Friday, July 11, 2014

"Pargiot"= Chick on a stick*

The summer at Eilat is long and very very warm (39-48C in most days so far). Luckily, birds are functioning in such weather, providing a food distraction. In addition, some first autumn migrants are seen around, joining the local breeders, some summering species and the cutest: chicks+fledglings on a regular basis. Birds are definitely on the move. 
When birding at Eilat in early June it is highly recommended to focus on water... either at the Northern Beach or drinking hotspots. When visiting the later, one must hide carefully to prevent any disturbance (including using a cover, staying far enough to watch without being too close etc.). In all cases keep on drinking constantly if you don't want to observe weird flocks of dancing Hippos.
While birding at the beach is more known, birding at Arava Valley is for the tough ones (that's why I went birding up north for 5 days...)-->to make sure you know a little more, noted nowadays (best from 5:30-7:30am) at Northern Beach: 
Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus שחפית רסן, 
5+ white-cheeked terns Sterna repressa שחפית שוניות
1 Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis שחפית בנגלית (last week)
Common ים & Little גמדית Terns in nice numbers
3+ Arctic Skuas Stercorarius parasiticus חמסן טפיל
White eyed Gull Ichthyaetus leucophthalmus שחף לבן עין
Striated Heron Butorides striatus אנפית מנגרובים
Western Reef Heron Egretta gularis לבנית ים סוף
and few more species every now and then...

I came back to Eilat right on time to guide at the IBRCE Park and to ring some of the spring yield- Tens of juvenile House Sparrows Passer domesticus דרור בית and White-spectacled bulbul Pycnonotus xanthopygos בולבול with fewer yet amazingly cute juvenile Rofous Bush Robin Cercotrichas galactotes חמריה חלודת זנב. 

Rofous Bush Robin Cercotrichas galactotes חמריה חלודת זנב
Rofous Bush Robin Cercotrichas galactotes חמריה חלודת זנב
The most surprising was an Olivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida שיחנית קטנה. Normally, some are seen heading south in this part of the summer but, Iv'e never seen any of them stabbed, carrying a huge Acacia thorn. Perhaps from the nest, perhaps a not very successful attempt of a shrike. The result is pretty much astonishing: It was in good physical condition and seems to survive this injury well enough to load some fat!

Chick on a stickOlivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida שיחנית קטנה
Chick on a stickOlivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida שיחנית קטנה
 The thorn was un removable so I cut the edges gently and released the poor thing.

Flocks of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca יאורית מצרית were noted at the end of February (all around southern Arava Valley, during two weeks more or less), few stayed around in pairs (or single in some cases). Two were observed during these months on a daily basis at the IBRCE Park (Anita Lake). On the 10th we found out they have a lovely big family now, with 8 new chicks! Congrats!

Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca יאורית מצרית 
No, these ones shouldn't be skewered

Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca יאורית מצרית 

Yael Lehnardt

Head Ringer & Guide, IBRCE

Not only feathers

Not only the birds are breeding(!) and when watching a nice drinking spot at the Arava Valley two lovely pups of Golden Jackals Canis aureus תן זהוב were watching me. Their mom didn't like it too much but they were so curious that they came up to 3 meters from me (a reminder- when birding at a drinking spot I'm covered).

Golden Jackals Canis aureus תן זהוב

Golden Jackals Canis aureus תן זהוב

*"Pargiot" is an Israeli dish which includes chicken chicks skewered on a "stick" cooked over a barbeque. The Olivaceous Warbler reminded me this and that's the reason for this post's headline. NOT the Egyptian Goose!