Saturday, 26 March 2011

Bird Ringing/Banding took me to Israel!

Today, My Ringing license came through the post from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) which got me remembering. This time four years ago I embarked on a epic ringing adventure going to Kabbutz Lotan in Israel. I went with a lovely guy called Dave Riley who I met a couple of times on Fair isle in Shetland, There was several of us (all licensed ringers) from all over the UK going there has a group. As  first timer, I saw and ringed plenty of new species of birds after travelling all over the south of the country.

Little Green Bee-eater

We ringed at three locations (Pool side and the Organic Garden - both at Lotan, Yotvata - Fantastic birding spot). All locations had different habitats so we were seeing/ringing a wide variety of species. From Arabian Babblers to Scops Owls and Hoopoes, Red Rumped Swallows to Eastern Bonelli's Warblers and Dead Sea Sparrows, and that was just the ringing side.

Black Eared Wheatear 

 Isabeline Wheatear

We got up at first light (4:30am) every day so we could make the most of the morning ringing as by 10:30am, it got too hot and the birds began to have their siesta. From then we had lunch with the community then a few of us went birding in the afternoon going as far as Eilat in the south and as far north as K76. Birding  was incredible as large flocks of birds of prey (up to 500 birds) moved up through the valley. We had as many as 10,000 Steppe Buzzards fly over us during the course of one day with several types of Eagles and 2 species of Vultures amongst them. We even ventured out late one evening to see the rare Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse coming over from Jordan to there favourite water hole in israel.
Short Toed Lark

Redstart (Easten form)

Laughing Dove

Israel was defintly an life experience I will never foget, from Fantastic birds to amazing people. One day I would love to go again to what I describe as an incredible Journey!!


  1. Lovely pix! Find a dapper male Black-eared Wheatear on Fair Isle this spring!!

  2. Thanks Hugh.....I hope I find something this spring!!