nightingale - a rather large, dark and dull individual:


 Great Reed Warbler

Kingfisher - 1cy female

Some more migrants seen in the area included Honey Buzzard, Lesser Grey and Red-backed Shrikes, and some Savi's Warblers.
Many thanks to Liad and Miriam for their help.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Reflections of my Life

At last, after a long time without being able to get out to the field (family business etc.) I went to Nizzana sewage ponds this morning to count sandgrouse coming in to drink. As they arrive rather late in the morning I had some time to photograph the many shorebirds present in the main lagoon there. I spent the first half an hour of sun lying on my belly in the mud. Most birds kept their distance away from me, and the only birds that approached reasonabely were of the commoner species, but in total it was quite good and I can't complain. The water was very still of course, creating nice reflections with a pretty background. That was quite good because the birds themselves were doing nothing interesting so at least the reflections gave an added value to the images.
Again I discovered how much I hate to lay on my belly in the mud. It is not fun. My back and neck hurt like hell. I promise not to do it ever again (until next time...).

Wood Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper

Kentish Plover - 1cy (taken before sunrise)

Little Ringed Plover - 1cy

The Ubiquitous Spur-winged Lapwing (sorry for slicing the reflection)

One of many Black-winged Stilts

Not a shorebird - Eurasian Turtle Dove 1cy

The sandgrouse show was rather poor. Numbers were lower than I expected: 51 crowned, 33 black-bellied and only 27 spotted. Bad breeding season?

Spotted Sandgrouse

Crowned Sandgrouse

After the sandgrouse show was done I had a look around the ponds. Quite many ducks - 20 Gargeney and six Ferruginous Ducks. Scarcer shorebirds included Temminck's Stints and Marsh Sands. A few feldegg Yellow Wags flitting around in the vegetation.

Ferruginous Duck

Whiskered Tern - adult


Several Common Kingfishers feeding on god knows what:

Just as I was about to pack and leave this large cub Golden Jackal crossed my lens - too close for a complete shot:


And just to pay respect to the Marmalades:



Saturday, August 4, 2012

Oh whatever makes her unhappy on a Saturday morning

Despite my wife's objection left early this morning for some ringing. I was stuck indoors most of last week and i just had to be outdoors, see some birds and enjoy the silence. I went to check a new site not far away from my house. It's a rather major wadi called Wadi Grar. In this section of the wadi is the largest reedbed of the N Negev region. This was my first ringing effort there, and this site seems to have great potential. Habitat looks very good and in great contrast to the semi-arid surroundings.
I had a pretty good catch. Mainly Reed Warblers of course but a couple of other LBJ's too.

Rufous Bush Robin

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - 1cy


Midnight heat

Last night I was out for my monthly full-moon session at Neot Hakikar, to check for my nightjars. It was amazingly hot (the hottest day of the year perhaps). At 23:00 I measured 39 degrees! Damn that was hot. Nightjar activity was OK (not more) - despite the full moon and terrific moth activity few nightjars were out foraging, and most were hanging around inside the saltmarsh. Still I managed to get in touch with most pairs I needed. Juveniles have dispersed already. 
A nice bonus was two (or three) Pharaoh Eagle Owls - a large female and a tiny male in two different sites, plus another bird I saw inly briefly. They were quite jumpy so not even a record shot.