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Bulletin on Rare Birds in Israel (1989 - 2000)
James P. Smith
The Israeli Rarities & Distribution Committee met at Kibbutz Lotan on 7th May 2001 and revised the criteria for the recording of Rare Birds in Israel. Here we present our new guidelines and recommend that discoverers of rare and unusual species adhere to them. We have attempted to redefine the standards of record assessment in Israel, details of which can be found on this page. At the same meeting on 7th May 2001, we also discussed and evaluated several outstanding records. These records are listed in this bulletin with brief comments on their occurrence. We hope that a further bulletin will appear towards the end of the year to update readers on further rarities committee decisions.
The Israel Rarities & Distribution Committee has been transformed over the last six months with some additions to the membership. Currently its serving members are: Barak Granit, Yoav Perlman, Hadoram Shirihai, Eyal Shochat, James P. Smith, and Ido Tsurim. Each member of the committee has been chosen for his broad birding experience, his proven record of finding and documenting rare birds in Israel and his willingness to commit to the tasks of committee membership.
Our main objectives are to improve the standard of rarity recording in Israel and to speed up the acceptance/rejection process by meeting at least three times per year. It is our ambition to publish our findings on a regular basis. Each record will be voted upon by at least five out of the six members and judged upon its own merits.
In general we will be looking at species recorded in Israel less than 25 times up to and including the publication of the Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996). An actual species list accompanies this bulletin.
We realize that not every report will meet these criteria but we encourage all finders of Israel rarities to submit what ever they can to the committee. Reports from sole observers will also be considered. On the other hand, reports that mention just a few lines of a description with comments such as " we didn't bother to look at it closely, because it's a common winter visitor back home" will not be considered seriously by the committee.
In this systematic list of accepted records we placed the reports into two categories;
List of records accepted into Category A ;
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata - Eilat North beach and area from 23rd November - 7th December 1999 (P. Naylor, F. Crystal et al). Photographed. 3rd Israel record.
Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus - 1, adult male over Kibbutz Lotan, Southern Arava on 13th May 1995. (J. P. Smith). 2nd Israel record, and 1st in Jordan (Jordan Bird Report 1995 -1997).
Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum - 1 at Beer Sheva sewage ponds on 2nd - 3rd October 1999. (E. Shochat et al). Photographed. 1st Israel record.
Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii - 1 juvenile at Ma'agan Michael, Carmel Coast on 17th October 1998. (I. Tsurim, E. Shochat & N. Sapir.). 1st Israel record.
Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotus - 1 juvenile at Maoz Hayyim, Bet Shean Valley on 17th September 1998.( A. Corso et al). 5th Israel record.
Dunn's Lark Eremalauda dunni - 1 at Ma'agan Michael on 3rd April 2000 (L. Raty) Photographed.
Blyth's Pipit Anthus godlewskii - 1 (1st cal. year) at Kefar Ruppin, Bet Shean Valley on 24th - 25th September 1998. (A. Corso, B. Granit et al). 2nd Israel record. Contrary to Shirihai in Sandgrouse 21 (1) : 1999, the identifier was A. Corso.
Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus - 1 at Kibbutz Lotan on 30th October 1996. (J. P. Smith, P.Cnodder, A. Gooding et al). 2nd Israel record. A typical date for an Asian straggler, its stay was all too brief. Several more are under consideration.The following records were accepted into Category B;
White - rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis - 1 juvenile at Ma'agan Michael, Carmel Coast on 29th September 1998. (A. Corso).
Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea - 1 in the Hula Valley on 19th March 1989.( S. Warry).
In both of these cases the committee accepted that the birds were described accurately but that the reports lacked sufficient documentation for acceptance into Category A. Unfortunately, both were sole observer reports and photographs or supporting details from other observers could not be supplied.The following record was rejected;
Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus - 1 in Fradkin Park, Eilat on 7th March 1994.This was considered insufficiently documented for a 'first' for Israel.
The Israel Rarities & Distribution Committee are; Barak Granit, Yoav Perlman, Hadoram Shirihai, Eyal Shochat. James P. Smith, and Ido Tsurim.
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