Tuesday, June 4

Who said it is over?!

After the last post I thought it will take some time until we get another one, but over the last few weeks more and more reports accumulated and I decided to get them all together for another last (?!) post for this spring...

On May 16th there were still many waders around with big group of Red-necked Phalaropes next to the IBRCE (in total I counted some 30 together, and more around K20)

On May 17th while guiding Gordon and Suzanne Higgott we've found a very strange Lark on the eastern side of K20. The bird was sitting on top of the road looking very tired. When I first put my bins I was surprised to see this darkish and small Short-toed Lark (size was between Greater and Lesser Short-toed), but then start noticing that there are some very strange features on this bird:

1.    Bi-coloured bill with distinct pale cutting edge to the upper mandible.
2.    Despite having a very worn tertials, the primary projection still seems to be too long for any C.brachydactyla I’ve ever seen in Israel.
3.    Very plain face pattern with dark eye-stripe behind the eye.
4.    Beige edges to the secondaries and the outer GC.
5.    Plain chest with some brownish background to the breast and chest (this can easily fit any C.brachydactyla but doesn’t go well with the other features).

We've been looking at the bird for almost 1 minute before it took off flying north along the road showing very thin white line only on the outer tail feathers and keeping very quiet. It landed somewhere in the salt marsh north of the K20 complex and could not be located again. Unfortunately the bird was never re-located again so we will never know for sure what it was but here are some of Hadoram Shirihai comments:

"...I am actually not sure that this bird has deformed bill as I thought earlier, since Hume's quite often has the upper mandible acceding over the lower, and the narrow/pointed and bicolored bill that we see are within the variation of Hume's! Further, if i am reading correctly the wing formula and the pp-spacing (with both p5 & p6 has emarg. and the p5 close to tip) it is the formula of Hume's... Also the the facial pattern are within the variation of Hume's, but not conclusive because it is so worn.

Thus, it could be equally 'aberrant Hume's', and I am happy to congratulate Itai for interesting find! However, I still like to suggest (strongly) not to force or conclude ID without trapping (for biometrics, wing formula and DNA checks). 

 At the same day we also had a late Citrine Wagtail  and 2 Sanderlings among the Curlew Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstone and Collared Pratincoles as well as many breeding Kentish Plovers & Black-winged Stilts.

On North Beach there are daily reports of Sooty Shearwaters and 2-3 species of Skua's as well as many Common & Little Terns and few of each Sandwich, Gull-billed, Caspian & White-cheeked Terns.

Yesterday, while drinking coffee in the morning in my garden, I noticed a small bird walking on the grass. As the head started to work, I thought to myself "Sparrows don't walk and Pipits are much more contrasting on their back", i rushed to the house to take my bins and found a beautiful River Warbler (first for my garden and 5th or 6th for this season around Eilat!).

Today I still managed to find few migrants around with Little Terns, Red-necked Phalarope, Barred Warbler & Sand Martins still showing throughout (all the following were taken through the IPhone and my Bins).

Last, here is a very brief summery of some of the season common species ringing totals:

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