Tuesday, August 28

Autumn surprises...

Autumn is here and today was officially opened also at the IBRCE ringing station.
Two days ago I met Yotam and told him that I hear many Locustella's singing from the reed beds around the park which may be very fruitful for ringing... When I talked with him I never thought that the first bird which will be handled for this Autumn will be such a Mega rarity in Israeli Standards.
This morning I received a texts message from Yotam saying "I opened the nets and the first bird I handled this morning is a Grasshopper Warbler but I don't have my camera with me..."
Now here's a dilemma: This is the 2nd day for school for my kids and they are still in need for escorts and such time consuming matters, I've never had a Grasshopper Warbler in Israel before and we really need to document this bird...
I've managed to get Tal (my wife) to do all the kids issues and rushed to the station for an Israeli twitch, next time, I hope that Yotam will forget his camera again, so I will have such a good excuse...

This is only the 8th time this species is ringed or seen in Israel (surprisingly all the other records are also from Eilat and Southern Arava), so for our European friends this may sound like a strange rarity, but it is a real mega down here...  

Overwhole there was a nice collection of Sylvia warblers with Blackcups, Eastern Orpheans, Lesser Whitethroats, Whitethroats & Garden Warblers as well as a few Eastern Olivaceous and Reed & Sedge Warblers and a single Red-backed Shrike to flavour the many Graceful Prinia's and House Sparrows. In total we handled some 50 birds (15 species) this morning with only 4 nets open for only 4 hours.
Yotam admiring his first Israeli Grasshopper Warbler!

In North beach 6-10 White-cheeked Terns and growing numbers of White-eyed Gulls, while last week 2 foreign birders reported 2 Lesser Crested Terns flying around.
Wishing all a great Autumn...


  1. I read your post about the Grasshopper Warbler with a lot of interst, especialy by seeing the pictures. They show a bird wich remind me of birs we caught last year and the year before in Georgia (sadly we caught non this year). Especialy the contrasting dark head streaks, the whitish underparts, not that overall warm/olive tone of Grashopper W. we used to see here in Western Europe. Somewhat colder/greyish toned overall. Although there are (as much as I know) no hard in hand caracters, I should with my litlle expirience point this bird out as being the subspecies obscurior. I do not know if you have some measurements? Most of them are somewhat smaller in size then naevia but with a lot of overlap. Anyway, I'm quite convinced that this is obscurior.


    Joost Mertens

    1. Hi Joost,
      Thanks for yours.

      In fact this is what we also felt when we saw the bird.
      It seemed like a very fresh bird suggesting juv’ but it didn’t have any of the rufous tones which are expected from this age.

      Unfortunately, we did not record any more measurements, seeing that there is much overlap.