Friday, July 12, 2013

Fire front!

This is our traditional July Hermon ringing weekend. For family reasons I could participate only in the first half, which was very good. Not huge numbers but some very good stuff. Highlight was this female Red-fronted Serin. Only the second ever to be ringed in Israel (I ringed the first at the same place in 2003) and a good winter rarity in Israel, it's extremely rare in summer but we've had some records on Mt. Hermon in recent decade. I believe it breeds quite close, perhaps on the E slopes of the Syrian part of Mt. Hermon. Of course we didn't find any breeding during our breeding atlas project. Unfortunately, like all adults this time of year, it was terribly worn and ragged; but still a good-looking bird! Stuck to its bill are remains of Creeping Cherry (Cerasus prostrata) - important food source for many high-altitude species this time of year.

Red-fronted Serin - 2cy female

I don't have the totals yet but it seems that Syrian Serin and Linnet were well represented. Goldfinch numbers were alarming low. Rock & Black-headed Buntings OK too I think. This adult Balkan Warbler might be from the local breeding population or an early migrant - they're on the move already:

Balkan Warbler

Rock Bunting

We had quite many Hill Sparrows coming down to drink but unfortunately none got caught.

Hill Sparrow

Alpine Swifts 

We normally open our nets early enough in the morning to catch a bat or two. This time we had a stunning  Long-eared Bat sp. (waiting for taxonomic updates from my bat friends).

Long-eared Bat sp. (Plecotus spp.)

Many thanks to the team members - Nadav, Gidon, Yosef, Ron, Re'a and all the others.

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