On the 4th the morning began with an unsuccessful chase after one Little Crake which found the track of the IBRCE Ringing Station charming enough for a peaceful walk.
Tzadok, Yotam and myself defeated the dense bushes and the spiny acacias but the little devil left us mainly breathless, a little desolated and embarrassed. Thankfully, after this episode Yohay brought from the Helgolands trap a mighty male Palestine Sunbird, a tropical gift in the Middle East (such a beauty may become even better when contrasted with my own moustache face…)
About the time the morning was supposed to be done, the ringing station staff left both the pliers and rings and grabbed on their binoculars to observe 4 Eurasian Cranes flying southwards followed by Lesser Spotted, Steppe, Booted and Short-toed Eagles all flying over our heads and creating a nice stream of raptors before lunch.
On Friday (5th October), another step into the Autumn progressed with a Cetti´s Warbler (which is a winter guest in South Arava Valley) among the daily amount of Reed and Marsh Warblers, Eastern Orphean, Savi's Warblers, Winchats, Blackcaps and (no way to forget our very best ringed) Shrikes. A female Spanish Sparrow (in Spain we call them just Sparrows…) is another call “Winter is coming…”
Once satisfied the lifers thirst, we proof the famous density of the Dead Sea; If Manolo doesn't drown into its waters, no one could do and I hoped that the super-salty fluid might kill the fungi plague of his feet… no way, perhaps something stronger, like the Zombi Sea… Anyway, after this healthy break, full of new birds, both of us went back to the station anxiously expecting some new wave of migrant’s. We opened the nets as usual and we ringed as usual: Bluethroats, Redstarts and the rest still were passing over the station.
On the 7th a nice surprise was waiting for us some 2-3 km further south, feeding upon the grass of the Eilat´s football field. After an early call from Itai who found the bird, we closed the nets in time and visited the place. At the field we found tens of Yellow Wagtails and Red-throated Pipits, a White Wagtail and the point of the search: one single and beautiful Oriental Skylark. A Smaller and warmer coloured version of the Common Skylarks. We managed to hear the call which is absolutely different from its kin! Just when I was about to get probably the best photos in my whole life, the coach of the Eilat juniors football team has decided that it was the proper time for some short races among the very localised place where the bird was feeding. No doubt, the Oriental Skylark ignored the real purpose of that green paradise... Some complaints slipped out of our mouths, luckily in Spanish, mainly focused on the criteria wills of the coach. From these pages, I am sorry, Mister Trainer and for now we will have to do with Itai's poor photos...The new week started with no big changes. Almost a daily Scops Owl in the very first round of the morning followed by the already traditional and unsuccessfully trials for catching European Nightjars, performed by myself; some Reed, Sedge and (also one per day) Marsh Warblers; Willow Warblers, Bluethroats, Redstarts, of course Masked and Red-backed Shrikes (bibliography about the timing of its migrations must be wrong or deliberately lies...) and usually another new species according with the season. For example, on Tuesday October 9th, a Sardinian Warbler, subspecies momus, from the Middle East was the highlight of the day. Smaller and paler than nominal ones, this bird was very welcome and quit predicted by Itai and Yotam, the local ringers.
The next morning began with the normal Scops Owl and a bigger number than usually occurs during the morning of Sand Martins and Barn Swallows, including also a Bulgarian Barn Swallow. Not more than this is what we need for setting up an evening roost ringing, so that very afternoon, Yotam, Manolo and I got ready for a good time. We hoped, maybe, a hundred or so swallows, that could be good enough but finally 260 birds comprised of Sand Martins, Barn and Red-rumped Swallows broke to the best our predictions. We had also the helpfully attacks of a Barn Owl in the roost during the nesting work which flashed over us so many birds. This high incoming of Swallows and Sand Martins was noticed during the next morning, when those species still felt down into the mist nets without the support of the calls recordings. Almost 90 birds were ringed, not only swallows, also the daily stuff of warblers, one White-throated Kingfisher and a young male Eurasian Sparrowhawk, stuck in the mist nets victim of the greedy produced by the sight of fifteen birds hanging on…
p.s Avi Meir took some nice photos of Little Gull and Eurasian Curlew today at the salt pond of the IBRCE and there are still big numbers of waders at K20 including this nice Broad-billed Sandpiper.