Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Doing it for the Money

one of the pleasing aspects of my hobby is that occasionally someone pays me money to do it. I have been asked a few times now to clear large greenhouses of nuisance birds. The latest of these was at Kibbutz Alumim in the western Negev, I removed 25 birds that they believed were damaging their peppers, mostly White Wagtails and Crested Larks, but also Bluethroats, Stonechat, Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler that must have been trapped there for a few months, i just hope the experience of being trapped for the winter didn't affect their ability to migrate.

Another way of earning extra money is through guiding both at my local ringing station and out and about, such as today's session in Park Eshkol and next week at Yerocham Lake. It's a really pleasing feeling showing birds to kids and adults and seeing the various emotions on their faces when they come face to face with an actual bird, I hope every one gets as much out of the experience as me and hopefully we may meet some of the kids in years to come out and about with binoculars or helping on a ringing station somewhere.

Kindergarten children getting up close with a blackcap

My Daughter Maya getting ready to release a Reed Warbler during her kindergarten  visit

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The Darkest Hours are Always Before the Storm.... I Hope

February came and went in one icy blast. Bird numbers were extremely low around my nets, so low that I shifted my focus to catching Tristrams Grackles in the university cactus garden where they come to feed on the Aloe. I managed to net 31 of these handsome but noisy birds my best years total yet. The winter here in the Negev seems to be dragging on and it seems to me to be the longest and coldest since i came here in 2006, the last weekend in the month even brought some snow with it, which even if you have  seen as much snow as me, is a spectacular sight in the desert. immediately after the storm a large flock of Spanish Sparrows boosted the months total and the first migrants started showing up (excusing the December and January Blackcaps as i'm never sure which way they're heading). We also had a couple of Foreigners drop in, previously i'd had two in 7 years, but two more arrived in the space of a week firstly a Blackcap with a German ring and secondly a Lesser Whitethroat with a Belgian ring. I also had 10 long term re-captures, ie birds caught over 1 year ago, of which 8 were migrant species. It's always nice to welcome old friends and I wish I could have seen the places they have in the last year. Heres hoping to a fruitful March.

2cy male Tritrams Grackle

One good thing that all the rain has brought is a splendid show of desert flowers such as this Tulip.

Snow near Mizpe Ramon