Category Archives: Champions of the Flyway

Champions of the Flyway 2017

By Yoav Perlman

Turtle Dove, Nizzana, Israel, August 2012. Photo by Yoav Perlman.

Turtle Dove, Nizzana, Israel, August 2012. Photo by Yoav Perlman.

25 million birds are killed and trapped illegally around the Mediterranean Basin annually – this staggering figure is an estimate by BirdLife International experts. This massacre directly affects bird populations in western Europe and in the UK – declining species like Turtle Dove, Quail and Song Thrush are among those that are most heavily hunted.

I guess many of our followers have heard of Champions of the Flyway (COTF). In brief, it’s an international conservation project, aiming to tackle illegal killing and trapping of birds around the Mediterranean Basin. The project begins with a huge fundraising campaign, and the climax is in a 24-hour bird race at Eilat, Israel on March 28th 2017. The project is coordinated by BirdLife partner in Israel, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, in collaboration with BirdLife International. Each year, BirdLife International chooses a local NGO to receive the funds raised in the project. In the three previous races, over $180,000 were raised for conservation. This may not seem a lot, but for small NGO’s like Sabuko in Georgia or Helenic Ornithological Society in Greece, such funds are vital.

Roula Trigou of BirdLife Greece receives COTF 2016 funds from BirdLife CEO Patricia Zurita

Roula Trigou of BirdLife Greece receives COTF 2016 funds from BirdLife CEO Patricia Zurita

This year, BirdLife partner in Turkey, Doğa Derneği, will receive the funds. They were chosen because sadly Turkey is a hotspot for illegal killing of birds – millions of birds are killed there annually. COTF funds are essential for their incredible work on the ground. Before we started working directly with Doğa, I wasn’t aware of their huge efforts to tackle illegal killing of birds in Turkey. Now I know that they are doing exactly what needs to be done by NGO’s – focused work on educating children and local communities to stop this killing. And with COTF funds, they plan to expand their programs and make them more effective. One unique project they are operating is work with Syrian refugees in Turkey, who know little about conservation and without support and attention will surely hunt birds around where they currently reside. This kind of work that involves humanitarian work, conservation and education is truly groundbreaking. You can learn more about Doğa’s mission here.

Imperial Eagle_locals

Imperial Eagle research

workwithrefugees (3)small

Some nice migratory birds from Eastern Turkey…

Grey-necked Bunting, Van, Turkey, June 2013.

Grey-necked Bunting, Van, Turkey, June 2013. Photo by Yoav Perlman. Maybe this year a first for Israel will be found on race day?

Paddyfield Warbler, Van, Turkey, June 2013. Photo by Yoav Perlman.

Paddyfield Warbler, Van, Turkey, June 2013. Photo by Yoav Perlman.

This year, COTF bird race will be bigger than ever. It’s an awesome event. Really great. You’ll love it. At the moment 18 international teams are registered – from UK, USA, South Africa, Finland, China, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and of course Turkey. We take special pride in the Palestinian team – the Palestine Sunbirds. Additionally, there is a parallel Israeli race, that includes currently 20 teams, about half of which are children, youth and women!

 

COTF 2016 participants remembering Martin Garner with a Boom!

COTF 2016 participants remembering Martin Garner with a Boom!

The race itself is a celebration of migration, but also of friendship, stamina and involvement. You can get the feel of the race in this brilliant video of last year’s race:

The three major optic companies, Swarovski, Zeiss and Leica, have supported COTF from the start, and every company supports several teams. Last year, Zeiss Arctic Redpolls won the international race. They are returning this year to defend their title. Will they succeed?

Zeiss Arctic Redpolls - Roni Väisänen, Vilppu Välimäki and Jarkko Santaharju receive their prize from Dale Forbers from Swarovski

Zeiss Arctic Redpolls – Roni Väisänen, Vilppu Välimäki and Jarkko Santaharju receive their prize from Dale Forbes from Swarovski Optik

Each one of the race teams is fundraising now for the conservation cause, through their team pages. Donations are collected by BirdLife International via justgiving.

The migratory birds that pass through Turkey need your help! $5, £5, €5, whatever you can – every cent is important. Please consider supporting one of the teams on the 2017 teams page. Personally, I have special links with several teams, and I recommend donating to them, but feel free to donate to the team of your choice. Here are my teams of choice:

Birdwatch – Birdguides Roadrunners – featuring in this team is my good friend Mark Pearson AKA Fileybirder. Mark was also a very good friend of Martin Garner, and contributes regularly material to Birding Frontiers. His team mates are Dawn Balmer, who is also a good friend of mine, through her work at BTO and OSME. Mike Alibone is an old friend too.

The Spokes Folkes – I first met Gary at 2016 Norfolk Birdfair. We had a good conversation, in which I told him about COTF. Gary got hooked on the idea, and a year later – he has a team! It’s a special team because it’s one of the few green teams in the race – Gary and his young intrepid teammates from Orkney will cycle through the playing field of southern Israel.

My third recommendation is The Golden Pheasents. This team was born in Warham Greens in Norfolk last October, when I went birding with Terry. We didn’t see much that morning, but I am happy that my enthusiasm motivated Terry to form the first Chinese team in COTF. Terry is a close friend and a Birding Frontiers team member too.

I must stress that I have close friends in almost all teams, and all teams represent important organisations and initiatives – Vulture Conservation, Artists for Nature and more. Check the team pages, choose your team or teams – and open your heart.

We have less than three weeks to go to the race. Teams will soon be arriving in Israel, so now it’s time to step up the fundraising. On race day, follow our live updates on Facebook and Twitter. As my mate Jonathan (COTF organiser) says – Bring it!

 

‘xanthophrys‘ / ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Neot Smadar, S Negev, Israel, March 2016

Mixed Yellow Wagtails

Israel in spring is a great place to study Yellow Wagtail subspecies. There is a good mix of western and eastern forms, and the males are obviously very good looking in spring. Among the more distinct forms, such as nominate flava or the almost-full-species feldegg (ask the Dutch), there are some interesting ‘mixed’ birds. In late March, quite a few males that look similar to feldegg but have a supercilium are seen. Some have nice clean white supercilium:

Male ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, March 2011

Male ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, March 2011

Note also the prominent lower eye-ring. This bird is what I would expect a mix between feldegg and flava to look like. These birds normally give a sweet ‘western-type’ call. I would expect the female to look like this:

Female ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, Israel, March 2008

Female ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, Israel, March 2008

I call these birds ‘superciliaris‘ with quotation marks because the consensus is that it is not a real subspecies, but rather a ‘fluid’ mix from E of the Balkans.

During the recent Champions of the Flyway race day in late March, I found this stunning bird at Neot Smadar sewage farm. This tiny gem of a site in the desert held a couple hundred Yellow Wagtails, mainly feldegg and flava. I had very little time so couldn’t study it properly and just fired off a few images. I did hear it call – it gave a western call. But it looks very much like what I would expect from ‘xanthophrys‘ – another dodgy mix thing. This bird has a vivid yellow supercilium and dark green – blackish crown and ear coverts.

‘xanthophrys‘ / ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Neot Smadar, S Negev, Israel, March 2016

‘xanthophrys‘ / ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Neot Smadar, S Negev, Israel, March 2016

‘xanthophrys‘ / ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Neot Smadar, S Negev, Israel, March 2016

‘xanthophrys‘ / ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Neot Smadar, S Negev, Israel, March 2016

It superficially resembles taivana, which belongs to the Eastern Yellow Wagtail group, but is separated by having too much black on the crown and ear coverts (taivana is greener) and also mantle is too dark green. taivana has a vivid green-yellow mantle, and lacks a prominent lower white eyering. Check stunning images here. And of course the call of the Eastern Yellow Wagtail group is distinctive, closer to Citrine Wagtail – check here.

This individual was seen by other birders as well and did attract some attention, because xanthophrys types are not commonly seen in Israel. I was slightly disappointed to hear its western call. xanthophrys should have rasping eastern calls, similar to feldegg and lutea that are the supposed ancestors of this mix. So what is this bird? I am not sure, probably superciliaris too. But because both forms superciliaris and xanthophrys are mixed anyway, I am not sure whether there is a real distinction between them or are they just two ends of a cline between birds with white supercilium in the west and yellow supercilium in the east?

Another mix-type that is seen in Israel in pretty good numbers is dombrowski that breeds in Romania. dombrowski is another type of mix between flava and feldegg or beema and feldegg:

‘dombrowski’ Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, March 2012

‘dombrowski’ Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, March 2012

It looks more like a very dark flava, rather than an eye-browed feldegg. Some individuals can be slightly paler and bluer than this, but they typically are dark and dull on the head and lack a pale ear coverts patch.

And here are some of the ancestors. Male Black-headed Yellow Wagtails are really unmistakable, and cracking too…

Black-headed Yellow Wagtails (feldegg), Yotvata,Israel, March 2016

Black-headed Yellow Wagtails (feldegg), Yotvata,Israel, March 2016

Female feldegg typically have a short yellow or sometimes whitish supercilium behind the eye:

female feldegg Yellow Wagtail, Bet Kama, N Negev, Israel, September 2013

female feldegg Yellow Wagtail, Bet Kama, N Negev, Israel, September 2013

flava Yellow Wagtails are pretty variable in Israel. Some are rather dark, deep blue-headed like this one and lack almost any pale on the ear coverts:

flava yellow Wagtail, Arava Valley, March 2013

flava yellow Wagtail, Arava Valley, March 2013

Some are a bit drabber, paler-headed with more pale on the ear coverts. This is a young male (2cy) – check the obvious moult contrast in the greater coverts:

flava Yellow Wagtail, 2cy male, Neot Smadar, May 2012

flava Yellow Wagtail, 2cy male, Neot Smadar, May 2012

beema Yellow wagtails are very pale headed, and typically have a large pale patch on the ear coverts. They have an eastern call.

beema Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, April 2014

beema Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, April 2014

lutea is a striking bird. Not dissimilar to the British Yellow Wagtails. Some have slightly greener ear coverts and crown. They have an eastern call as well. They are uncommon in Israel, but they are one of the dominant forms seen in East Africa in winter.

lutea Yellow Wagtail, Chem-Chem Lake, Kenya, December 2010

lutea Yellow Wagtail, Chem-Chem Lake, Kenya, December 2010

Race Day: the Birding Frontiers story…

by Roger Riddington

I woke soon after midnight, after an hour and a half of deep sleep. The alarm was set for 02.00, but excitement/anxiety levels were instantly high, and the prospect of further sleep quickly faded. By 2.15 I was up, showered, had cleaned the room, watered the geraniums and tracked down some packed breakfasts; by 2.30 Adam (Hutt) and I were at the Agamim to pick up Paul (French), our checklist, Israeli phone and register our start. Jonathan (Meyrav) was there to sign us off and wish us luck. Some teams were already out and about – the Cornell e-birders had ticked Brown Booby at North Beach and the Finnish team found the Yotvata Caspian Plover in their headlights.

Here are your heroes at the Agamim at the start, looking unreasonably cheery for 2.30 am (and tickled pink by Jonathan Meyrav's flowery pyjamas...)

Here are your heroes at the Agamim at the start, looking unreasonably cheery for 2.30 am (and tickled pink by Jonathan Meyrav’s flowery pyjamas…)

We had decided to leave night birding proper until the second night period, in the hope of a couple of hours extra kip, so by the time we were on the road we drove steadily north to Nizzana, at the top end of the Negev and in the northwest corner of the ‘playing field’. After driving for two and half hours, with nice views of Wild Ass and brief views of Wolf (for Adam at least), I handed over to Adam for the last 40k and promptly fell asleep in the back seat. Allegedly I was snoring almost immediately (though I reckon that that was the one stringy claim from my team mates on race day) – and dreaming about what our first bird would be.

And it was… a singing Crested Lark. A modest beginning. At Ezuz, just beyond Nizzana, still black dark; more critical things were to come though, with a distant Eagle Owl – only Frenchy and Adam could hear it – and a close Sprosser. As light came quickly, and we shivered – despite our matching (and fetching) Swarovski fleeces – new birds trickled in. It was light proper and we were at our third vantage point scanning over the rocky Nizzana terrain when one of the day’s stand-out birds hove into view – a displaying Macqueen’s Bustard in full headless chicken mode. Fabulous. Sadly there was no time to enjoy it, every new bird was vital, even at this early stage. We knocked off Pallid Harrier (a lovely male), Black-eared Wheatear (a lovely male), Chukar (a lovely… oh ok then, it was a Chukar), Cream-coloured Courser, Hen Harrier, Southern Grey Shrike and more.

Dawn at Nizzana...

Dawn at Nizzana…

Frenchy tries to find 'Chukar' on the checklist without getting his torch out...

Frenchy tries to find ‘Chukar’ on the checklist without getting his torch out…

By 7.00, we’d heard Spotted Sandgrouse but failed to record any other sandgrouse and our schedule said: move on. We hit the road, rattling along quickly towards S’de Boquer, picking up new birds steadily from the car, with the occasional emergency stop. S’de Boquer kibbutz was an oasis of calm at that early stage, and we set about trying to find as many of the ‘European’ species as we could. One of two wintering Yellow-browed Warblers was the highlight there, but Blackbird and Greenfinch were equally valuable. We met the Palestine Sunbirders, and Noam kindly pointed us to exactly where the Yellow-browed was. We met the Digitial Stringers too, who had had a remarkably good time at Yerucham Lake, which prompted a change of tack and a quick visit to the lake. We didn’t have nearly as much luck there: Syrian Woodpecker and a stunning male Collared Flycatcher were the hits but Little Bittern, Purple Gallinule, White-breasted Kingfisher and Great Reed Warbler were the misses. Pitta and hummus on the run was breakfast and we were back on the road, bound for Ben Gurion College…

We met several other teams at the grave, where the temperatures were now starting to soar. The high vantage point over this bleached and spectacular desert vista quickly gave us various raptors – Griffon and Egyptian Vultures, Booted and Lesser Spotted Eagles – although a perched large falcon was more tricky, we simply couldn’t be certain that it really was a Lanner, so we had to leave it – and large falcons were to remain absent from our total. Alpine Swifts scythed over our heads, and Pale Crag Martin completed the five hirundines that we’d planned for.

Palestine Sunbird

Palestine Sunbird

From BGC, it was time to properly warm up the car engine; we headed south to the Uvda valley via a series of short (scheduled and unscheduled) roadside stops that gave us Desert Lark, Mourning and White-crowned Black Wheatears, but (not entirely unsurprisingly) no Hooded Wheatear, Sinai Rosefinch or Syrian Serin.

We were more or less on schedule by the time we reached the Uvda Valley, and at that point we reckoned we were doing ok. From memory we’d seen c. 75 species and while we had clearly missed some stuff, we’d managed to see many of our key target species as well. Uvda was a disappointment – we spent over an hour in the desert and expended a good deal of energy in the heat of the day, and added only Crowned Sandgrouse and Tawny Pipit. From there to Ne’ot Smadar, and that was disappointing too – we added a female Sibe Stonechat, a male Ruppell’s Warbler and a few waders; but at well past 2.00, and with a lot left to do, our score had advanced very little since the Ramon crater. We met the crack Finnish team – the Northern Lights, one of the pre-race favourites – at NS and they were perhaps even more disconsolate than we were, and were well behind their schedule.

Ruppell's Warbler

Ruppell’s Warbler

By the time we left NS we were still within sight of our own time schedule but we needed Yotvata to deliver. It did just that. Perhaps less in terms of species quantity, but the quality lifted out spirits immeasurably. We bounced down the track to the dunes flanking the Jordanian border, identified a likely looking pull-in, climbed the nearest dune to look for Hoopoe Lark and saw one in less than a minute! Boom!

Namaqua Doves at Yotvata

Namaqua Doves at Yotvata

 

We backtracked quickly to the southern circular field, and nailed Corn Bunting and Namaqua Dove en route to the weedy strip in the middle, where we found: Oriental Skylark! But wait, what were those other two birds? They looked just the same as the first one, but surely there were not three OS at this well-watched site? After two flushes, we were all happy with the calls and the flight views, and we managed decent scope views of one bird. Kerrrrrboom! At this point, and not without a good deal of soul-searching over standards of decency and general manliness, we staged a boom! photoshoot for our absent leader, although taking the picture was as far as I personally was prepared to go… (And Frenchy is still mildly traumatised by it.)

image

The rest of the Yotvata fields added no Caspian Plover, sadly, but White Stork joined the list; while the sewage ponds added a few waders, and the only Bluethroat of the day. We finished the Yotvata leg at K50; our schedule said we should have left already (it was now 4.00) but the light was good, we had over three hours of light left and we decided to invest time in a the more-or-less guaranteed Little Green Bee-eater and the possibility of Arabian Warbler. The Bee-eater was easy, and Frenchy and me jammed in to great views of the male Arabian Warbler. One last little boost, to compensate for the lack of the reported Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin.

Little Green Bee-eater

Little Green Bee-eater

But it was now pushing 4.30, and we had 90 species… It was time for the K20 saltpans. Arriving in a cloud of dust and spitting gravel, we proceeded to eat up the waders (including at least two Greater Sandplovers, 20 or so Collared Pratincoles, Marsh Sandpipers, Red-necked Phalaropes and plenty more) and other waterbirds on offer; all more or less as expected although the only tern was Gull-billed (a super flock of 11) and there were no real surprises. Red-throated Pipits were calling and we added Osprey here as well.

Black-Winged Stilt - easy at K20

Black-Winged Stilt – easy at K20

Bouncing down the rough tracks past the canal, the previous days of scouting paid off as Dead Sea Sparrow, Common Snipe and Citrine Wagtail all appeared on cue so by 5.30, things were looking a little better. We’d need a faultless performance from now until the finish, but adrenalin was back, and optimism with it.

We headed for North Beach via the birders highway and the rough tracks past the birding centre. North Beach did us OK – we missed Brown Booby but not much else, with three spp of terns, three of gulls (incl. White-eyed) and Western Reef Egret. We knew we had no time for Holland Park, and its Sand Partridge and Sylvia warblers, nor any spots that might yield Scrub Warbler or Silverbill; we invested five minutes in a fruitless search of the imax park for Common Myna (the one trash town bird we were missing) and for one final time wound up the standard issue Renault Floozy to head north again to the K17 sewage pools for Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse and (we hoped) a slew of late ticks. We gratefully took on board Little Crake, Night Heron and the expected sandgrouse, although we failed with Tufted and Ferruginous Ducks and Gadwall.

With the light gone, we headed back to our hotel, via the birding centre, where we failed to hear Scops Owl but scored a hugely satisfying Great Black-headed Gull in the roost, courtesy of the extraordinary light gathering of our 95mm Swarovski giant scope.

Scoping Great Black-headed Gull in the dark...

Scoping Great Black-headed Gull in the dark…

And then we really did take a breather, with some dinner and a comfy seat. We were back out just after 9.30, and we spent a couple of hours on a gentle run to Yotvata, where we found several species in our car headlamps (White Stork, Stone-curlew, Quail  – as well as Desert Hedgehog) – sadly none of them boosting our total of 151.

And so 151 was where we ended. Three more species (Goldfinch, Penduline Tit and Whimbrel) were heard by just one team member, so had to remain off the final list. As the following day’s ceremony revealed, that score wasn’t enough to win, but we consoled ourselves that it was at least halfway respectable. We were all well behind the co-champions – the joint Israeli/Palestine Sunbirders, who notched a blistering 169, and the superbly organised e-bird/Cornell crew, who ran in 165. It was an entirely fitting end to the whole event that these two teams elected to share the inaugural Champions of the Flyway award. Guardians of the Flyway, the award for the most money raised (a whopping $12,000+), went to the Flyway Racers, while the Knights of the Flyway award (for sharing information) went to the Focussing on Wildlife Sprinters – click here for more details

The Batumi Raptors team (Alexander Rukhaia, Brecht-Verhelst, Johannes Jansen and Pim Wolf) receive a cheque for $30000

The Batumi Raptors team (Alexander Rukhaia, Brecht-Verhelst, Johannes Jansen and Pim Wolf) receive a cheque for $30000

The event as a whole was brilliant. As competitors we couldn’t have asked for more. The organisers – Jonathan and Dan, supported by an army of others, not least Yoav Perlman – laid out the red carpet for all the teams. Thank you guys.

Jonathan Meyrav and Dan Alon

Jonathan Meyrav and Dan Alon

Massive thanks to all the sponsors of the event as a whole, to the backers of the Frontiers team (Swarovski, Spurn Bird Bird Observatory, Yorkshire Coast Nature) and to everyone who sponsored us or one of the other teams. The whole event was characterised by great spirit and friendship, among the teams and within the wider army of people involved in the event. Most importantly, the event did its job of generating some serious cash for conservation – and if it provides the platform for an annual flyway race, raising awareness and funds for key conservation projects it will have been well worth all the effort.

All pics by Paul French, Adam Hutt & Roger Riddington, apart from the first one – by Jonathan Meyrav

 

Secret Seven Quiz: The ANSWERS

Winners

Davy Bosman

Chris Batty

Jon Holt

The latter two have become serially good quiz players :). All 3 entrants got all 7 of the quiz birds correct. Quite a few other entrants got almost all correct, falling at just one of the quiz birds. So very well done Davy, Chris and Jon. Each name was written on a piece of paper and holding breath, Sharon Garner drew the winner from the 3 who is ……..

Jon Holt

huge thanks to Princeton for the superb double prize

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THE ANSWERS

lesser spotted and vulpinus

BIRD ONE a Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina same bird flying below a Steppe Buzzard

pied wheatear 1BIRD TWO A first summer male Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleshanka.  Not an easy ID from Cyprus Pied Wheatear. There are a few characters. More often than not the ID is a gut reaction. Bigger, duller and uglier = Pied versus, more slender and more beautifully coloured = Cyprus Pied Wheatear (gut birding!).

cpw
Adult male Cyprus Pied Wheatear Oenanthe cypriaca
ruppells w 2cy fem d

BIRD THREE 1st summer female Ruppell’s Warbler Sylvia rueppelli
ruppells w 2cy fem b

BIRD THREE 1st summer female Ruppell’s Warbler Sylvia rueppelli . The Sylvia warblers are always a bit challenging, especially the non adult males. To compare:

IMG_2049

Female Cyprus Warbler Sylvia melanothorax, Feb 2014 by Yosef Kiat

mystery 4

BIRD FOUR Female Eastern Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica melanoleuca 

spotted crake 1

BIRD FIVE Spotted Crake Porzana porzana

n wheatear

BIRD SIX Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe

barabary 1

 BIRD SEVEN  young Barbary Falcon Falco pelegrinoides

ANSWERS: To Mystery Quiz!

4 Way Tie  🙂

for the Prize:

2014-03-09_013941

HEADS:

head 1    Eastern Olivaceous Warbler     Iduna pallida elaeica
head 2    Kentish Plover    Charadrius alexandrinus alexandrinus
head 3    Tamarisk Nubian Nightjar    Caprimulgus nubicus tamaricis
head 4    Caucasian Water Pipit    Anthus spinoletta coutellii
head 5    Eastern Blackcap    Sylvia atricapilla atricapilla/dammholzi
.
TAILS:
tail 1    Eastern Black-eared Wheatear    Oenanthe hispanica melanoleuca
tail 2    Eastern Orphean Warbler    Sylvia crassirostris crassirostris
tail 3    Western Baillon’s Crake    Porzana pusilla intermedia
tail 4    Isabelline Wheatear    Oenanthe isabellina
tail 5    Eastern Woodchat Shrike    Lanius senator niloticus
.
Well done to all who have had a go. 4 people got all 10 Mystery Birds correct and of course some who missed by just one or two.

Winners so far…

WELL DONE to these 4 who hit the bulls eye:

Chris Batty, Quentin Dupriez, Jon Holt and Nick Moran.

 

So chaps- please submit your answer to the Tie Break (if you haven’t already))

Don’t forget: Donate PLEASE and support the TEAM. Thanks!

MORE ON SUPPORTING THE TEAM. >>>> HERE <<<<

 

 

 

 

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

Kentish Plover

Kentish Plover

Tamarisk (Nubian) Nightjar

Tamarisk (Nubian) Nightjar

Water Pipit ssp. coutelli

Water Pipit ssp. coutelli

 

male Blackcap and pollen

male Blackcap and pollen

 

Eastern Black-eared Wheatear

Eastern Black-eared Wheatear

 

Eastern Orphean Warbler

Eastern Orphean Warbler

 

 

Baillon's Crake

Baillon’s Crake

 

Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear

 

Eastern Woodchat Shrike ssp. niloticus

Eastern Woodchat Shrike ssp. niloticus

 

Donate PLEASE and support the TEAM. Thanks!

MORE ON SUPPORTING THE TEAM. >>>> HERE <<<<

.

 

Heads ‘N’ Tails Mystery Quiz

 WELCOME!

Welcome to the Heads and Tails Quiz. 10 photos to identify. All taken in S. Israel in March. The Quiz highlights the Champions of the Flyway, an international bird race, raising funds for conservation. No need to give but if you would like to contribute to the Birding Frontiers team effort that would be great. Enjoy the Quiz!

MORE ON SUPPORTING THE TEAM. >>>> HERE <<<<

 THE PRIZE

2014-03-09_013941

grilled by df

You looking at me, photographing you, looking at me, photographing…

Israel in an awesome spring destination for birding. Here, Dick Forsman clocks me in spring 2012. He has been a leading light here for years.

THE QUIZ

QUIZ RULES:

10 photos, 5 heads and 5 tails. Each identified to lowest taxonomic level. E.g. If it’s an Eastern Subalpine Warbler then ‘Subalpine Warbler’ will be trumped by the person who says ‘Eastern Subalpine’. Chuck in the Latin/ subspecies etc for clarity where applicable. No extra points for aging or sexing but you will look very clever if you get it right…

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWERS

Either in comments box below (for all to see) or privately via email: martin.go ‘at ‘ virgin.net. Answers must be in by 9:00 am on Friday 14th March.

TIEBREAK

In the event of more than one person with same number of correct answers, the tiebreak is already provided below. No need to submit an ID for it now, only if comes down to it. If the tiebreak fails to provide an outright winner, then winner will be ‘drawn from ‘the hat’.

HEADS

Mystery Bird HEAD ONE

Mystery Bird HEAD ONE

 

 

Mystery Bird HEAD TWO

Mystery Bird HEAD TWO

 

Mystery Bird HEAD THREE

Mystery Bird HEAD THREE

 

Mystery Bird HEAD FOUR

Mystery Bird HEAD FOUR

 

Mystery Bird HEAD FIVE

Mystery Bird HEAD FIVE

Mystery Bird HEAD O

TAILS

Mystery bird TAIL ONE

Mystery bird TAIL ONE

 

 

Mystery bird TAIL TWO

Mystery bird TAIL TWO

 

 

Mystery bird TAIL THREE

Mystery bird TAIL THREE

 

 

Mystery bird TAIL FOUR

Mystery bird TAIL FOUR

 

 

Mystery bird TAIL FIVE

Mystery bird TAIL FIVE

The tiebreak (just in case)

 

Extra challenge from the Autumn in Israel

Extra challenge from the Autumn in Israel

Birdrace Tactics

And for the Champions of the Flyway Bird Race- don’t forget to be backing and cheering for the BIRDING FRONTIERS TEAM.

You can have some fun too.

Here’s (left to right) an Israeli, an American and a Brit. Check out their reactions to my ruse

one folk

They are about to tick Sinai Rosefinch. Can’t allow that so distract as they will head off from brief visit to drinking pond imminently. I shout them up.

one two folkThey wheel round- What News?

one two three folk

Reactions are priceless. American lady “all hail, well met”. Brit guy- perplexed, disgruntled, confused. Israeli – ah ha- “see what you just did”.

 

Prize Mystery Bird Quiz

with a PURPOSE!

  • enjoy the quiz

  • please consider giving to the cause. Ta!

 

 Later today the ‘HEADS and TAILS’ quiz will go up. 10 species to identify. the prize: first 2 installments of the  ground breaking (and new 1st ed,) Multimedia Identification guides to North Atlantic Seabirds. IN RETURN if you enjoy Birding Frontiers please consider ‘Just Giving’ towards our Birdlife appeal/ Champions of the Flyway team. All info to follow!
 

The Birding Frontiers Team page is here, check out those mugs 🙂

……………………>>>Just Giving Page<<<

 

Champions of the Flyway IS:

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  • A Big International Bird race

  • On April 1st 2014 in Eilat, Israel

  • To raise money to stop illegal bird killing

  • [and the Birding Frontiers team is going to win!]

 

You can read all the stuff on the >>>Champions of the Flyway<<<

The Batumi Raptor Count in Georgia (Eastern Mediterranean Flyway), will benefit directly from our fundraising. Spectacular raptor migration combines with carnage of dead birds prey killed by local hunters.  projects run by the Batumi Raptor Count are working directly with communities to achieve mutually beneficial goals. Watcha the video!

Who is on the Birding Frontiers Team and who is supporting us?

……………….>>>Birding Frontiers Team<<<

and we would love you to support the Birding Frontiers Team efforts by giving directly to the conservation cause on our team page. Here:

……………………>>>Just Giving Page<<<

 

The HEADS and TAILS Quiz 

Up later today: Here’s the very cool prizes. Person with most correct or if more than one with same score- winner from the hat:

SPBP_revised_cover 500

Read more on this superb part on of two-part prize >>> HERE <<<

BOOK_COVER_NEW_SIZE 500

Read more on this superb part on of two-part prize >>> HERE <<<