Trip report: Kfar Ruppin, Jordan Valley, Israel, Autumn 1997

Janne Kilpimaa

I worked as a volunteer ringer in Kfar Ruppin International ringing station in September-November 1997. The dates I was present in Kfar Ruppin were 2.9. - 17.10., 29.10. - 21.11., 28.11. - 30.11.. In the mornings I worked at the ringing station and thus most observations are by-products of my work there. In the afternoons there was also time to check the fishponds and nearby fields. Many other birdwatchers participating in Soaring Birds Migration Study and work at the ringing station made also records in Kfar Ruppin during this period. Thus, some records included in this report were first made by other birdwatchers. Especially Chris Dunn, Rami Lindroos and Barak Granat made some good observations. However, bulk of the data of this report is from my notebook and the estimations of numbers of different species is more or less my personal view. I include some records of particular interest made solely by others but in those cases names of the observers are included. Most records refer to kibbutz Kfar Ruppin but some interesting records from nearby areas are also included.

In this report I also use the ringing data of Kfar Ruppin International Ringing Station. Data is collected by many volunteer ringers who were Janne Kilpimaa (September-November), Chris Dunn (September-October), Hans Martens (mid October-mid November), Karl-Heintz Reiser (second half October), Judy Sabo (October), Nadya Zelenova and Igor Reutov (second half November). Ringer in charge was Koby Meyrom from Nir David. This data is especially informative in many passerines which are either scarce or difficult to see or identify in the field including Savi's warbler, Marsh warbler and many Sylvia-warblers. In the ringing data I include also the dates when I was not working at the ringing station or present in Kfar Ruppin in September-November 1997. Monthly totals are from September and October. November is excluded since birds were trapped in two different locations in November and data is not comparable with the two previous months. However, some interesting ringings from November are mentioned in the report.

One must notice that many species of birds leave their breeding grounds already in July-August and passage of many species of birds (Olivaceous warbler, Bonelli's warbler, Swift and Pallid swift etc.) had already passed or ceasing when I arrived to Kfar Ruppin 2.9. Some species of wintering birds (Cormorant, Little bustard, Great black headed gull etc.) were just starting to arrive when I left 30.11.. It was interesting to notice how rapidly some migratory species passed through the study area. Turtle dove was the most numerous dove in September but totally absent later in October-November. The passage of Hortolan and Gretchman's bunting was compressed to a few weeks in September.

The abundance of many waders was heavily related to the condition of the ponds and reservoirs of the kibbutz. They were numerous when there were some empty ponds or reservoirs and almost absent when all the ponds were full. Thus it is very difficult to say anything about the timing of their passage. The occurence of gulls and ducks was also more or less influenced by the condition of the ponds.

Many species of raptors migrate in good numbers through Northern valleys. Raptors and other soaring birds are observed at different stations along Bet Shean valley in Soaring bird migration study. In this report I refer only to records made in Kfar Ruppin where raptor migration was not studied. Raptors migrate in high altitudes and are easily ignored. This explains low numbers of several species of raptors in this report.

Little grebe Tachybabtus ruficollis
Daily 5-10 at the fishponds

Cormorant Phacrocorax carbo
Odd birds and small flocks occasionally during the whole period. Increased in numbers the last days of November.

Pygmy cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmaeus
In September up to 80 daily at the roosting place near the ringing station. Less numerous up to 10-20 in October - November.

White pelican Pelecanus onochrotalus
Shooting keeps pelicans away from the fishponds but migrating and wandering flocks were seen occasionally during the whole period.

Little bittern Ixobrychus minimus
Single birds seen occasionally during the whole period. One ringed at the fishponds.

Night heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Up to 80 in September. Decreased in numbers in October but was seen daily at the fishponds.

Cattle egret Bubulcus ibis
Common during the whole autumn.

Squacco heron Ardeola ralloides
Up to 10 in September. Last seen early November.

Great white egret Egretta alba
Common wintering bird. First seen 17.9.. Increased end October. Max. 400 in November.

Little egret Egretta garzetta
Common through the whole autumn. Max. 160 in 17.9..

Grey heron Ardea cinerea
Common the whole Autumn. Max. 110 13.9.

Purple heron Ardea purpurea
Single birds seen occasionally during the whole period. Max. 4 6.9..

Black stork Ciconia nigra
Common during the whole period. 25.9. 240 birds migrating.

White stork Ciconia ciconia
Massive migration in September. Biggest flocks up to 20 000.

Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
Occasional. Max. 150 7.11. in the reservoir near cemetery.

Glossy ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Small parties seen occasionally.

Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
First two seen 28.11..

Ruddy shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
Only record 30.11. 3 in the big reservoir.

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
First seen end October. Max. 30 in November.

Gadwall Anas strepera
Flock of 4 first seen 16.11..

Shoveler Anas clypeata
Small flocks seen during the whole autumn.

Teal Anas crecca
First 13.9.. Max. 50 in November.

Tufted duck Aythya fuligula
Single birds occasionally.

Black kite Milvus migrans
Common during the whole autumn.

Egyptian vulture Neophorn aegyptius
Two adult birds seen 9.9..

Griffon vulture Gyps fulvus
All records: 5.9. 1, 7.11. 7.

Montague's harrier Circus pygargus
First year birds seen almost daily September early October. One adult female and adult male seen in September.

Pallid harrier Circus macrourus
First record 29.9. 2 - 3 first year birds. 1st year birds seen daily in October. In November one adult male and 1 1st year bird daily near the ringing station.

Hen harrier Circus cyaneus
First record 3.11.. Max. 4 in November.

Marsh harrier Circus aeruginousus
Up to 7 birds seen daily.

Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
First record 5.10.. Single birds seen almost daily October - November

Levant's sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipeps
12.9. one migrating with honey buzzards. Common migrating bird in Bet Shean valley end September-early October. However easily ignored since migrates rapidly in a short period with most birds concentrating in huge flocks up to several thousands.

Honey buzzard Pernis apivorus
Migrates in massive numbers through Bet Shean valley in September. Flocks seen daily in Kfar Ruppin in September.

Common buzzard Buteo buteo
Single birds and small flocks seen occasinally. Max. 11 29.10.. All identified birds of race vulpinus.

Long legged buzzard Buteo rufinus
1 - 2 seen during the whole period.

Spotted eagle Aquila clanga
31.10. 1 (1 caly), 9.11. 1 ad, 1 immature.

Lesser spotted eagle Aquila pomarinus
Migrates in big numbers through eastern part of Bet Shean valley end September early October. Flocks migrating in high altidudes easily ignored and thus only record in Kfar Ruppin 5.10. 3.

Booted eagle Hieraetus pennatus
Single birds seen occasionally especially in September..

Short toed eagle Circaetus gallicus
Max. 6 in 9.9.. Last records mid October.

Osprey Pandion haliaetus
1 - 2 birds seen almost daily during the whole period.

Red footed falcon Falco vespertinus
Ist record 25.9.. Max. 30 early October. No records after mid October.

Kestrel Falco tinnuculus

Hobby Falco subbuteo
Single birds in September-early October.

Peregrine Falco peregrinus
One 1st year bird ringed 31.10.. One 1st year bird seen twice in November.

Merlin Falco columbarius
Adult male 2.11., 1 11.11..

Black francolin Francolinus francolinus
Single birds and small flocks up to 6 seen daily.

Chukar Alectoris chukar
A flock of 22 seen several days at the end of September.

Quail Coturnix coturnix
Seen through the whole period. Max 15 in October - November. Ringing totals: September 2, October 3.

Corncrake Crex crex
Two records: 1 28. - 29.9. and 1 at the ringing station in October (Hans Martens, Karl-Heintz Reiser) .

Little crake Porzana parva
Single 1st year bird first seen 2.10..

Spotted crake Porzana porzana
One record in October (Rami Lindroos).

Water rail Rallus aquaticus
First 23.9.. Single birds seen occasionally October - November.

Moorhen Gallinula chlorophus
Seen daily. Increased in October with max. of several tens in November.

Coot Fulica atra
First 10.9.. Max. 100- 200 in November.

Common crane Grus grus
All records: 10.10. 4, 3.11. 30.

Little bustard Tetrax tetrax
Only record 29.11. 2.

Stone curlew Burhinus oedicnemus
Max. 29.9. 50. Last records in mid October.

Black winged stilt Himantopus himantopus
Small flocks seen through the whole autumn.

Avocet Recurvirostra avocetta
First 3 8.11..Max. 40 16.11. and 60 30.11..

Black winged pratincole Glareola nordmanni
Small flocks up to 30 seen almost daily in September.

Collared pratincole Glareola pratincola
Less numerous than Black winged pratincole in September. Often seen in mixed flocks with black winged pratincole.

Ringed plover Charadrius hiaticula
Common through the whole period.

Little ringed plover Charadrius dubius
Common in September - October.

Kentish plover Charadrius alexandrius
First 13 29.9.. Max. 60 8.11..

Pacific golden plover Pluvialis fulva
27. - 28.9. 1 adult, 20.11. 1 in 1st winter/winter plumage with Eurasian golden plovers.

Eurasian golden plover Pluvialis apricaria
First 3 3.11.. Max. 42 16.11., 60 28.11..

White tailed plover Chettusia leucura
No records in Kfar Ruppin but 1 in Tirat Zwi 22.9. and 2 near Newe Etan in 14.10..

Sociable plover Chettusia gregaria
Only record: 1 in the turf field 9.11.. In addition one record outside the study period in August (Chris Dunn).

Spur winged plover Hoplopterus spinosus
Common through the whole period.

Lappwing Vanellus vanellus
First 3 20.9..Max 400 30.11..

Curlew sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
Only record 6.9. 6.

Dunlin Calidris alpina
Single birds seen occasionally through the whole period.

Little stint Calidris minuta
Seen daily. Max. 300.

Temminck's stint Calidris temminckii
Up to ten seen daily.

Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Small flocks seen daily. Max. 50 in November.

Curlew Numenius arquata
Only record 1 6.9..

Black tailed godwit Limosa limosa
1 first seen 10.11..

Redshank Tringa totanus
Common through the whole autumn.

Spotted redshank Tringa erythropus
Occasional. Max. 75 10.11..

Greenshank Tringa nebularia
12.9. 1.

Wood sandpiper Tringa glareola
Up to 10 seen occasionally.

Common sandpiper Tringa hypoleucos
Up to 20 seen daily

Green sandpiper Tringa ochropus

Marsh sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
Only record 1 10.11..

Common snipe Gallinago gallinago

Black headed gull Larus ridibundus
First early November. Thousands end November.

Great black headed gull Larus ichthyaetus
First record exeptionally early: 1 adult 10.11., 2 adults 28.11..

Yellow legged gull Larus cachinnans
1 adult with Armenian gulls 10.11..

Armenian gull Larus armenicus
Scarce in September. Max. 1500 19.11..

Lesser black backed gull Larus fuscus subspecies fuscus
12.11. 1 adult, 1 1st year bird, 1 adult end November

Gull billed tern Gelochelidon nilotica
No records in Kfar Ruppin but 1 adult in winter plumage in Tirat Zwi 3.10..

Little tern Sterna albifrons
1 with Whiskered terns 17.9..

Black tern Chlidonias niger
Only record 1 st year bird 14.10..

White winged black tern Chlidonias leucopterus
Small flocks up to 20 in September. Last records mid October.

Whiskered tern Chlidonias hybridus
Max 4 adults 2 1st year birds 17.9.. Odd birds seen occasionally until 8.11..

Stock dove Columba oenas
4 seen 22.10..

Domestic dove Columba livia

Collared dove Streptopelia decaocto

Turtle dove Streptopelia turtur
Up to several hundreds strictly in September.

Laughing dove Streptopelia senegalensis

Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Single birds seen in September. First 17.9. One ringed at the ringing station.

Barn owl Tyto alba

Little owl Athene noctua
One pair seen daily.

Scops owl Otus scops
Max 14 singing males in September. Last records end October.

Eagle owl Bubo bubo
One seen end October (Barak Granat)

Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus
No records in Kfar Ruppin but one near Newe Etan 14.10..

Common swift Apus apus
1 6.9..

Alpine swift Apus melba
Small flocks seen almost daily in September-early October.

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Seen daily at the fishponds, ringing totals: September 14, October 14.

Pied kingfisher Ceryle rudis
Up to 40 seen daily.

Smyrna kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
5 -10 seen daily. Ringing totals: September 6, October 2.

Blue cheeked bee eater Merops superciliosus
Seen occasionally in September. Max. 15 11.9..

Common bee-eater Merops apiaster
Small flocks up to 20 seen occasionally end September early October.

Roller Coracias garrulus
Up to 5 seen daily in September.

Hoopoe Upupa epops

Wryneck Jynx torquilla
Two ringed at the ringing station, one seen 11.11..

Syrian woodpecker Dendrocopos syriacus
Single birds seen daily.

Skylark Alauda arvensis
First seen end October. Max. 300 in November.

Crested lark Galerida cristata

Short toed lark Calandrella brachydactyla
First 9 18.9.. Max. 49 20.9.. Not seen after September. One ringed 26.9..

Calandra lark Melanocrypha calandra
All records: 8.11. 30, 9.11 14. and 10.11 1..

Sand martin Riparia riparia
Common in September early October. One ringed 28.9..

Red rumped swallow Hirundo daurica
Small flocks seen daily in September

Barn swallow Hirundo rustica
Common with max. 1000 29.9.. Ringing totals: September 16, October 1.

House martin Delichon urbica
Up to 5 Seen occasionally in September.

Water pipit Anthus spinoletta
Since first seen 29.10. common with 50 -100 daily.

Tree pipit Anthus trivialis
Common last half of September, first half October. Ringing totals: September 13, October 9.

Meadow pipit Anthus pratensis
Common since first seen 2.11..

Red throated pipit Anthus cervinus
Common since first seen 24.9.. mainly early October. One ringed 30.9..

Tawny pipit Anthus campestris
First 8 seen 5.10. Up to 20 first half October.

White wagtail Motacilla alba
First 3.10., max. 200 in November.

Grey wagtail Motacilla cinerea
One ringed 8.10. (Hans Martens, Karl-Heintz Reiser)

Yellow wagtail Motacilla flava
Hundreds end September early October. All identified birds of subspecies thundbergi and flava. Ringing totals: September 124, October 5.

Dunnock Prunella modularis
First 5 seen 16.11..

Robin Erithacus rubecula
One ringed in October. Common in November.

Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
One ringed 29.10. and retrapped 30.10..

Rufous bush robin Cercotrichas galactotes
Single birds seen in September. Ringing totals: September 5, October 0.

Blue throat Luscinia svecica
Common. First seen 26.9.. Ringing totals: September 3, October 149. Most males showed characters of subspecies volgae.

Red start Phoenicurus phoenicurus
First 26.9.. Ringing totals: September 1, October 14.

Black redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
First 9.11.. Scarce.

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
Common September-first half of October with max. 60 29.9.. Ringing totals: September 7, October 5.

Stonechat Saxicola torquata
Ringing totals: September 0, October 12. Race rubicola: common second half October and November. Race maura: 1 29.10., 2 30.10.. Race armenica / variegata: One 1st year male ringed 2.11. and one seen 3.11..

Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
1-5 seen daily daily September - October

Isabelline wheatear Oenanthe isabellina
Up to 5 seen daily September first half October. 2 ringed in September.

Black-eared wheatear Oenanthe hispanica
Single bird in September (Rami Lindroos)

Black bird Turdus merula
Common. Ringing totals: September 3, October 2.

Song thrush Turdus philomelos
First 5.11..

Savi's warbler Locustella luscinioides
Rarely seen in the field. Ringing totals: September 45, October 32.

Graceful warbler Prinia gracilis
Common. Ringing totals: September 21, October 19.

Fan tailed warbler Cisticola juncisis
5 - 15 seen daily. Ringing totals: September 19, October 13.

Cetti's warbler Cettia cetti
Common. Increased in numbers in October-November. Ringing totals: September 7, October 17.

Moustached warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon
All records: One record in September (exact date unknown, Chris Dunn), 11.11. 2, 14.11. 1.

Great reed warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Ringing totals: September 7, October 10.

Clamorous reed warbler Acrocephalos stentoreus
Common. Ringing totals: September 4, October 9.

Sedge warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Common migrating bird in September - October with peak in early October. Ringing totals: September 81, October 280 with 63 1.10.

Reed warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Common. Ringing totals: September 113, October 81.

Marsh warbler Acrocephalus palustris
Ringing totals: September 7, October 64.

Paddyfield warbler Acrocephalus agricola
1 ringed 10.10. (Judy Sabo, Chris Dunn, Hans Martens, Karl-Heintz Reiser).

Olivaceous warbler Hippolais pallida
Seen daily in September. Ringing totals: September 6, October 0.

Lesser whitethroat Sylvia curruca
Scarce. Ringing totals: September 4, October 5.

Whitethroat Sylvia communis
Scarce. Ringing totals: September 9, October 2.

Black cap Sylvia atricapilla
Scarce. 1 ringed in September and 4 in October.

Garden warbler Sylvia borin
One ringed 10.10. (Judy Sabo, Chris Dunn, Hans Martens, Karl-Heintz Reiser).

Sardinian warbler Sylvia melanocephala
Scarce. Ringing totals: September 7, October 1.

Wood warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix
One seen 3.9. and one ringed 11.9..

Willow warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
Very common migrating bird mainly late September early October. Ringing totals: September 591, October 1032 with 251 1.10..

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
First 17.10. Common end October and November. Ringing totals: September 0, October 19.

Spotted flycatcher Muscicapa striata
Scarce in September. 3 ringed in September.

Penduline tit Remitz pendulinus
Two ringed and one seen in November.

Great tit Parus major
Single birds seen almost daily

Palestine sunbird Nectarinia osea
Common. Ringing totals: September 52, October 46.

Yellow vented bulbul Pycnonotus xanthopygos
Very common resident. Ringing totals: September 14, October 15.

Isabelline shrike Lanius isabellinus
One seen and trapped end October (Judy Sabo, Hans Martens, Barak Granat). One ringed 3.11..

Red backed shrike Lanius collurio
Seen daily September - October. Ringing totals: September 13, October 7.

Lesser grey shrike Lanius minor
25.9. 1 adult.

Great grey shrike Lanius excubitor
Single birds seen occasionally. 2 ringed in September.

Wood chat shrike Lanius senator
1 - 3 birds seen daily in September.

Masked shrike Lanius nubicus
Scarce end September early October. Two ringed in September and 1 in October..

Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Seen once in September. Common up to 2000 October-November.

Golden oriole Oriolus oriolus
One seen 5. and 6.10..

Jay Garrulus glandarius

Jackdaw Corvus monedula

Hooded crow Corvus corone cornix

House sparrow Passer domesticus
Very common

Spanish sparrow Passer hispaniolensis
Common. Ringing totals: September 24, October 33.

Dead sea sparrow Passer moabiticus
Absent in September. Small flocks seen daily October - November. 27 ringed in October.

Indian silverbill Euodice malabarica
All records: 5.10. 3, 10.11. 4 and 3 ringed in October.

(Avadavat Amavanda amavanda)
13.9. 1 near the ringing station. Probably an escape.

Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
First 29.10. Common in November. 4 ringed in October.

Brambling Fringilla montifringilla
First 30.10.. Scarce.

Serin Serinus serinus
29.10. 1, 19.11. 1

Siskin Carduelis spinus
Only record 5.11. 6.

Green finch Carduelis chloris
Common. Ringing totals: September 11, October 29.

Gold finch Carduelis carduelis

Linnet Carduelis cannabina
Single birds and small flocks seen occasionally in November

Desert finch Rhodopechys obsoleta
Common end September - November. Ringing totals: September 12, October 9.

Corn bunting Miliaria calandra
Seen rarely in Kfar Ruppin. However in Tirat Zwi a flock of 100 22.9..

Ortolan bunting Emberiza hortulana
Common chiefly in September. 4 ringed.

Cretzschmar's bunting Emberiza caesia
Chiefly in September. 18 ringed 5. - 20.9..

e-mail: Janne Kilpimaa