Thursday, June 16

Por la noche leones, por la manyana cajones

I had a fantastic day yesterday- good birds and other wildlife, Lunar eclipse and excellent company!
I started the morning with some slow ringing at the IBRCE, missing Itai's Arctic tern.
This cool fledgling Little Green Bee Eater really made me smile! It's such a sweet Bird!

I was surprised to see that the streamers were not only not longer than the rest of the rectrices but even shorter!

At noon I started the long drive up to southern dead see area. I arrived and met up with Yoav, Ron, Shahar and Eli. Quickly we got to the ringing location- an agricultural rubbish tip:

Temperatures were quite comfortable at around 35c( the hour was 6 PM…) and not so many flies were bugging us. You may be thinking we are lunatics, opening mist nets in one of israel's hottest places, in a location infested with House Sparrows and Palm Doves…well, you are not so far away from the truth! But obviously our target was not the sparrows.
This area is Israel's last stronghold of the extremely endangered Nubian Nightjars. Some 20 pairs are breeding in the Tamarix saltmarsh found in the area. This habitat is on the brink of extinction, mostly due to agricultural cultivation of the Arava Valley. Being a representing species of this habitat, the Nubian Nightjar was a common Breeder along the Eastern valleys of Israel  until the last decades of the 20th century, and since his population in decreasing dramatically. Nowdays, when the last remains of the salt marshes are found on minefields, thus left untouched so far, these amazing night birds are facing extinction in Israel!
Yoav did hid Msc work about the nightjars and now, keeping an eye opened for them, trying to monitor the population by ringing. The trapping was successful, and 2 birds were ringed. Apart from Nightjars we had 3 bat species caught in our nets.
Shahar and Eli watching the eclipse-

I really enjoyed spending the night out with the team. Thanks Yoav for the ride, beer and good time!
For nice photos and more details check out Yoav Perlman's Blog(on the link list).

Tomorrow morning I'm out on the boat with Avi. Hope to get some hot stuff, and maybe solve the weird shearwater mystery…

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