7th – 14th April – ringing at Kibbutz Lotan, Israel   Leave a comment

For my final post about Israel I’ll show a few photos that we took of birds in the hand at Lotan. Over the week we handled 628 birds of 38 species, the totals are shown below. We also ringed a few birds at the Eilat ringing station on our final evening.

If anyone doubts the value of ringing birds in Israel then may I direct you to this website showing where birds ringed in Israel have been recovered. If you click on each flag it gives the co-ordinates of when the bird was recovered but not the ringing and recovery dates. Israeli ringers use a six letter code for each species, which is the first three letters of the generic and specific scientific name,

e.g. Syl cur = Sylvia curruca = Lesser Whitethroat or But but = Buteo buteo = Common Buzzard etc


Number of birds ringed at Lotan

Blackcap 275
House Sparrow 104
Lesser Whitethroat 60
Red-throated Pipit 30
Thrush Nightingale 25
Common Nightingale 18
White-spectacled Bulbul 15
Common Whitethroat 11
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler 10
Common Redstart 9
Laughing Dove 9
Eurasian Wryneck 7
Eurasian Reed-warbler 6
Wood Warbler 5
Great Reed-warbler 4
Willow Warbler 4
Eurasian Hoopoe 3
Spotted Flycatcher 3
Tree Pipit 3
Balkan Warbler 2
Barn Swallow 2
Collared Flycatcher 2
Common Quail 2
Little Green Bee-eater 2
Masked Shrike 2
Ortolan Bunting 2
Red-backed Shrike 2
Sedge Warbler 2
Spur-winged Lapwing 2
Eastern Orphean Warbler 1
Eurasian Collared-dove 1
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1
Namaqua Dove 1
Red-rumped Swallow 1
Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin 1
Whinchat 1
Grand Total 628
Total species 36
The Team at Neot Samadar Apr 13

The team birding at Neot Samadar: L-R: Paul Aubrey, Roger Walsh, Rachael Eele, Paul Eele, Gary Elton, Bob Gifford, Mike Gould, Dave Taylor, Terry Elborne & some bloke from Poole. Shaun Robson took the photo and Ray and Katie Knock were back at Lotan.


Most of the mist nets were erected in the organic garden. A few were also put near to the (empty) swimming pool.


A Hoopoe: just as wonderful to see in the hand as it is in the field.


Although only the nominate race occurs in the WP the sub-Saharan race ‘senegalensis’ can be identified by having more white in the secondaries. The southern African form, ‘africana’, usually treated as a full species, has much more white in the secondaries but has wholly black primaries.


Learning how to age a Hoopoe from the shape of the white areas on the tail.


There is some variation in the colour of a Red-throated Pipit’s throat but it isn’t clear if this is age or sex related.


Wrynecks constantly live up to their name by twisting their necks in a strange snake-like manner. This is thought to have evolved as a threat mechanism to predators. Photo by Terry Elborne


This female Masked Shrike was a firm favourite.


In the hand you appreciate what a huge bird Great Reed Warbler really is.


Since I started birding Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin has changed its vernacular name more often than Italy has changed governments. Also in that time there hasn’t been a twitchable one in the UK which is strange as they long-distance migrants and aren’t that rare in their Mediterranean and western Asian breeding grounds.


Thrush Nightingale (R) is very similar to the eastern race ‘golzii’ of Common Nightingale (L), especially from behind. Common Nightingales we see in western Europe are much more rufous. There are differences in the colour and length of the tail and the streaking/blotching of the breast but the length of the first primary (> primary coverts in Common, < in Thrush) is diagnostic, but obviously isn’t easy to see in the field.


A Common Quail that managed to escape being trapped for food on its long journey from Africa.


Stunning !


A Wood Warbler on route to some east European ancient woodland.


This tiny male Namaqua Dove was a real surprise.


Our last full day was the Sabbath and with the kids of school many came down to find out what we were up to.

Laurel and Hardy

On our final evening we drove down to Eilat ringing station (at the Birdwatching Centre) where they were ringing Barn and Red-rumped Swallows at roost. Bob looks pretty pleased to be ringing a Red-rumped Swallow.


On our final morning we did a little ringing before packing up and heading back to Eilat. We were just outside the town refuelling the hire cars when Gary got a phone call to say they had just trapped a White-throated Robin at the Birdwatching Centre. We quickly detoured just in time to see this mega in the hand. I have seen this species before in Turkey and Armenia but it was a tick for most of the crew.


And they then produced a second surprise, this fantastic male Levant Sparrowhawk. A very local breeder across Turkey and western Asia, Levants are hardly ever seen in winter in Africa and pass through Israel in late April when most visiting birders have left. We were lucky to see one of the vanguard at the very last moment of our trip. Photo by TE

Posted May 16, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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