Thursday, 20 February 2014

Ringing Break

With ringing in February as slow as Martin Demichelis (the centre half of man city for those only interested in tits and bulbuls), I joined with Meidad for a night safari deep in the Judean desert in search of the legendary Hume's owl. We met with Yoav Pearlman and his group of Dutch birders at the entrance to a wadi and after introductions, coffee and with darkness setting in, the tape of the owls call was played. after what seemed like a lifetime of waiting, nothing and so with the light of the full moon of we set deeper into the wadi. two more stops like the first and was this going to be my normal wildlife experience, well no because on the fourth stop about 2km into the wadi and with everyone becoming resigned to missing out, the unmistakable call was heard. Yoav quickly located the bird with his spotlight and everyone got some terrific views of this almost mythical bird. with everyone well chuffed Yoav suggested we go see the Nubian nightjars that were close by. So two lifers in the night made for a very satisfying and enjoyable evening. many thanks to Yoav for letting us join. And here's a couple of photos taken by Meidad.

Hume's Owl

Nubian nightjar

Sunday, 2 February 2014

New Year: new commitment

So the New Year brings a resolution that i will update this blog on a regular basis.
January in the life of a bird ringer is not the most exciting month. There are very few birds around, and out patch is virtually empty of overwintering it was with great anticipation that Eran and I set off for Nafcha sewage ponds. We set up nets in the olive grove, among the grape vines and around the pond and low and behold we caught birds, 30 new birds, that's not many i hear you cry, but last January we caught only 26 in 12 sessions at the pistachio plantation. So this was were the birds hung out during winter. Another session was organised and guests were invited. Francis came from the far away Hula and Yoram and Nevo Biton came from the much closer Yoracham. there was a high number of re-traps showing this to be a major wintering site for some species, but there was still 26 new birds to keep us happy including a first for the Ramat Hanegev region. Looking like an undersized water pipit with a faint buffish tinge to the underparts, paler lores and a weaker bill with more reddish brown legs, yes you've guessed it we had a buff-bellied pipit. only a handful of these arecaught within Israel every year so that was a good way to start the year!

Buff-bellied pipit