Monday, January 14, 2013

Yellow-eyed beauties

This morning I returned with the A-Team to Hameishar Plains. Freezing cold in the morning - frost remained on the ground until about 9 am. Before 07:00 very few birds but when it warmed up a bit we started catching more. We smashed the record set in our previous visit in December, and caught 18 (!) Asian Desert Warblers - 14 new and 4 retraps. This means that on the same stretch of habitat along the road we ringed altogether 25 different individuals! Difficult to estimate how many actually are in this area - must be many tens. This is really phenomenal. Each one of them is such a beauty.

This little bird left a small present on Rony's head

Apart for the desert warblers, again we had great species variety. I most enjoyed three Hooded Wheatears - a ringing tick for me in fact. There was an exceptional concentration of 6 males in one corner of the valley. Also three more Mourning Wheatears, one Temminck's Lark and one Bar-tailed Lark - all quality species for all of us.

Hooded Wheatear - 2cy male (hatched 2012)

Hooded Wheatear - 3cy+ male

Temminck's Lark - female

Bar-tailed Lark

The habitat looks really good. Last week it rained more at Hameishar, and more germination and caterpillar production is expected in the coming weeks. Lots of larks around, all birds feeding like crazy on caterpillars. Again good lark show today - about 50 temminck's and 2 thick-bills.

On the way back home ringed a pair of White-crowned Wheatears. I normally hate photographing birds with my phone but in this case the image does show the amazing scenery that this wheatear views every day:

Many thanks to the team - Yosef, Ron, Ron, Rony, Meidad, Arad and Tom.

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