What a Spring…

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It has been two weeks since I’ve last updated this blog and it feels like a whole season has passed by already… The ringing station at the IBRCE has been very productive with a total ranging roughly around 7250 birds trapped only during March (of which 40-50% were trapped during the last week of March alone!)

The Eilat region is going through probably one of the best Springs we had for 15-20 years despite the fact that we only had 2-3 mm or rain during winter. Surely this must be an outcome of the very wet conditions this year in East Africa.

An unprecedented wave ofPied(15-20 which were seen)andCyprus Wheatears(20-25 which were seen) was going through the area. Within thePied, we also had at least 2 different’vittata’types for the first time in Israel and to top the ice, the ‘Basalt’ Mourning Wheatear(which surely deserve a species status by itself) was seen throughout this 2 weeks all joining the commonBlack-eared Wheatears.

1st summer Pied Wheatear

‘vittata’ Pied Wheatear @ Yoav Perlman

‘Basalt’ Mourning Wheatear @ Yoav Perlman

Numbers ofRufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Chiffchafs, Balkan Warbler, Tree Pipit and ‘samamisicus’ Redstartswere all very high and made the birds veryvisiblein the field throughout the Southern Arava.

‘samamisicus’ Common Redstart @ Martin Garner

At least 3 differentMenetrie’s Warblerswere seen in different location and 2 more were ringed at the IBRCE park. Other Sylvia’s, likeRuppell’s,Eastern Orphean, Lesser Whitethroatwere also seen in very high numbers throughout.

Menetrie’s Warbler @ Shay Kabessa

Caspian Ploverswere reported almost daily from different localities and the Ovda Valley was packed withShort-toed, Bar-tailed, Thick-billed, Temminck’sandBimaculated Larkson most days andHoopoe Larkscan be found in most of their usual territories around the Arava.

Caspian Plover @ Shay Kabessa

Thick-billed Lark @ Avi Meir

Hoopoe Lark

Raptor migration up in the mountains is proceeding in very high numbers as well. at most days we had an early passage and quite high, but during the last week or so numbers haverisen and we have constant flow of mainlySteppe Buzzards, but among them one can easily findSteppe, Lesser Spotted & Greater Spotted Eagles, Booted Eagles, OspreysfewImperialsand the firstLevantSparrowhawkswere also seen flying around.

Raptor migration over Eilat Mts.

Steppe Eagle

During the last few days things have calmed down, and still there are very high numbers of birds all over and Waders numbers have grown including some 20-25Red-neckedPhalaropesand 5-10Greater Sand Plover.Raptor migration seems to continue still in very high numbers and thousands are passing daily in a very broad front over the southern Arava and the Ringing team report of 2-3 female typePied Wheatearsseen around the northern plantations over the last few days (a female wave?!)

Greater Sand Plover

Personally, I am still overwhelmed from the amount and variety of birds that we see here this spring, so for our international visitors, likeMartin Garner(Birding Frontiers), Neil Glenn (Twitch and Pitch) andLaura Kammermeier(Birds, Words, Websites) which were joining as at theEilat 6th migration Festival, this has truly been an amazing experience and their blogs projects it quite nice…

Stay tuned as we still have 1.5 month of migration ahead of us and there is still much to be found…

Itai

Itai Shanni

Itai Shanni

Itai Shanni is the coordinator of the Eilat Birding Blog, which is jointly written by the Israeli Ornithological Centre (IOC) and the International Birding and Research Centre Eilat (IBRCE). Itai is working to promote bird and wildlife conservation throughout this area. As an Israeli A licensed ringer, he also gives support for the IBRCE staff when needed. Itai has also developed a real passion for Odonata watching and spends many hot hours chasing also Dragonflies and Damselflies.

Itai Shanni

Itai Shanni

Itai Shanni is the coordinator of the Eilat Birding Blog, which is jointly written by the Israeli Ornithological Centre (IOC) and the International Birding and Research Centre Eilat (IBRCE). Itai is working to promote bird and wildlife conservation throughout this area. As an Israeli A licensed ringer, he also gives support for the IBRCE staff when needed. Itai has also developed a real passion for Odonata watching and spends many hot hours chasing also Dragonflies and Damselflies.

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