Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Massive attack

This morning I returned to the same water cistern in the Negev Mts. I first visited two weeks ago. This time my team included Yosef, Re'a and Elon. We had yet another fantastic ringing session, and the water hole was so busy with many hundreds of birds coming in to drink. On the one hand, the wind was blowing pretty hard which reduced the effectiveness of our nets, but on the other hand it was bloody hot so many birds were very thirsty which must have brought us unusually large numbers of birds.
Our total for the morning (till 09:00!) was 257 birds!! The main species were a mind-boggling 160 Desert Larks, 42 Hill Sparrows (only two adults, all the rest juveniles), 32 Trumpeter Finches (down from 92 last time), 18 Rock Martins and a few other bits and pieces.

Hill Sparrow
This number of Desert Larks is unprecedented in Israel, and must have resulted of the heavy heat. Also, the total of 42 Hill Sparrows is the highest one-day catch ever in Israel, beating 36 ringed at IBRCE in April 2004.
This is such an amazing site, and shows very interesting population dynamics. I am sure long-term monitoring will produce many more interesting results in the future.
Some good birds were seen in the area - 6 Black-bellied Sandgrouse flew over, a pair of Common (rare in Israel!) Ravens were possibly visiting a nest nearby, and a late 2cy male Montagu's Harrier seen nearby.


  1. Ciao Yoav what poetry this picture,the head of this bird is particular for me, it is squashed, flat, I had never seen such

  2. Ciao, in this post: http://nubijar.blogspot.com/2010/04/hill-sparrows.html
    I have images of them in the field - they look quite different in hand of course, Yoav.