Spring 2018

Noam Weiss & Rea Shaish 22/07/2018 00:00

Ringing summary of Spring 2018, Eilat's Bird sanctuary

 

The ringing season of spring 2018 started on the 15/2/18 and ended on the 15/5/18. We conducted the catch using a constant effort method protocol that we use since spring 2014. The method includes 4 hours of trapping from first light, the same nets open every day (208 meters long) and one "Helgoland trap".

We did not use tape luring or food to attract the birds. In addition, we conducted few special ringing sessions for Swallows (with tape luring in the afternoons) and wader trapping in the sanctuary's saltpans, for sampling only.

In total, we caught 7140 birds from 90 species with 1332 retraps, 1 recovery from another Israeli station and 5 foreign recoveries. The trapping rate was similar to our average from recent years.

 

Little Reed Warbler - IBRCE Spring 2018

Photo: Noam Weiss

 

 

Catch by month

 

Spring 2018 showed very low catch on March, average catch in April and intensive catch on May. Please note the in the graph only half of February and May are displayed.

 

 

 

Daily total catch

 

During spring 2018, we noted two main migration waves. One on the last week of April, dominated by Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroats and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers, and another on the second week of May with mainly Eastern Olivaceous Warblers, Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroats and Garden Warblers. The usual migration waves of the end of March and the beginning of April did not show up in force as they usually do.

 

 

 

Diversity of species

 

The most common species caught were Blackcap (1,692), Lesser Whitethroat (1,139), Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (519), Chiffchaff (417), Eurasian Reed Warbler (312), Spanish Sparrow (263), Barn Swallow (244), Garden Warbler (121), Eastern Bonelli's Warbler (91) and House Sparrow (88).

 

Barred Warbler - IBRCE Spring 2018

Photo: Noam Weiss

 

During the migration wave of the end of April, diversity was high. The diversity remained relatively high also along the first half of May until we closed the official monitoring on the 15/5. We can safely say that Passerines migration (abundance and diversity) kept on going well beyond the usual migration season we know from the past, into the second half of May (we did some sampling ringing sessions and field monitoring).

 

 
 

The Physical condition of the migratory Passerines ringed in Eilat


The location of Eilat, on the main Eurasian African flyway, just past the challenging crossing of the foodless Sahara Desert, makes the Eilat bird sanctuary a crucial and important stopover site for the migratory birds. The physical condition of the migratory Passerines, reflected in their body mass and fat score (0 to 8), are clues for their energetic ability to continue their journeys north. In recent years, we have noticed significant differences in the average body mass and fat score of many species from year to year and we noticed a trend.


In some years, most species were heavy and fat while in other years most species showed low body mass and fat scores. The next charts show that in spring 2014 the fat score of all the common species and the body mass of most species was the highest while in spring 2015 it was the lowest of the last 5 springs. Spring 2018 showed relatively high levels of fat (less than spring 2014) in most common species and average in others. For this chart, we only chose Passerine species that cross the Sahara Desert.

 

 
 

A research that made by Katia Semchenko, a high school student, under our guidance, found a significant correlation between the physical conditions of the Passerines to the total catch. In years when the bird's physical condition was good, their numbers (represented in the catch) was low, while when their physical condition was poor, they arrive in Eilat in high numbers.


This research also found a significant correlation between amounts of rain south of the Sahara Desert to their physical condition and numbers in Eilat. In years when there was more rain in Al Khartoum and Al Ubeid in The Sudan, the researched Passerines showed high fat and body mass but small numbers in Eilat. While in years with less rain, the birds arrived in higher numbers but lower fat and weight. Dr. Irith Aloni from the Ben Gurion University in the Negev, found a significant correlation between rain in The Sudan and the arrival time of Lesser Whitethroats to Eilat. Rain south of the Sahara Desert was a clue for the bird's early arrival.

 

Other interesting observations

 

We trapped higher numbers than usual of some species:

Garden Warbler - trapped mainly in May. Following the end of the ringing season, we kept seeing high numbers of them until the end of the month. 240 Garden Warblers were observed in our field monitoring survey on the 25/5. The Barred Warblers were also caught in relatively high numbers.

 

     

 

Olive Tree Warbler - High numbers caught mainly on the second week of May.
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - During the end of April and the beginning of May, we trapped high numbers of Eastern Olivaceous Warblers. On the second week of May, it was the dominant specie in all ringing days.

 

 

Oive-tree Warbler      Photo: Noam Weiss

 

 

Some species were caught in small numbers compared to past years:

 

 

       
 

 

Rings recoveries

 

During spring 2018, we recovered five rings from foreign origin. Four Barn Swallows- two from Hungary, one from Czech Republic and one from Malta. The Maltese Swallow was ringed as an adult on the 29/4/2017 and a year minus 2 weeks later it was caught in Eilat. This recovery might indicate that the same Swallow used different flyways from Africa to Europe in two different springs.

A lesser Whitethroat carrying a Dutch ring was caught in Eilat on the 24/2/2018. The Warbler was originally ringed on the 2/6/2014 as an adult female in Northern Netherlands, 3526 Km from Eilat. This Warbler joins many Lesser Whitethroats of Western European Origin that migrate through Eilat in spring.

On the 7/5/2018, we recovered a Blackcap that was ringed in Meitar (near Beer Sheva) on the 30/4/2015. Recoveries of migrants from other ringing sites in Israel are rare.

A Blackcap that was ringed on the 23/4/2018 in Eilat was caught on the next morning in Wadi Arugut (En Gedi).

 

Rarities

 

Basra Reed Warbler - on the 8/5/2018. This species is globally endangered (EN), breeding probably restricted to swamps and rivers in the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers in southern Iraq and Kuwait, and probably Syria. A decade ago, a few pairs bred in the Hula Valley. Basra Reed Warblers were recorded in the past in Eilat mainly in May.

 

 

Basra Reed Warbler - IBRCE Spring 2018      Photo: Noam Weiss

 

Icterine Warbler - on the 12/5/2018. Quite many Icterine Warblers were recorded in the country during that week.

 

Cyprus Warbler - three of them were ringed during February. Not a rare migrant in Eilat Mountains but rarely uses the bird sanctuary as a stopover site.

 

Menetries's Warbler - two were ringed, two days apart on the last week of March. Very rare elsewhere in the country but quite usual in Eilat in March.

 


 

Acknowledgments

 

Eilat's bird sanctuary and the ringing couldn't have operated without the dedicated and professional work of our many volunteers. In the last spring, we were blessed with a great team - Franz Wenzl who was the "engine" behind the team (Germany), Anton Liebermann (Denmark), Lila Fried (US), Ron Feibish (Israel) who conducted the ringing in the best possible way.

Ohad Sherer our yearlong volunteer, the Raptor count team who came for help (Anna, Gaidis, Jacob, Ragnar and Daniel), Shachar Shalev, Mathew, Wilson, Francis, Yves, Rei, Raz, Noa, Inbal, Doron, Noam, Yoni, El Artzi guiding team, Noa, Shani and Yael from NPA and many others who gave a hand. If we forgot you, we are sorry.

 

 

IBRCE team - Spring 2018      Photo: Rea Shaish

 

 

Here is a summary of all species that were handled in springs in Eilat since 2014:

 

Species

Latin name

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total

Little Grebe

Tachybaptus ruficollis

 

1

     

1

Brown Booby

Sula Leucogaster

     

1

 

1

Little Bittern

Ixobrychus minutus

3

 

5

4

8

20

Cattle Egret

Bubulcus ibis

 

1

     

1

Little Egret

Egretta garzetta

     

1

1

2

Western Reef Heron

Egretta gularis

 

1

     

1

Purple Heron

Ardea purpurea

 

1

     

1

Squacco Heron

Ardeola ralloides

 

4

     

4

Black-crowned Night Heron

Nycricorax nycticorax

 

1

 

1

1

3

White Srork

Ciconia ciconia

 

1

     

1

European Honey-Buzzard

Pernis apivorus

 

3

     

3

Black-winged Kite

Elanus caeruleus

           

Western Marsh Harrier

Circus aeroginosus

 

1

     

1

Common Buzzard

Buteo buteo

12

92

8

9

32

153

Levant Sparrowhawk

Accipiter Brevipes

12

102

5

19

38

176

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Accipiter Nisus

10

11

6

 

8

35

Common Kestrel

Falco tinnunculus

 

1

   

1

2

Common Quail

Coturnix coturnix

4

 

1

 

1

6

Sand Partridge

Ammoperdix heyi

2

2

     

4

Water Rail

Rallus aquaticus

       

1

1

Corncrake

Crex crex

3

2

2

2

1

10

Little Crake

Potzana parva

   

1

3

4

8

Spotted Crake

Porzana potzana

1

       

1

Baillon's Crake

Porzana pusilla

     

1

 

1

Common Moorhen

Gallinula chloropus

     

2

1

3

Eurasian Stone Curlew

Burhinus oedicnemus

 

1

     

1

Kentish Plover

Charadrius alexandrinus

 

1

     

1

Little Ringed Plover

Chatadrius dubius

 

1

     

1

Common Ringed Plover

Charadrius hiaticula

 

2

 

1

 

3

Greater Sand Plover

Charadrius leschenaultii

 

1

     

1

Spur-winged Lapwing

Vanellus spinosus

     

4

 

4

Dunlin

Calidris alpina

 

1

     

1

Curlew Sandpiper

Calidris feruginea

 

3

     

3

Little Stint

Calidris minuta

 

22

 

34

17

73

Ruddy Turnstone

Arenaria interpress

 

1

     

1

Wood Sandpiper

Tringa glareola

     

2

 

2

Common Greenshank

Tringa nebularia

 

1

     

1

Marsh Sandpiper

Ttringa stagnatilis

       

1

1

Common Sandpiper

Actitis hypoleuca

 

1

     

1

Red-necked Phalarope

Phalaropus lobatus

 

3

 

1

1

5

Ruff

Philomachus pugnax

 

17

 

1

1

19

Caspian Gull

Larus cachinans

 

1

     

1

Slender-billed Gull

Chroicocephalus genei

2

34

 

2

 

38

Black-headed Gull

Chroicocephalus  ridibundus

 

9

     

9

Little Tern

Sterna albifrons

 

19

 

13

4

36

Common Tern

Sterna hirundo

 

92

 

5

2

99

Gull-billed Tern

Gelochelidon nilotica

 

2

     

2

White-winged Tern

Chlidunias leucopterus

 

1

     

1

Eurasian Collared Dove

Streptopelia decaocto

48

14

40

19

25

146

Laughing Dove

Streptopelia senegalensis

50

41

33

35

33

192

European Turtle Dove

Streptopelia turtur

3

 

1

 

1

5

Namaqua Dove

Oena capensis

4

1

3

2

2

12

Long-eared Owl

Asio otus

2

1

     

3

Eurasian Scops Owl

Otus scops

6

1

 

2

1

10

Eurasian Nightjar

Caprimulgus europaeus

1

       

1

Common Swift

Apus apus

     

8

1

9

Alpine Swift

Apus melba

     

1

 

1

Pallid Swift

Apus pallidus

       

2

2

Eurasian Hoopoe

Upupa epops

5

2

4

5

7

23

Common Kingfisher

Alcedo Atthis

 

1

1

 

4

6

White-breasted Kingfisher

Halcyon smyrnensis

1

       

1

Pied Kingfisher

Ceryle rudis

 

1

     

1

European Bee-eater

Mrops apiaster

 

10

8

9

16

43

Little Green Bee-eater

Merops orientalis

2

4

2

8

 

16

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Merops persicus

 

2

 

3

 

5

Rose-ringed Parakeet

Psittacula krameri

 

3

 

4

2

9

Eurasian Wryneck

Jynx torquilla

16

12

14

17

5

64

Crested Lark

Galerida cristata

 

1

     

1

Greater Short-toed Lark

Calandella brachydactyla

 

1

     

1

Sand Martin

Riparia riparia

41

264

79

265

32

681

Pale Crag Martin

Ptyonoprogne fuligula

 

9

1

14

 

24

Red-rumped Swallow

Cecropis daurica

223

167

9

85

27

511

Barn Swallow

Hirunde rustica

443

845

147

1115

244

2794

House Martin

Delichon urbica

1

164

1

211

3

380

Tawny Pipit

Anthus campestris

       

1

1

Red-throated Pipit

Anthus cervinus

 

4

 

1

 

5

Tree Pipit

Anthus trivialis

13

11

7

10

8

49

White Wagtail

Motacilla alba

 

3

   

1

4

Grey Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea

       

2

2

Citrine Wagtail

Motacilla citreola

 

1

   

1

2

Western Yellow Wagtail

Motacilla flava

   

2

1

2

5

White-spectacled Bulbul

Pycnonotus xanthopygos

106

58

80

51

78

373

European Robin

Erithacus rubecola

3

 

1

1

 

5

Thrush Nightingale

Luscinia luscinia

20

38

8

21

21

108

Common Nightingale

Luscinia megarhynchos

16

15

34

30

12

107

Bluethroat

Luscinia svicica

47

51

19

29

25

171

Rufous-tailed Scrub robin

Cercotrichas galactotes

9

22

17

10

18

76

Black Bush Robin

Cercotrichas podobe

1

   

1

 

2

Common Redstart

Phoenicurus phoenicurus

5

16

6

23

12

62

Blackstart

Cercomela melanura

     

1

 

1

Black-eared Wheatear

Oenanthe hispanica

 

1

   

2

3

Isabelline Wheatear

Oenanthe isabellina

 

1

     

1

Northern Wheatear

Oenanthe oenanthe

 

3

   

1

4

Siberian Stonechat

Saxicola maura

1

2

     

3

Whinchat

Saxicola rubetra

     

1

 

1

Common Stonechat

Saxicola rubicola

1

       

1

Common Blackbird

Turdus merula

1

 

1

   

2

Song Thrush

Turdus philomelos

8

3

 

3

 

14

Eurasian Blackcap

Sylvia atricapilla

1089

1910

968

1505

1692

7164

Graden Warbler

Sylvia borin

263

25

57

42

121

508

Subalpine Warbler

Sylvia cantilans

2

1

2

11

 

16

Common Whitethroat

Sylvia communis

82

128

74

77

82

443

Eastern Orphean Warbler

Sylvia crassirostris

27

71

19

69

25

211

Lesser Whitethroat

Sylvia curruca

784

1488

798

1326

1139

5535

Sardinian Warbler

Sylvia melanocephala

43

29

7

26

23

128

Cyprus Warbler

Sylvia melanothorax

       

3

3

Menetries's Warbler

Sylvia mystacea

1

     

2

3

Barred Warbler

Sylvia nisoria

27

5

37

8

44

121

Ruppell's Warbler

Sylvia rueppelli

32

8

10

18

7

75

Graceful Prinia

Prinia gracilis

24

9

7

6

18

64

Paddyfield Warbler

Acrocephalus Agricola

   

1

   

1

Great Reed Warbler

Acrocephalus Arundinaceus

5

7

14

14

10

50

Basra Reed Warbler

Acrocephalus griseldis

       

1

1

Marsh Warbler

Acrocephalus Palustris

1

1

1

1

 

4

Sedge Warbler

Acrocephalus Schoenabaenus

85

107

37

164

63

456

Eurasian Reed Warbler

Acrocephalus Scirpaceus

185

220

312

548

312

1577

River Warbler

Locustella fluviatilis

2

   

2

 

4

Savi's Warbler

Locustella luscinioides

36

37

28

95

42

238

Icterine Warbler

Hippolais icterina

       

1

1

Upcher's Warbler

Iduna languida

       

2

2

Olive-tree Warbler

Hippolais olivetorum

3

3

2

5

20

33

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

Iduna pallida

159

273

209

335

519

1495

Common Chiffchaff

Phylloscopus collybita

224

413

143

521

417

1718

Balkan Warbler

Phylloscopus orientalis

122

154

143

451

91

961

Wood Warbler

Phylloscopus sibilatrix

2

4

10

5

3

24

Willow Warbler

Phylloscopus trochilus

6

16

15

28

18

83

Spotted Flycatcher

Muscicapa striata

10

11

5

4

17

47

Collared Flycacther

Ficedula albicollis

3

5

10

2

1

21

European Pied Flycatcher

Ficedula hypoleuca

1

2

1

1

1

6

Red-breasted Flycatcher

Ficedula parva

 

1

     

1

Semi-collared Flycatcher

Ficedula semitorquata

   

2

1

 

3

Eurasian Penduline-tit

Remiz pendulinus

18

3

2

4

3

30

Red-backed Shrike

Lanius collurio

 

4

1

 

2

7

Masked Shrike

Lanius nubicus

22

78

35

26

35

196

Woodchat Shrike

Lanius senator

2

3

 

2

1

8

Palestine Sunbird

Nectarinia osea

6

3

1

2

5

17

Arabian Babbler

Turdoides squamiceps

6

1

2

   

9

Tristram's Starling

Onychognathus trisramii

2

     

5

7

Rosy Starling

Sturnus roseus

   

1

   

1

Eurasian Golden Oriole

Oriolus oriolus

25

3

 

1

3

32

House Sparrow

Passer domesticus

385

132

19

92

88

716

Spanish Sparrow

Passer hispaniolensis

825

316

242

112

263

1758

Dead Sea Sparrow

Passer moabiticus

6

13

4

1

 

24

Common Chafffinch

Fringilla coelebs

 

1

 

2

 

3

Hawfinch

Coccothraustes coccothraustes

 

3

     

3

Cretzschmar's Bunting

Emberiza caesia

2

7

3

3

4

19

Ortolan Bunting

Emberiza hortulana

1

4

5

1

6

17

Indian Silverbill

Lonchura malabarica

33

6

13

12

7

71

Total

 

5677

7715

3787

7617

5808

30604

 

 
Rea Shaish and a Little Bittern - IBRCE Spring 2018      Photo: Noam Weiss
 
 
land marks