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Basra Reed Warbler
23 May 2012
On the morning of May 23rd 2012 the Hula Valley ringing team
trapped a Basra Reed Warbler at a private fishpond complex in the
eastern Hula Valley.
The Basra Reed Warbler is a globally threatened species which until a few years ago was considered to be an endemic breeder to the Mesopotamian Marshes near Basra, Iraq with only a handful of records in Israel.
In July 2006 IOC ringers Yoav Perlman and the late Amit Geffen caught 4 different Basra Reed Warblers at the exact same site, including 3 adults and a freshly fledged juvenile, thus proving that the birds bred nearby. This was of course big news for this threatened, enigmatic species and caused quite a stir in the WP birding scene.
Anticipation was high towards the summer of 2007 as we were very curious to see if the birds would return, and they did. During the spring and summer of 2007, Nadav Israeli, Itai Shanni and the Hula team managed to re-trap all 3 adult birds, and to confirm breeding of the species at the site. The birds remained in the area till late July 2007 and disappeared.
Since 2008 Basra Reed Warblers were not seen in the Hula Valley. This of course does not mean they did not breed here or nearby but they were not found again. Since the breeding area is dominated by thick developed reed beds it is of course possible that the birds were overlooked, but reasonable efforts were put into searching this rare species to no avail, until yesterday.
Late morning on May 23rd an adult Basra Reed Warbler was caught in an adjacent reed bed to where the original breeding occurred. It is very interesting to learn if the birds will once again breed here in the Hula and in any case this is a very exciting find.
Thanks to Nadav Israeli for quickly passing on the news, to Ella of the Hula team for the images and to Yoav Perlman for the references.
More information on the Hula Valley Basra Reed Warblers can be found here:
And the published article in Sandgrouse:
Perlman, Y. and Geffen, A. 2007. Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis in the Hula Valley, Israel, in 2006. Sandgrouse 29: 210-213.
Jonathan Meyrav /// IOC