News from the Swamp
We're back after a long break and we hope to keep updating you from now on again on a more regular basis.
The valley is full of birds, and this period is the climax of the spring migration. Most cranes have already left, but a few tens are still present in the fields. They were replaced by White storks, seen now by their thousands, mainly hunting for rodents in the alfalfa fields. One was even seen taking a poor Corncrake! Several Corncrakes were seen in the last few days, and Quails are heard singing from the dense grass. Crakes have been passing through in large numbers, with 23 Spotted Crakes seen from the southern part of the Agmon last week (and one of each Baillon's and Little). Our ringing team ringed one Little Crake on 20th.
Eagle numbers are still high too, with five Greater Spotted eagles lingering in the fields, with some Lesser Spotted and Eastern Imperial Eagles seen too. White-tailed eagles are very vocal now, and can be seen displaying above the Agmon. Both Pallid and Montaguʼs Harriers are seen among the commoner Marsh. Overhead, good raptor migration is seen daily, mainly Steppe Buzzards and Black Kites. White Pelicans migrate in large numbers now too and a pick of 6000 Levant Sparrowhawks, passing in a single day.
Aerial insectivores are seen in huge numbers - Collared Pratincole numbers are good, with over 100 birds seen on 21st, and mixed flocks of thousands of Common Swifts, Barn Swallow and Sand Martin are seen hunting in the air.
The flowering Eucalyptus trees attract many passerines and near passerines, mainly Blackcaps in huge numbers, but also several Golden Orioles and Greater Spotted Cuckoos.
Our ringing team had two great finds lately - a female Common Rosefinch and a female Semicollared Flycatcher, both ringed on the 13th and considered rarities in the area.