Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Israel



ISRAEL

I have been fortunate to visit Israel on three occasions.

The first visit was a family bird-watching holiday from the 27th March, 1983 to the 10th April, 1983. Our trip started in the North on the Mediterranean visiting Mt.Hermon and Ma'agan Mikhael and we then worked our way South visiting various sites en-route including the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. We then based ourselves at Yotvata where we could easily visit Eilat as well as the Negev Desert.

My second trip was from the 19th December, 1995 to 23rd December, 1995. We stayed at Eilat and covered sites around Eilat as well as the Negev Desert.

My third trip was from 28th February, 1997 to 6th April, 1997 when I helped to start up a ringing station at Kfar Ruppin Kibbutz  in the Jordan Valley.


JFC at the ringing site at Kfar Ruppin

The following photographs were taken during my three visits. During the first trip I was using a Nikon SLR
with a 500mm mirror lens. The second and third trips, I was using an upgraded Nikon SLR with a 300mm Nikon lens.

Against the species, I have given a brief status in Israel, on a number of species which I ringed, I have shown a large selection of the photographs which I took at the time.




Arabian Babbler fairly common resident chiefly in Southern Israel.
Just small numbers seen on our first two trips. 



 









Armenian Gull abundant winter visitor in northern and west-central Israel
Seen on our first and third trips. At Kfar Ruppin large numbers present around
 the fish ponds with up to 400 estimated during early March.  By mid March,
 numbers had decreased to 150 and by late March only 50 were left mainly
 1stW. birds.  Numbers continued to decrease in early April and by the
 6th, my last date, only 2 were seen.






Bar Tailed Desert Lark uncommon resident in Central & Southern
Israel in desert type areas.
Only seen on our first visit chiefly in the Negev Desert.







Black Eared Wheatear common passage migrant also a breeding
summer visitor in Northern & Central Israel.
Only recorded on our first trip in 1983 in the Yotvata and Eilat areas.
Surprisingly, I did not record it from my stay at Kfar Ruppin.


Black Kite common passage migrant which winters in some areas.
Good numbers seen on our first visit, but at Kfar Ruppin only 
recorded on a few dates with daily maximum of just 8.


Eastern Black Redstart common passage migrant
At Kfar Ruppin Recorded on seven dates between the 2nd March and
 19th March.  Chiefly singles with 2 on the 2nd and 2 on the 10th.
Unfortunately, I did not attempt to race any of the birds which I saw
but looking at the above picture this may possibly belong to the 
semirufus race.




 


Black Stork common passage migrant and an uncommon winterer in Northern Israel.
On our first visit, we saw a number of birds moving North on our drive South.
At Kfar Ruppin I recorded this species daily throughout my stay. Numbers seen
 fluctuated widely for example 10 on the 28th February, 130 on the 5th March
 and 8 on the 7th March. Passage proper got under way towards the end of
 March with 250 North on the 24th March and 600 North on the 25th March.
 Smaller numbers seen after this with 150 on the 1st April being the maximum.
                                  During the early part of my stay birds could often be found resting along the
 border fence near the fish ponds and were obviously wintering in this area.


Blackcap common passage migrant and uncommon winter visitor
At Kfar Ruppin I recorded it virtually daily from the 7th March
in reasonable numbers with a daily maximum of 35.
I ringed 142 during my stay at the ringing site.





Blackstart Very common resident in desert type habitat in Southern Israel
Recorded it on our first trip and on my winter trip chiefly in the Eilat area.














Bee-Eater common passage migrant and also common breeder 
in North & Central Israel.
On our first visit we had a good arrival at Eilat with birds everywhere
even landing on the tracks ahead of us.
At Kfar Ruppin One flew over the trapping area on  30th March with 30 seen
 on the fence around the Kibbutz on the 3rd April with 15 on the 4th.
  25 were seen near the Jordan border on 5th April.
 

























Male Masked Shrike fairly common passage migrant and a common
breeding specie in the north and centre
Several were seen on our first trip in 1983, was one of the highlights of
the trip and the top two pictures were taken during this trip.
At Kfar Ruppin it was recorded on 5 days with a maximum of 3 on a day.
I was fortunate to trap and ring the above two birds.




Mourning Wheatear Resident in desert type habitat
Our only Mourning Wheatears were recorded on our drive South
towards Yotvata in 1983 during our first visit.








 
female


 


 
female

female
 Black Headed Wagtail an abundant passage migrant and the only
form of flava wagtail that breeds in Israel.
Feldegg race : First record was a single male seen on the 4th March.
 Another male on the 11th March was followed by 22 on the 14th March. 
Numbers quickly increased to 70 on the l7th, 100 on the l8th, and 200 on
 the l9th, but only 80 left by the 20th, and 20 by the 24th.  
A further influx took place on the 25th when 150 were feeding in the fields
 but only 1 left the next day.  Sixty were seen on the 28th and 29th March
 but numbers fell away with 10 on the 3rd April and only 4 left on
 the 6th April,my last day.





Blue Headed Wagtail fairly common passage migrant.

 Flava race A single bird seen on the 4th March with small numbers
 present from the 14th March on 11 dates until the 4th April when 20 were present.


Female flava type

Other races of flava wagtails that I identified at Kfar Ruppin:
Beema race : This race was identified on eleven dates from the 14th March,

chiefly singles but 4 on the 23rd, 3 on the 25th 2 on the 27th and 29th and 
2 present from the 31st March until the 2nd April.
Thunbergi race : A single bird present on the 19th and 20th March, with 2
 on the 31st March, 1 on the lst April and 2 on the 2nd April.
Melanogrisea race : Singles of this distinctive race were identified on the
 17th and 18th March and again on the 31st March.






Bluethroat common passage migrant and winter visitor.
At Kfar Ruppin both red-spots & white spots. were seen and trapped.
Many were present when I arrived at the end of February, chiefly at
the ringing site and the reedy ditches around the fish ponds, and it was
possible to see 18 on a day. My final sightings were of 3 on the 3rd
April. I trapped 81 at the ringing site and the maximum I caught on any
one day was 9.


Brown Necked Raven resident in desert areas in south & central Israel.
Just seen in small numbers on our first two trips.


 




Cetti's Warbler fairly common resident and passage migrant to
North & Central Israel.
At Kfar Rupin up to 8 were heard or seen daily, and I trapped
and ringed 10 at the ringing site.





Chiffchaff abundant passage migrant and common winter visitor.
It was recorded in reasonable numbers at Kfar Ruppin with a daily
maximum of 25. I ringed a total of 28 at the ringing site.
The top picture of  a Chiffchaff probably belonging to the 
abietinus race.





Chiffchaff type - Several birds belonging to a very small race were trapped. these
were on average about 25% smaller and shorter in the wing than the normal
 race and they had distinctive pinkish ear coverts in the hand.





Citrine Wagtail scarce passage migrant and winter visitor.
Only seen at Kfar Ruppin. A stunning summer plumage male was located feeding
 with Black Headed Wagtails in a weedy field on the 27th March.  A female was located
 on the fish ponds on the 29th March.  Two were present on the fish ponds on the
 31st March with 3 there on the 1st April.  One was again seen on the fish ponds on
 the 3rd April with no less than 5 present on the 4th including some stunning males.
  Three were again seen on the 5th but only 1 on the 6th.














Clamorous Reed Warbler local resident in Northern & East Central Israel.
 Seen on our first trip at Hula, at Kfar Ruppin up to 10 pairs were present in
 the reedy ditches around the fish ponds and birds were also seen at another  
 site. One was trapped at the ringing site.


Collared Flycatcher a fairly common passage migrant.
Our first was in the Negev desert on our first trip. At Kfar Ruppin

A fine adult male present in the Kibbutz on the 28th March and a second adult male
 just outside the Kibbutz on the 5th April.






Collared Pratincole quite common passage migrant.
 Seen on our first trip when fair numbers were recorded moving
through the Eilat area. At Kfar Ruppin three were seen on the fish ponds on the
 2nd April, with four there on the 3rd.  A party of 15 present briefly on the 4th
 and 5 found roosting in a ploughed field on the 5th.













Common Crane common passage migrant and winter visitor to
Northern Israel.
Seen on our first and third trips. At Kfar Ruppin it was recorded on

 seventeen dates from 14th March until 2nd April in variable numbers.
  500 moved North during the afternoon of the 17th March at the same time as a large
 passage of White Storks. 160 moved on the l8th March with 250 on the l9th.
  Otherwise numbers were fairly small. A party of 11 spent 6 days feeding in the fields near the ringing site.



Common Sandpiper common passage migrant and uncommon winter visitor.
At Kfar Ruppin, I saw it throughout my stay around the fish ponds with
a daily maximum of 8.









Cream Coloured Courser uncommon breeding and passage migrant.
Without doubt the highlight of our first trip in 1983 when we came across
a small party crossing the road in Southern Negev desert.












Crested Lark abundant resident
Seen on all three trips, at Kfar Ruppin up to 60 on a day could easily 
be seen around the area and I trapped 2















1st W. type


Female type




1st W. type


1st W type


1st W type


Female





Female/1st W.


Female /1st W





Cretzschmar's Bunting common passage migrant and summer breeding
visitor to northern and central Israel.
Although several were seen on our first visit in 1983, at Kfar Ruppin

first seen on the 17th March when 8 were present.  It was then seen in small
 numbers up to the 4th April. 15 were seen on the 20th March with 20 on
 the 23rd, and 15 on the 29th. Numbers had decreased to 2 by April.  A total of 27
 were trapped at the ringing site.


Cyprus Warbler uncommon Spring passage migrant
Our only sighting was on our first visit in 1983 when a single bird
was seen in the desert near Yotvata.


















Dead Sea Sparrow fairly common resident in eastern and northern Israel.
Although seen in small numbers on our first trip at Kfar Ruppin 

up to 250 could be seen at the farm on the Kibbutz in early March and a total
 of 143 were ringed here. Otherwise, birds were seen at various locations especially
 during March and 11 were trapped at the ringing station.




Demoiselle Crane very rare and irregular passage migrant

At Kfar Ruppin a superb adult came flying in over the fish ponds with 3 Common Cranes during the afternoon of the 1st April.  All 4 cranes appeared to be looking to land and were probably attracted by the large numbers of White Storks which were resting on a dried up pond.  The cranes flew around the ponds for several minutes before disappearing towards the fields to the West.  I cycled to this area in the hope of relocating the birds on the ground but when I arrived to this area large numbers of people were working the fields and no sign  of the Cranes.  Good views were obtained of the Demoiselle Crane,the small size was very evident , the black on the neck extending right down onto the breast and the white tuft with grey forehead well seen.  The upperparts especially the wings appeared more silvery grey compared to the Common Crane and the legs did not extend so far out the back.  I was able to take 2 photographs of it and these clearly show the different in size.






Desert Finch fairly common resident 
At Kfar Ruppin it was chiefly seen at the ringing site from the 6th March
to the 4th April. The majority were seen between the 7th March to the
18th March when 25 were present. Numbers then started to decline
although a small influx occurred on the 24th March when 30 were seen,
and by early April, just a couple were left. I trapped and ringed a total of
39 at the ringing site.













Desert Lark common resident in the deserts of Eastern & Southern Israel.
Only seen on our first and second trips where it proved to be common in
the deserts around Eilat.














Eastern Bonelli's Warbler common Spring passage migrant
At Kfar Ruppin, I recorded it on 8 dates from the 21st March
chiefly seen in the trees and bushes in the Kibbutz with a daily
maximum of 6 on the 28th March. I just trapped 2 at the ringing site.




























Eastern Olivaceous Warbler common passage migrant and breeding visitor.
At Kfar Ruppin I recorded it in small numbers at the ringing site from the
14th March and I trapped and ringed 10.


Fan Tailed Raven  uncommon resident in arid areas.
Just recorded on our first trip when odd birds were seen in the
Dead Sea area.


Garganey fairly common passage migrant
On our first visit, good numbers of Garganey were seen from
North Shore at Eilat.
At Kfar Ruppin odd birds were seen to the 19th March when a notable
influx occurred when 180 were counted on the fish ponds, but only 2
were left the next day. 10 were then present until I left on the 6th April.










Glossy Ibis fairly common passage migrant
Seen on our first visit, with a flock flying over Eilat (top picture) and
also seen at a pool in the Negev desert.
At Kfar Ruppin a flock of 13 flew north high over the Kibbutz and also odd
birds seen at a nearby fish pond.




Graceful Warbler / Prinia common resident.
Seen on all the three trips, at Kfar Ruppin up to 40 could be seen 
around the area and a total of 34 were trapped at the ringing site
during my stay.










Great Reed Warbler fairly common passage migrant.
Just recorded from Kfar Ruppin with singles on the 19th and 21st March
and the 2nd April, 2 on the 3rd April, and 4 on the 6th April. In total
I ringed 5 birds.



Great White Egret fairly common winter visitor mainly in northern Israel.
When I arrived at Kfar Ruppin at the end of February I found 800 in the fields
 around the fish ponds, but numbers soon started to decline with a count of 400
 on the 8th March, 200 on the 13th March, and 60 on the 21st March. On my 
last day on the 6th April, just 4 were left.



Greater Sand Plover quite common passage migrant 
Just seen on our first visit in 1983 at Eilat.


Green Sandpiper common passage migrant and winter visitor
At Kfar Ruppin, I recorded it daily around the fish ponds, with
a daily maximum of 8 on a day.


Griffon Vulture uncommon resident
Odd birds seen on our first visit on the drive south.





Hawfinch rare winter visitor and irregular migrant
I was extremely surprise to trap and ring 2 Hawfinches at Kfar Ruppin,
the first was on the 31st March and the second on the 4th April. 


Fuscus type Lesser Black Back Gull  common passage migrant.
At Kfar Ruppin, I saw several Lesser Black Backed types which
I initially thought may be heuglini types, but the only one which I
could photograph appears to be a fuscus type.


 Hooded Crow common resident 
Common and widespread around Kfar Ruppin










Male & Female Hooded Wheatears scarce local resident in southern
and eastern Negev.
I just recorded these on my winter visit when several were seen in
the Eilat area.







Hoopoe common resident and passage migrant
At Kfar Ruppin 3 birds were wintering in the Kibbutz and several
migrants were seen at the ringing site.





Hoopoe Lark scarce local resident in desert areas.
Only seen on our first trip in 1983, when several were found in the desert
areas near Eilat.




House Bunting fairly common winter visitor in north and central Israel.
My only sighting was on the winter trip just to the north of Eilat.




Imperial Eagle scarce passage migrant and winter visitor.
Just odd birds seen on all three visits. With one on our first trip
which soared over the road as we travelled north from Yotavata,
we found 1 wintering near Eilat on the second trip and at Kfar Ruppin
three juveniles were seen during my stay.


Jay common resident in north and central Israel.
This local race atricapillus is very distinctive having a paler body,
black cap with a white face forehead and throat.
At Kfar Ruppin two pairs were always present near the Kibbutz.




Kentish Plover fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor

At Kfar Ruppin a male present at the fish ponds on the 12th March with 
a female there on the 29th March. A male was then present on the 30th and 31ast March. 


Kestrel very common resident



Kingfisher fairly common passage migrant & uncommon winter visitor
At Kfar Ruppin up to 8 present around the fish ponds and 1 trapped
and ringed at the ringing site.








Lanner Falcon scarce resident in the South.
Our only sightings was on our first trip north of Eilat


Laughing Dove abundant resident
Very common seen on all three trips.


Lesser Kestrel passage migrant and also a breeding visitor in the North & Central.
Odd birds were seen on our first visit and just 1 male at Kfar Ruppin





 Lesser Spotted Eagle abundant passage migrant
Good numbers seen on our first visit including a good number migrating
over Wadi Amud where the above photographs were taken.
At Kfar Ruppin recorded generally in small numbers on 13 dates during the 
period with 50 moving North on the 30th March and 400+ North on 
the 3rd April were the largest movements recorded.



Lesser Whitethroat abundant spring migrant and a breeding summer visitor 
in the North.
On our first trip it proved to be by far the commonest migrant at Yotvata,
at Kfar Ruppin I recorded it  virtually daily from the 7th March with daily maximums
 as follows: 25 on the 21st, 25 on the 26th , 40 on the 27th, 30 on the 28th March.
  Similar numbers were present in early April, I ringed 88 during my stay.



 
















Little Crake  fairly common passage migrant and rare winter visitor
Odd birds seen on our first visit. At Kfar Ruppin a male was present 
at the fish ponds from the 26 March to 28th March and was joined
by a female on the 27th. A second male was present on the 1st April
to the 5th April.
















Little Green Bee-eater uncommon resident chiefly in the south and belongs
 to the race cyanophrys with the blue face and underparts.
Only seen on our first and third trips. The first two pictures were taken on
our first trip at Eilat and the remainder I took on our winter trip near Eilat.


Little Owl  common resident
Several seen only on our first trip in the Negev Desert, and belongs to
the race lilith





Long Legged Buzzard uncommon resident 
Seen on all my three visits, but chiefly in the north. The first
picture was taken during my winter trip in the desert, and the other pictures
were taken along the border track at Kfar Ruppin.



Marbled Duck fairly rare local resident in the Hula Valley
Our only sightings were on our first trip at Hula


Marsh Harrier fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor.
At Kfar Ruppin I saw it virtually daily with up to 10 on a day.



 





Namaqua Dove Scarce breeding summer visitor.
The Namaqua Dove was first identified in Israel in 1961 and first
found breeding in 1980. We saw this bird at Eilat on our first visit
in 1983, when it was still a very rare bird in Israel.













Night Heron resident locally common breeding and passage migrant.
The first two pictures show a flock of Night Herons arriving and 
landing on the lagoons at Eilat.
At Kfar Ruppin up to 300 birds could be seen in the heronery along
the border with Jordan. I extracted a number of  birds from the nets
over the fish ponds, some of which were in poor condition.


 Nightingale common Spring migrant and breeds along the Jordan River.
My only sighting at Kfar Ruppin was a single bird along the Jordan border.


Northern Wheatear Very common passage migrant.

One of the great surprises was the total lack of  all Wheatears seen of all species during my
 visit to Kfar Ruppin, even thou I was searching suitable areas for them.  My sum totals
 were 2 females on the l7th March with l still present on the l8th and one on the 22nd March.






































Orphean Warbler fairly common passage migrant and summer breeding visitor.
I was very fortunate to trap and ring 13 different birds at Kfar Ruppin with 
adult males and females and birds still in 1st W. plumage which in plumage
were like large plump Lesser Whitethroats. I took the opportunity to photograph
them all .













Ortolan Buntings Common passage migrant.
Seen on our first and third visits. At Kfar Ruppin I first recorded two on
the 13th March, the main influx occurred as the Cretzschmar Bunting was finishing.
On the 29th March 3 were found with 12 on the 1st April, 45 on the 2nd, 
with 60 on the 6th April, my last day. I ringed a total of 17. 
It was strange that the Ortolan's replaced the Cretzschmar's to the day,
They fed in the same areas and even used the same bushes to rest in.


Osprey Winter visitor mainly in Northern Israel and a scarce passage migrant.
At Kfar Ruppin when I arrived at the end of February, I found several birds
which were probably wintering around the fish ponds. Passage was also noted
from mid-March and it was seen daily with up to 10 on a day.



Palestine Sunbird a common resident
Seen on all three trips, at Kfar Ruppin small numbers could be

 found around the Kibbutz.


 





























 


Various Pallas's Gulls in adult (winter & summer plumages) & immature types.
Quite common winter visitor to the North & Central Israel
Our first sighting was on our first trip at Ma'agan Mikhael, at Kfar Ruppin
30 Pallas'sGulls were present around the fish ponds when I arrived 
at the end of February, by mid-March numbers started to decrease with just 
one 1st.W. left by early April. They were often seen with the Armenian Gulls.














 Male Pallid Harrier fairly common passage migrant.
On our first trip we had several fine adult males arrive
in off the sea at Eilat. At Kfar Ruppin single males were
recorded on four dates and 2 an adult and sub-adult
were seen on one date. I even had one "bounce" out
of my mist-net at the ringing site.




Male Penduline Tit fairly uncommon migrant and winter visitor
Only seen at Kfar Ruppin with a fine male trapped on the 10th March, 
12 seen along the Jordan border on the 26th March, and up to 4 seen
close to the ringing site at the end of March.






Pied Kingfisher common resident in suitable habitat in North & Central Israel.
Good numbers seen in the North on our first trip and at Kfar Ruppin it was by
far the commonest Kingfisher around the fish ponds and up to 50 on a day could
be seen. What was worrying was the number that was being self caught in the nets
over the fish ponds. On one day alone I released 26 different birds and during the 
period I found several dead in the nets. Seven were ringed from these nets and within
a week one was re-trapped.





 


 



 Pygmy Cormorants In the 1930's it was a fairly common breeding bird
but due to drainage and persecution by fisherman it ceased to breed.
At Kfar Ruppin I recorded good numbers virtually daily and on the 1st March
I counted 75 birds flying over probably going to roost. 
In the Heronery which I discovered on the border with Jordan I discovered
up to 20 pairs breeding here.




Purple Heron fairly common passage migrant
Seen on both our first and third trips. At Kfar Ruppin a single bird was
seen on the 28th March and a party of 7 came in from Jordan and then
departed North.





Red Rumped Swallows Common passage migrant and fairly common
 breeding summer visitor to North Israel.
Good numbers seen on our first trip and at Kfar Ruppin first seen
on the 1st March but numbers rapidly increased to 300 on the 20th
and 500 by the 25th.















 


 



Various Red Throated Pipits in transitional plumage
Very common passage migrant and fairly common winter visitor.
Good numbers seen on all three trips. At Kfar Ruppin migrants rapidly
increased from just 1 on the 2nd March to 70 on the 11th, 120 on the
17th, 200 on the 19th and 300 on the 20th. When I left on the 6th April
40 were still present.


Ringed Plover common passage migrant and winter visitor
Recorded around the fish ponds at Kfar Ruppin with up to
16 on a day.


Ruff Common passage migrant and uncommon winter visitor
Large numbers recorded at Kfar Ruppin with the maximum 
daily count was 125 on the 2nd April
 





Sand Partridge common resident chiefly in arid areas in the South
Seen only around Eilat in both our first and winter trips but not
recorded around Kfar Ruppin.






Male Sardinian Warbler fairly common resident in Central & Northern Israel
Just seen at Kfar Ruppin on 8 dates, chiefly singles but 3 on the 24th & 2 on the 27th.
Just a single bird was trapped and ringed.















Savi's Warbler fairly common passage migrant.
At Kfar Ruppin ringing site this species was often singing at first
light but soon stopped. Small numbers were recorded passing through
this area with up to 6 present on a day and a total of 28 were ringed 
by myself up to the 6th April when I left the site.



Scrub Warbler Fairly common resident in desert type areas.
Only seen in small numbers on our first two trips always in desert or arid areas.
Not recorded around Kfar Ruppin. 


Sedge Warbler common passage migrant
At Kfar Ruppin I recorded it virtually daily at the ringing site with a
daily maximum of 10 and during my stay I ringed a total of 47 birds.












Short Toed Eagle  common passage migrant and breeding species
A number seen on passage during our first visit, chiefly in the Yotvata
area. At Kfar Ruppin just 4 birds seen moving North.


Short Toed Lark common passage migrant and breeding summer visitor
Recorded on our first and third trips. At Kfar Ruppin, small numbers 
were recorded on four dates including a party of 8 around the fish ponds.








Slender Billed Gulls fairly common passage migrant.
On our first trip, good numbers were present on the ponds
at Eilat including many immature type birds. The first picture
shows immature birds on the causeway around the pools with
a migrant flock of Collared Pratincoles.





Smyrna Kingfisher fairly common resident in Northern & Central Israel
On our first trip, this was one of our most wanted birds and we saw a number
around Ma'agan Mikhaal and at Hula. At Kfar Ruppin it was always present 
around the fish ponds and I extracted and ringed a number from the
fishing nets, I also trapped one at the ringing site.



Southern Grey Shrike  of the race aucheri and previously belonged
to the Great Grey Shrike complex is a resident in most of Israel.
Recorded on all three of our trips, at Kfar Ruppin is was chiefly seen
in small numbers mainly along the boarder with Jordan.
 











Female & Male Spanish Sparrows  common breeding and passage migrant.
Large numbers of Spanish Sparrows were seen heading North across the deserts on our first
trip and at Kfar Ruppin an influx occurred from the 25th March when 300 occurred at the ringing 
site. Numbers remained high with 1,000 present on the 30th March & the 1st April many of which departed North. I trapped and ringed 143 at the ringing site.



Spoonbill Quite common passage migrant chiefly in Central and Northern Israel.
At Kfar Ruppin a good passage was noted during my stay and I recorded it
on 13 dates. A number of the parties stopped off fairly briefly at the fish ponds
before departing North. My daily maximum was 52 on the 5th April, 1997.







Spur Winged Plover Common resident breeder.
First seen at Ma'agan Mikhael on the Mediterranean coast on our first
trip I also saw odd birds during our winter trip at Eilat and it proved to be 
very common around the Kfar Ruppin Kibbutz with 300-500 present.
I also extracted one from the fishing nets around the fish ponds, which I
ringed and it flew away strongly.
You can see the spur on the top of its wing.






Squacco Heron Fairly common Spring migrant and a scarce breeding bird.
Seen on our first and my third trip. At Kfar Ruppin, I extracted 6 from the
fishing nets set around the fish ponds which I was able to ring and all
six flew away strongly. I was unable to locate any in the Heronery on the border
with Jordan. 












Steppe Buzzard Abundant passage migrant
Very common in the South on our first visit but not recorded
at Kfar Ruppin.



Stone Curlew fairly common resident and also a winter visitor.
At Kfar Ruppin it was recorded throughout my stay in
suitable habitat and probably 10 pairs were holding territory

 around the Kibbutz.




  
Steppe Eagle Abundant passage migrant and scarce winter visitor.
On our first trip we saw many as we drove South towards Eilat
in the more arid/desert areas. Also recorded it at Eilat during my
winter visit but I only identified 1 at Kfar Ruppin although many
dots could be seen over the hills flanking the valley may very 
well have been this species.



 


 




 Striated Scops Owl rare winter visitor
One of the highlights of my winter visit in 1995, when I found this
Striated Scops Owl hidden in an acacia tree in a dry wadi near
Eilat. It proved quite difficult to photograph as to get the bird
face on I was photographing directly into the sun.








Subalpine Warbler scarce Spring migrant.
Much to my surprise, the very first bird I trapped at Kfar Ruppin was
the top female Subalpine Warbler and being a female I was cautious with the
identification, ass it is a scarce migrant in Israel. I was surprise to find 4
different individuals at Kfar Ruppin, 2 males and 2 females both of which
I trapped, the second one being a 1stW. female type. 













Temminck's Stint passage migrant and a scarce winter visitor.
A number of birds were found to be wintering at Kfar Ruppin and
during mid-March up to 7 on a day could be found in the ditches 
around the fish ponds and my daily maximum was 12. All were still
in winter plumage.




Tree Pipit common passage migrant. At Kfar Ruppin I saw my first ones 
of the Spring on the 17 March and then recorded in small numbers with 
a daily maximum of 12. 





Tristram's Grackle is a fairly common resident in arid areas, and I
did not record it in the Kfar Ruppin area.






Female Trumpeter Finch resident and often nomadic. Just seen on my winter
visit in December, 1995 when odd birds were found in the arid wadi's 
behind Eilat.


Turtle Dove common on passage and breeding in Northern & 
Central Israel. At Kfar Ruppin, I first recorded it on the 25th March
and from early April up to 15 could be found around the fish ponds.



Upcher's Warbler is a breeding summer visitor very rarely seen on passage.
I discovered this bird singing outside of my Kibbutz chalet at Kfar Ruppin
on the 4th to 6th April,1995. It was generally very elusive but occasionally 
giving good views but proved difficult to photograph. Luckily, it sang most
of the time and was seen by a number of local birders.










Water Pipit is a common passage migrant and winter visitor.
At Kfar Ruppin, migrants were seen around the fish 
ponds with a daily maximum of  40 in mid-March but by April
only odd migrants were being seen.



Whinchat is a fairly common migrant throughout Israel,
although I only recorded the odd migrant.


Whiskered Tern  is a fairly common passage migrant chiefly in the north,
 our only sightings were on our first visit on the Sea of Galilee.




 White Cheeked Tern is a rare visitor mainly to the Eilat area.
We were fortunate to see one in April, 1983 when one was present
on the North Beach















White Crowned Black Wheatear is a resident in some of the desert areas 
in eastern and southern Israel. We recorded it in the south on our first visit in 1983
and I also saw it on my second visit around Eilat in December, 1995, but did
not record it at Kfar Ruppin.










 




Very common passage migrant and a fairly common winter visitor.
We saw large migration flights on our first visit as we drove South
and around Kfar Ruppin many would roost with Black Storks
around the Fish Ponds.On the 17th March 1997, I recorded a massive
migration when an estimated 30,000 moved North in just 2 hours and
at times the sky was completely covered with Storks.




 



White Tailed Plover is a rare passage migrant and winter visitor to Israel.
We saw 2 at Eilat on our first visit in April, 1983.




White Wagtail is a common migrant and winter visitor and does bred
in Northern Israel. Proved to be very common at Kfar Ruppin with
up to 300 migrants on a day could be found around the fish ponds.


Wood Sandpiper is a common migrant which occasionally winters.
At Kfar Ruppin, I recorded it almost daily with a daily maximum of 10.









Fairly common migrant and also breeds in Northern and Central Israel.
At Kfar Ruppin I recorded it on 7 dates with 2 on 1 date and trapped
a single bird at the Ringing Site.


Wryneck a fairly common migrant in Israel. At Kfar Ruppin, I recorded singles on
 9 dates between 7 March & 6 April and trapped one bird, and we also recorded
it on our first visit at Yotvata in the south.



Yellow Vented Bulbul was found throughout Israel, although I found 

it to be commoner in the North & Central Israel, although surprisingly
I only trapped 4 at Kfar Ruppin.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Shirihai Hadoram  Birds of Israel 1996.
Porter et al           Field Guide to the Birds of the Middle East 1996. 


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