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(Passer montanus),

Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus), Kfar Ruppin, Oct 1998

Yoav Perlman

During autumn 1998 I operated the ringing station at Kfar Ruppin, Bet She'an Valley. Rami Lindroos helped me during much of the season. October 20th 1998 was another very busy morning, with many birds being processed. Going to the nets, I was quite depressed seeing the nets filled up AGAIN with another huge flock of Spanish Sparrow. I started getting them out of the net and into bags, suffering hard from their strong bites, when the magic moment happened I just happened to find a brilliant Tree Sparrow in the net! One of those cases when one doesn't need to work very hard to get a good bird. This was of course the first I had ever seen, and the first ever (and only) to be ringed in Israel, and I was quite excited as I carefully put the bird in a bag, quickly released all the other sparrows and rushed back to show the bird to Rami. I must admit that Rami was quite keen on the bird, even though he was well familiar with the species in Europe.
However, already back then he was working hard on his Israeli list and was happy to add it. By chance, a group of Finnish birders visited the ringing station at the same time, but they really didn't share my enthusiasm and were much more eager to see some Spanish and Dead Sea Sparrows.
This was the sixth record for Israel , and it caused no ID challenges to anyone.

Autumn 1998 was a magical period for several birders who stayed at Kfar Ruppin. My ringing totals for the season included, apart for the Tree Sparrow, Israel's 2nd Pintail Snipe, found by Barak Granit, Rami Lindroos and myself, the only Red Phalarope ringed in Israel to date , two Menetries's Warblers (the only records away from Eilat & the southern Arava & Negev ). Other exciting birds observed in the Bet Shean Valley that autumn were the 2nd Blyth's Pipit for Israel, a Pectoral Sandpiper and many others.

 Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 
Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus), Kfra Ruppin, October 1998
 Kfar Ruppin, October 1998 

We thank Yoav Perman for the photo and detailed description of this sighting.

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