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|