Sunday, September 4

Moonless nights

Ringing on
Moonless nights are known for being good for wader catching. So I spent three nights out at the salt ponds (30/31.8 1/2.9 and 3/4.9) setting-up 90 meters of low (two shelves) mist nets. Wind is the real problem here in Eilat, Strong winds which normally will keep me home in other places blow for the greater part of the night. Yet catching was reasonably good, with birds of a rather normal verity: Little stints, Ruffs, Ringed and Kentish plovers, two Curlew sands and a Redshank.

On the night of the 3/4.9 two more special waders were add to the list: Marsh sandpiper (a ringing tick for me) and Broad billed sand; all in all 48 waders of 8 species in 3 nights, a good beginning.

At the station a great change is underway, during the last days a drop of 5-6 Celsius degrees makes it possible to resume ringing with mist nets, and today we opened 7 of them although no many passerines are around they will soon arrive, and we'll be waiting with open nets. In the 'firsts' section: Collared Flycatcher, Sedge Warbler, Little Crake, Spanish (punish) Sparrow , Willow Warblers  and many (up to 7) Lesser grey Shrikes in the area.
First of many: a Willow Warbler

Juv. Collared Flycatcher (note the worn tail)

Of last week catch, the first Yellow Wag.

Out in the fields we continue to catch Bee eaters as a damage reduction project for farmers. The Bee eaters surprisingly eat the bees the farmers use to fertilize their watermelons crops. The bees react by falling back into the hive and brave the colorful storm by waiting safe inside. This is great for the survival of the bees but damages the farmer's corps as there are almost no natural fertilizers around. We release our catch as far away from the hives as we can: Tabba border passage (14 km).
During a bee eaters catch on the afternoon of the 31st I saw a single Black winged Kite, probably an Asian bird of the ssp. vociferus. A nice bird after a month at Eilat!

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