Thursday, April 11

Migration non-stop

The season proceeds and with it there are evident changes both in the field and at the ringing station. Today we said goodbye to Arnold and Luc from Holland who has been with us for 4 & 2 weeks each. The "DreamTeam" is never going to be the same again...
Top: Arnold, Jan, Itai.
Bottom: Luc, Markus, Tzadok

Also there are many new birds which are evident and this time its the turn of the Caspian Plovers to win the best bird of the week prize, after I found 5 on Tue' morning while guiding Dave Richardson (though we are still overwhelmed by the 15 Black Bush Robins which were seen up to now during this season).

Many B&W 'Ficedula' Flycatchers throughout as well as many 'feldegg' Yellow Wagtails, Rt Pipits and the last Citrine Wagtails and Little Bitterns... 
Semi-collared Flycatcher
Collared Flycatcher
'feldegg' Yellow Wagtail
Citrine Wagtail

Red-throated Pipit

Still some Wrynecks, Cretzschmar's & Ortolan Buntings, nice aggregations of Purple Herons, first Temminck's Sandpipers...
Purple Herons

Cretzschmar's Bunting

Temminck's Stint

reports from Neot Smadar of Baillon's & Little Crakes. Pied & Hooded Wheatears at K76 and today I found a Cyprus Pied Wheatear at the entrance to the Eilot North Palm grove.

Hopefully we will soon start getting the Levant's and other good late migrants.
stay tunes for more updates,

And here are some notes from Markus at the IBRCE ringing station:

"Last two weeks at the ringing station have been quite varying with a little bit better numbers of ringings compared to earlier. Last saturday we had the best day so far with 398 birds caught. Unsurprisingly 238 of them were Blackcaps. Yesterday was the best Swallow roost catch so far with 167 birds including also one Common Kingfisher retrap from last year. Evening sessions have also produced altogether 17 Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters. I have to say that these are the most gorgeous birds I've ever seen anywhere. Absolutely epic!

Almost every day have been caught some "season's firsts", most recently a Barred Warbler today. Numbers of Common & Thrush Nightingales have increased and the first Collared Flycatchers have been caught. Wood & Willow Warblers, Rufous Bush Chats, Great Reed Warblers, Ortolan Buntings, Namaqua Dove, Corncrake... 
Barred Warbler
Namaqua Dove
The station has also had its part of the Black Bush Robin invasion with two individuals in the area. Both of them were annoyingly close to get caught...

Rarities have been avoiding the station area lately. Luckily there has still been couple of nice things to be twitched somewhere else like White-cheeked Tern at the North Beach and Turkestan Shrike at Yotvata. Today the Dutch guys saw the 5 Caspian Plovers at Yotvata and last week I managed to see a single Thick-Billed Lark at Uvda Valley, which made me very happy.

For last two weeks our dream team has included three Dutch guys (Arnold, Jan & Luc) besides me. Unfortunately Arnold and Luc have to fly back home tomorrow but Jan will still carry on with me for two more weeks. In Hopefully we can still figure out something good!



  1. Itai,

    Why is the bird in one of the pictures above a Cretzschmar's Bunting? To me it seems to be a male Ortolan Bunting.

    Joost Mertens

  2. Hi Joost,

    Look at the very White eye ring not a sign of yellow or cream which is so common in Ortolan Bunting.


  3. Itai,
    To me that seems the only feature wich could be favourable for Cretzscmar's.
    All the other one seems to fit perfectly for Ortolan. Remember that whitish eyerings is also possible for Ortolan (probably with younger, 2cy, birds). Features wich to tend strongly to Ortolan in this bird are the yelowish (not buffish) throat and mouth stripes, the olive hugh in the blue-grey (not lead-grey)head and upper breast,...
    So to me this is a male Ortolan Bunting.

  4. Hi Joost,
    I see your point and think that you are right here.

    In the field it was among other Ortolan's and was strikingly different. Looking on the photo now I don't see any reason except for the eye ring that it won't be Ortolan...