Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pistachio feast

Tuesday I went ringing with my two kids - we joined Eyal at Ein Rimon, which is a small pistachio plantation north of Be'er Sheva. This site is a very special stopover site for many migrants, enjoying the fat-rich fruit for refuelling during migration, but the biggest attraction there is Black-eared Wheatears. They normally feed in open areas, and rarely concentrate, so we never catch many elsewhere. But at Ein Rimon they feed on the pistachio fruit and concentrate in large numbers. Normally wheatears avoid nets - they have very good eyesight. But in the plantation they keep chasing each other between the trees and get caught in the nets very well. We ringed 21 of these lovely birds:

Eastern Black-eared Wheatears:


tasty pistachio fruit

I anticipated impressive raptor takeoff from the nearby Lahav forest, after the previous day's massive migration, but they must have landed elsewhere to sleep and we had only few eagles and levants taking off, including this dark morph Booted Eagle:

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