Sunday, May 14, 2023

Global Big Day May 2023

Yesterday was Global Big Day, organised by eBird, part of World Migratory Bird Day and Global Birding Weekend events. It was an unusual big day for me,  because for the first time in several years I didn't do a proper big day - I had a good reason though (see below). Also, our third team member Re'a made a bunk, so it was just Jonathan and me. We decided to spend the morning around birdy Kfar Ruppin - possibly the most productive place to spend a morning birding this time of year, when migration is dwindling here. Hey World Migratory Bird Day and eBird - please shift the date one week earlier (first weekend of May rather than second) so more southerly countries could enjoy good migration too. Thanks!

We left early, Jonathan did his story things, and we arrived at Kfar Ruppin nice and early, in time for a good coffee and fresh dawn birding. Kfar Ruppin fishponds, where we have our restoration project with the kibbutz, are so amazing. This specific reservoir has held low water levels, and amazing bird levels, for several months now. 

Swarovski Optik gear put into good use

That specific reservoir had so many birds, both in numbers and species richness - it was great to simply be there and take it all in. We bumped into another Jonathan, Yonatan Gordon, and his dad. Yonatan is a super keen, sharp-eyed and excellent teenaged birder - he already is a hotshot and will surely lead the Israel birding community in the future. Yonatan jumped into our car and joined us for the rest of the morning, while his dad got a couple of hours off... Back to the birds, the muddy edges had hundreds of shorebirds, mostly Little Stints and Ringed Plovers spiced up with Broad-billed, Curlew and Temminck's Sands; Whiskered and White-winged Terns flying gracefully over the water; Marbled and Ferruginous Ducks swimming; Little Crake, Little Bitterns and acros in the reeds. Bliss. Listen to the soundtrack in these rubbish videos I took.

eBird checklist for Kfar Ruppin fishponds here.

We checked a few more sites around Kfar Ruppin, including our restored wetland at Amud Reservoir - good stuff there included singing Common Nightingales, and Rollers displaying over their breeding cliff. Check the background sound here too.

The morning ended too quickly and we had to drive back home, adding some random stuff on the way back. Our morning total was 97 species, poor for a big day but quite OK (I think) for a concentrated four-hour effort. Had we done a full big day, that would have been a decent start.

The reason I headed back so early, abruptly cutting short my big day effort, had to be dramatic. I headed back for the premiere of a new documentary movie, Observation Diary, part of the documentary movie festival Doc Aviv. It's a beautiful movie, created and directed by the talented Itay Marom. The movie follows the birding diaries of the late Amit Geffen, a young and talented birder whom I had the honour and pleasure to guide, mentor and work with until he passed away in 2007, at the tender age of 21. I was fortunate to participate in the movie, and there is even lovely footage of my late dog Bamba, out birding with me. Several friends - Nadav, Yael, Nimrod and others also take part in the movie. 

The premiere was awesome - it was a powerful experience, to share the experience with so many people. Everyone involved in the movie were very excited - I have so much appreciation and gratitude towards Itay, Idit and their team for giving me the opportunity to take part in such a beautiful project. This is Udi, Amit's dad, and me at the premiere - photo taken by my son Uri.

No comments:

Post a Comment