Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Early Start

I thought i would make use of the extra hour of morning daylight to put up a new line of nets, so i dragged myself of the couch (my parents are here and have our bed) at 5:00 and cycled to the pistachio patch, opened up the nets and got to work clearing the salt bush plants from between the lines of pistachio, when i disturbed a long snake, it was well over a metre so i chased it hoping to get better views but lost it in the dense undergrowth, i believe it was a species of Racer (Colubra sp.), but my knowledge of Israeli snakes isn't great. then on my way back to my ringing table i noticed a Levants sarrowhawk sitting calmly in a tree. i grabbed for my camera, shit!! i'd left it at home. he then flew to the Eucalyptus tree between  my table and a couple of nets. Dudu and Lenny arrived then but still no camera apart from Lennys little instamatic effort, so no pictures of the bird unfortunately. he then decided to chase every bird we released, flying into our shade tree on one occasion, without success, before heading off north in search of greener pastures.

Monday, 28 March 2011

back on the patch

I've just got back from a trip to the north where i managed a couple of days birding and a day ringing in the Agmon with my fellow compatriot Francis. After seeing my first little crake the previous day it was great to get one in the hand, anyway i digress from what i'm supposed to write about that is birds here in the desert. After a very brief afternoon session where i did some repairs and put up a new net, i got 5 birds including a third Crezschmars bunting and a Wryneck. this morning i was joined by Lenny for his penultimate session before his journey home to the US. Bird numbers were still on the low side for this time of year with just 16 birds, but there were some nice individuals in the total. A further wryneck and the Masked shrike Lenny had demanded the previous day being the pick of the bunch.


Masked shrike

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Raining Chiffchaffs

after a number of disappointing mornings, it was a relief to finally have a decent number of birds in the nets. A total of 19 chiffchaffs found there way into the nets which was a station record, only falling a couple short of Eyal's Beer Sheva high for a regional record. there were also a few sylvia warblers around. Then as we were putting the nets away we were greeted with the sight of a net full of Spanish sparrows, just what the doctor ordered. it raised all our spirits after the dismal recent mornings.

Male Spanish sparrow


Wednesday, 16 March 2011

For a moment i thought spring was here!!

But alas i was mistaken by a relatively busy (at this months rates) net round. But alas this was not the case and things were back too normal thereafter. We did however have a few nice birds, with Meidad and Lenny getting to ring there first Crezschmar's bunting, there was also a couple of male Ehrenberg's redstart and a Corn bunting. so at the moment i feel a bit like those guys who go fishing and dont catch anything, still it gets me out the house and away from the wife and kids for a few hours even if they are still sleeping.

Ehrenberg's Redstart

Female Crezschmar's bunting

Monday, 14 March 2011

Where are all the birds?

There are very few migrants around at the moment, most mornings we have been catching around 10 birds, with chiffchaffs and spanish sparrows in the ascendancy. A couple of savi's warblers was a nice start to last week and yesterday we had a beautiful male ruppells warbler. there were a few quails around the pistachio plot, but only 1 found its way into the nets and a hunting sparrowhawk managed to avoid them completely. With the recent cold front showing signs of disappearing lets hope the birds decide its time to move north.

adult male Ruppels warbler

Savi's warbler