Wednesday, July 27

better late then never

Yeah, I know it's been a week and a half since I got down from Israel's highest (and only?) mountain- the Hermon…I have very good excuses for not posting earlier, if any one has any wish of hearing them he may contact m privately :-P

Every second weekend July, we(Israel's ringers community) gather for a ringing session at the northern tip of our little country. Two afternoons and two mornings, in a compeltley different world-
The species caught make a rather unique list for us; mostly seedeaters, for some Mt. Hermon is the only breeding area in Israel.
The Syrian Serin might be the best example.

Rock Buntings make a good Hermon specialty.

These may be the most vulnerable birds in hand. Therefore we try to handle them as quickly and minimally as possible to avoid injuries.
In most years Pale Rock Sparrows are found breeding only on the Hermon. Some springs, mostly rainy ones generate massive influxes of up to thousand of pairs nesting in the desert areas of Israel. This species is not caught yearly during the Hermon ringing session. This time  we got 2 fledglings!

Not every day you get a Pale Rock Sparrows in hand!

Not a seedeater but nevertheless a distinctive Hermon specialty- Semirufus Black Redstart, female.

Some badass species are residential, and seen year round on the Hermon, typically they are not found anywhere else in Israel. Somber Tit is one of them, this one is a juv.

It may sound weird to you Europeans, but here Nuthatches are a real attraction! Only one species, only one location- Western Rock Nuthatch

This year a whole family of them was jumping on the rocks around our ringing site, giving great entertainment.

Only one was caught and well photographed!

Some other good Hermon breeders-
A Rock Sparrow, juv.   

Black Headed Bunting, male after post-nuptial moult. Most of these stunners are probably gone and on their way to India.

Linnet, among the commonest species on the mt.

Our ringing site- artificial ponds, at around 1700m above sea level.

Thousands of tiny Green Toads Bufo viridis were jumping about, on the pond's banks…

 "Chavooshit" peak above us-the highest areas inhabit tragacanth vegetation with alpine climate.

 That's how it looks when the birds arrive from the nets-

And that what happens when the sun get high and birds are scarce…

Cool birds and large numbers to be ringed are among the virtues of the Mt. Hermon ringing session. Though, if you would ask me, Hermon ringing is really about meeting friends from all over the country, have great time and laughs in one of Israel's most incredible locations  , and above all eating "Shamy" mulberries(an amazing breed f mulberries, tasting like nothing else and painting your limbs and face with blood red colour) on the way down ,where one of Israel's best trees is growing just on the road!
Yoav and Eli claiming their share of the fruit, monkey style…

Special thanks to the incredible Hula Valley ringing team for the great organizing and running of the ringing session!
See you all next year(if the army allows…)

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