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Israel

Tristram's Grackle Onychognathus tristramii ©Dubi Shapiro www.pbase.com/dubisha/birds_of_israel

Israel is a great place to go birding having over 500 resident and migrant species. This is due largely to its location in the eastern Mediterranean at the crossroads of Asia, Europe and Africa. Habitats from all three continents meet here: the snowy peaks of Mount Hermon, the temperate rolling mountains of the Galilee, the warm Mediterranean coastline, the semitropical Jordan Rift Valley, the varied deserts of the south and east, and the Red Sea shores of Eilat's desert oasis. Part of the only land bridge between the three continents, Israel is along the major migration routes between them, with millions of birds making the trip twice a year. All this variety comes in a small package: the drive from north to south takes less than a day and the trip from west to east under two hours.

Northern Israel is blessed with an abundance of water sources, craggy volcanic mountains in the northeast and a temperate climate, all of which attract species not found in other parts of Israel. The north is home to many birds of prey, including Griffon vultures, imperial eagles, long legged buzzards and Egyptian vultures. A prime site for these species, especially Griffon vultures, is the Gamla nature reserve in the southern Golan Heights. A concrete hide has recently been built there atop one of the cliffs directly across from a vulture nesting site, with large screens relaying live scenes from a nest camera. Further north is the Banias nature reserve. Its streams, woods, ancient ruins and huge cave shelter Smyrna kingfishers, rock nuthatches, grey wagtails and other waterside and forest birds. For waterfowl in northern Israel, visit the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias) and the Hula Valley. Among the many birds these sites attract are cormorants, marbled teal, shovelers, moorhens, cranes, glossy ibis, various kingfishers, marsh harriers, black storks, white pelicans and the rare pygmy cormorant. Organized birdwatching tours are available within the Hula Valley Wetlands Nature Reserve.

Just south of the Sea of Galilee is the Jordan River Valley, warm in the winter, very hot and humid in summer. The valley, and in particular the Bet Shean region, is a good place to see an interesting mixture of native and migrating birds, many attracted by the fish ponds and fields of the surrounding agricultural villages. For some semi-tropical or desert birds this is the northernmost extent of their range. The village of Kfar Ruppin has a birdwatching centre, one of the best in the country. Birds in the Bet Shean Valley and northern Jordan Valley include black francolins, black storks, reed buntings, white pelicans, barn owls, ospreys, marsh harriers, Smyrna kingfishers and cranes, as well as assorted ducks, raptors, warblers and egrets, and multitudes of swallows.

Continuing further south one reaches the Dead Sea, a large saline lake nestled in the lowest place on earth, and the surrounding Judean Desert. The crags, lush oases and special vegetation of the Judean Desert are fascinating areas to explore and are home to birds such as fan-tailed ravens, brown necked ravens, Dead Sea sparrows, Arabian babblers, blackstarts, pale crag martins, sand partridges, trumpeter finches, desert larks, scrub warblers, mourning wheatears, white crowned black wheatears and sooty and Barbary falcons. Many of these are also found further south in the Negev and Arava areas. One of the most characteristic birds in this part of the country is Tristram's grackle, a desert member of the starling family. Its loud distinctive call and flute-like song can be heard in many places around the Dead Sea, in particular in date palm groves.

Perhaps the most pleasant way to see birds near the Dead Sea is a hike in the Ein Gedi nature reserve. The natural springs of the Ein Gedi oasis nourish an unusual mix of desert, semi-tropical and waterside vegetation, attracting not only desert birds but also kingfishers and various garden birds such as sunbirds, bulbuls and bush robins. Over the years the little green bee-eater has extended its range north to include Ein Gedi and may often be seen perched on a branch over a stream hunting for flying insects. Other interesting birding sites in the Dead Sea area include the saline oases south of the sea in the Neot Hakikar area and the Metzukei Draggot cliffs over Nahal Darga north of Ein Gedi. Metzukei Draggot not only offers good views of the surrounding desert and nearby Dead Sea, but also puts you at the same height as the ravens and raptors soaring above the wadi.

A beautiful area for watching both desert and waterside birds is the Ein Avdat canyon south of Beersheba, part of the Wilderness of Zin that stretches south and west from the Dead Sea. The area around Ein Avdat is bleak desert but the Avdat spring keeps the canyon floor lush and wet year-round, providing the foliage that attracts many of the above oasis birds, as well as some waterfowl and sandgrouse. The steep cliffs above the canyon are home to wallcreepers, pale crag martins, bee-eaters, ravens and vultures. The fields and sewage ponds around Beersheba are also rich in bird life. Species found in the area include the uncommon houbara, cream-coloured courser, sand partridge and various types of sandgrouse.

At Israel's southern tip is the Red Sea resort of Eilat, perhaps the best known place for birdwatching in Israel. Eilat is a major rest stop for birds migrating between Africa and Eurasia, as it is the first substantial oasis after crossing the Sinai Desert. A birdwatching park lies just north of the town itself, close to the Jordanian border. To get there, turn east at the Eilot Junction north of town and follow the signs for the tree-planting centre. The park includes both salty and freshwater ponds and various types of vegetation, along with a ringing station, which is open to visitors during the early morning and late afternoon or evening, depending on the time of year. If you visit while the ringing station is open they will allow you to ring one of the birds yourself. A huge variety of species pass through Eilat during the autumn and spring migrations and you will see many different birds depending on when you visit.

Typical local birds in and around Eilat and the Arava region include white-crowned black wheatears, Tristram's grackles, desert larks and various types of buzzard, raven and bee-eater. Kibbutz Lotan, north of Eilat in the Arava desert, hosts its own birdwatching centre. Other areas of interest around Eilat include beautiful walking areas such as the Timna national park, the Red Canyon, and roadside lookout points in the Eilat Mountains north of town. In general areas around springs or with groves of acacia or other trees are naturally likely to be good birding spots in these desert regions.

The Hai Bar nature reserve north of Eilat offers a mixture of desert birds, including many raptors, such as Egyptian and Griffon vultures, which are attracted to the predator feeding area. The stars at the reserve, though, are the ostriches, once native to Israel's desert regions but extinct since the mid-twentieth century. The reserve has an ostrich breeding project and there are plans to reintroduce them into the wild. One can tour the reserve with a ranger/guide, who can provide commentary on the birds in the area, as well as the many other desert animals on the reserve.

Moving to central Israel, the Jerusalem region, though more famous for its religious and historical sites, can be interesting for birdwatchers too, with temperate wooded and rocky slopes to the west and the arid Judean Desert to the east. Typical forest birds, many also common in town parks and gardens, include jays, Syrian woodpeckers, several types of warblers and doves, song thrushes, assorted shrikes, blackbirds, robins, hoopoes, sunbirds, bulbuls, kestrels, hobbies, chukars and Scops and barn owls. Lovely areas for hiking and birdwatching include the forested mountainous area just south and west of Jerusalem around villages such as Nes Harim, Ora and Sataf, and forested areas further south near the town of Beit Shemesh and the Beit Guvrin archaeological park.

The Jerusalem Bird Observatory (JBO) is located in the landscaped gardens between the Knesset (Israel's parliament) and the Supreme Court, though you need to bring ID and be patient with security searches. The JBO holds guided birding walks in English every Monday afternoon and does ringing there too. The Israeli capital is also home to prime nesting sites for the endangered lesser kestrel. The Musrara neighbourhood in particular is home to several nests and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) occasionally arranges walking tours of the area.

Birding is also good on the Mediterranean coast, even though much of the coastal plain is densely populated. In Tel Aviv, Israel's major conurbation, the Yarkon River Park provides refuge for many birds, including egrets and glossy ibis. North of the greater Tel Aviv region, coastal nature reserves and small national parks are home to many waterfowl, including many species of duck, egrets (little and great white); spoonbills and assorted waders. The Ma'agan Mikhael and Carmel coasts in particular are known for attracting a variety of bird life among the fishponds and dune wetland areas. Nahal Alexander and the remnants of the Hadera marshes north of Netanya, and Nahal Poleg south of Netanya are other potential birdwatching sites north of Tel Aviv.

About an hour's drive south of Tel Aviv, between the cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, is Park Nitzanim, a dune nature reserve, beach and campsite. A small reed-surrounded lake in the nature reserve is a lovely spot for birdwatching, with reed warblers, clamorous reed warblers, Cetti's warblers, kingfishers and the odd purple heron. I love watching the antics of the lesser-pied kingfishers darting and diving over the water, resembling giant black and white butterflies. As with many of the above birdwatching sites, it's a beautiful place to visit in its own right. If your spouse or travel companion is not into birding, they can still enjoy the lovely dune landscape and beach, especially well known for its beautiful sunsets.

In general there is great interest in nature and wildlife in Israel. Recreational hiking and a love of nature are part of the national culture. Organisations that have become cultural institutions include the Jewish National Fund (JNF); which operates reforestation programmes and manages forests and reservoirs across the country, and SPNI, an environmentalist group. In any given week SPNI runs dozens of walking and hiking tours all over the country, a few of them guided in English, with topics ranging from the natural environment to the human history of the region. A network of nature reserves and field schools across the country offer information for hikers and nature enthusiasts. There are many local hiking and walking groups, as well as 4x4 clubs for people who enjoy cross-country jeep excursions. In addition many communities have active environmental groups.

Twitching, per se, is not as widespread as in England or other European countries and tends to be part of a general interest in wildlife and nature. That said, word of a rare bird sighting can attract thousands of enthusiasts from around the country. Many local Israeli naturalists and ornithologists are active in studying and protecting Israel's birds, while birdwatching centres such as the International Bird Centre in Eilat, the Jerusalem Bird Observatory and the birdwatching centres in Kfar Ruppin and Kibbutz Lotan are part of a reasonably well-developed birding infrastructure. Centres such as the Hai-Bar reserves and the Ramat Gan safari park have conservation projects focusing on preserving or reintroducing local species, including birds, especially raptors. In many parts of the country visiting birders can hire local birding guides to show them around.

In many of Israel's national parks, such as Ein Gedi or Gamla, there will be at least one ranger with a detailed knowledge of the park's birds, though it may depend on who is on duty when you visit. If you plan to visit a lot of national parks, consider buying an annual season ticket from the National Parks Authority, which may pay for itself with just 5 or 6 visits to national parks.

Aside from birds, Israel's main tourism draws are its holy sites, along with a huge number of other historical and archaeological sites. The sun, sea and sand are also popular, with beach resorts in Eilat, the Dead Sea, Tiberias, Tel Aviv, Netanya and Nahariya, among others. Eco-tourism is growing rapidly too, especially in the desert regions. The small size of the country makes it easy to combine all of these with excellent birding opportunities.

In general, Israel has a well-developed tourism infrastructure and English is widely spoken. Many international hotel chains are represented here, along with quality local hotels and rural guesthouses. Low-cost accommodations include youth hostels, field schools and camping. In the peripheral Negev, Arava and Galilee regions one can find guesthouses and campsites oriented towards eco-tourism.

Of Israel's population of 6.3 million, about 80% are Jewish, with most of the remainder Muslim Arabs. Smaller minority groups include the Druze, Circassians, Samaritans and many Christian groups representing western and eastern churches. The national language is Hebrew, but significant minority languages include Arabic, Russian, French, Amharic and Yiddish. Israel is a European style democracy, with a local culture influenced by both Europe and the Middle East.

The Israeli weekend is Friday and Saturday, though many people work a six-day week, taking off only Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. In Muslim and Christian areas the primary rest days are Friday or Sunday respectively. The Jewish Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday and ends after sunset on Saturday night. In most parts of the country there is no public transport during this time save for taxis. Many shops and places of entertainment are also closed over the Sabbath and most national holidays, though it varies from place to place.

Though the familiar western (Gregorian) calendar is the primary one in use here, the Jewish festivals, which are national holidays, are fixed according to the traditional Jewish calendar. The main festive seasons are in the autumn and spring, which are also usually the most comfortable times of the year to visit and coincide with peak bird migrations. Be aware that due to the festivals these can be the most expensive times of year to come, and many attractions will be at their most crowded. On the other hand, festivals are the time for many special events, including nature hikes and tours of national parks. When planning a visit, it`s advisable to check in advance when the festivals fall and take that into consideration.

Israel's climate features hot, uncomfortable summers, with humidity high in the coastal areas. The summer is most bearable in the mountains of the Jerusalem area, the Galilee and Golan, where the heat is dry and there is usually a cool evening breeze. Rainfall is rare from May to September. Take care to drink a lot of water, wear a hat and protect yourself from the sun. Winter is the main rainy season, and can be cold in and around Jerusalem and the Galilee, as well as at night in the desert regions, though the temperature rarely dips below freezing. Especially in desert regions, there can be significant differences between daytime and night time temperature; a desert daytime high of 18C (64F) can plunge to a night low of 6C (43F); for example. Winter temperatures along the coast are mild and often pleasant when it's not raining.

Contributor

Leiah Elbaum

leiah@elbaum.org

Number of Species

National Bird: Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epos

Number of bird species: 540

Checklist

Checklist

WebBirder Checklist

Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder

Useful Reading

A Guide to the Birding Hotspots of Northern Israel

Hadoram Shirihai et al.

DVD - Birding in Israel

Buy direct from the filmmaker: Bluethroats before Breakfast: http://www.wildlifevideos.net/israel1_new.html
Sandgrouse at Sunset: http://www.wildlifevideos.net/israel2_new.html

Finding Birds in Israel

Dave Gosney Paperback (Dec 1996) Easybirder

ISBN: 1907316272

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Photographic Guide to the Birds of Israel and the Middle East

Richard Porter, David Cottridge Paperback - 144 pages ( 1 November, 2000) New Holland Publishers (UK)

ISBN: 1859745083

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Birds of Israel

Hadoram Shirihai Hardcover - 876 pages (21 October, 1995) Academic Press Inc

ISBN: 0126402558

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

*National Bird

Hoopoe

[Decided in May 2008 after a national vote of over 150,000 bird lovers]

Organisations

Friends of the Arava Institute

Website

The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies offers Egyptian, Israeli, Jordanian, Palestinian and overseas students an intensive hands-on academic program focussing on our joint environment. The program is conducted in English. Situated on the grounds of Kibbutz Ketura, adjacent to the Jordanian and Egyptian borders, the Institute serves as a regional centre for conservation and environmental protection activities…

International Birdwatching Center - Jordan Valley

Website

Over 300 bird species within 30 km2! Supporting a wide diversity of habitats that are uniquely located along the main migratory path that joins Europe, Asia and Africa makes this one of the best birding hotspots in the Western Palearctic. This is the place to watch flocks of tens of thousands of soaring birds such as storks, pelicans and many species of raptors. The wetland habitat around the Jordan River and fishponds attract a wide variety of waterbirds from great black-headed gulls to common shelduck…

Israel Rarities & Distribution Committee

Information

The Israeli Rarities & Distribution Committee (IRDC) was re-established in 2000, realizing the need to improve the standard of rarity recording in Israel, to monitor changes in the country's avifauna, rarities in particular, and to make these available to the general public. Our main objectives are to improve the standards of rarity recording in Israel, leveling with those suggested by the European Association of Rarities Committees (AERC), and to improve the knowledge on bird distribution and distribution changes in Israel…

Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel

Website

SPNI, Hashsela 4, Tel Aviv 66103. + 972 3 6388666 ioc@netvision.net.il
A non-profit, non-governmental organization, SPNI was founded in 1953 and has grown to become Israel's largest environmental NGO, with some 100,000 members in Israel and abroad. The SPNI involves everyone - Jews, Christians and Muslims, young and old…

The Israel Ornithological Center

Information

Israel's unique location at the junction of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa, makes it a site for an extraordinary phenomena: some 500 million migrating birds cross its skies twice a year. You can obtain real time information through birds fitted with satellite transmitters, Pictures from Latrun Radar, On-Line Camera in nests, The annual Autumn soaring bird migration survey, Ringing Stations and more.

Festivals

Eliat Birds Festival

Festival

During the festival week, Birders visiting on a package will enjoy a free guided minibus service that will visit the best birding hotspots in Eilat and the southern Arava. These tours will be led by experienced guides that will help you get the most out of your morning. Choose from 2-3 different destinations every day…

Hula Valley Bird Festival

Information

During the peak birding season in the Hula Valley, when the migration season is at its height and the wintering species have already arrived, come and enjoy a great variety of activities: lectures, guided tours and identification workshops which will be held in the field by some of the best international experts…

Observatories

Jerusalem Bird Observatory

Information

Satellite View

The Israeli government has allocated a one-acre plot (5000 square meters) of prime real estate between the Knesset and the Supreme Court for the project. The site is one of the few traditional birdwatching areas in Jerusalem that has not been harmed by development, and is centrally located, making it attractive as an educational and tourist centre for the public. For many years the site lay in a state of neglect, with the two buildings on the surrounding grounds used as a repository for organic materials from the neighbouring parks. The area will be cleared of refuse and walking paths will be established. A gardening plan will be implemented in order to attract a wide variety of birds without damaging the existing vegetation.

Reserves

Gamla Nature Reserve

Information

Satellite View

The Gamla Nature Reserve in the central Golan Heights is a wonderful combination of nature, landscape and historical remains. It is home to a globally unique number of raptors for its small size, including rare species, and one of the world's most ancient synagogues…

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2005 [December] - Richard Bonser

Trip Report

With a relatively light amount of holiday taken during the autumn, and the fact that I needed to use all of my holiday allowance up by the end of the year, thoughts turned to where could one gain excellent birding within the Western Palearctic within the month of December…

2007 [February] - Avner Cohen

Trip Report

…I continued driving south, and after checking into the hotel, I met up with Noam Weiss to search for the Egyptian Nightjar he saw in one of the previous nights. We spent an hour driving through the fields, and saw nothing but a Stone-curlew, few Spur-winged Plovers and a Kentish Plover…

2007 [January] - Noah Gaines

Trip Report

…The next stop was Gamla Nature Preserve. A steep gorge in the Golan Heights that is famous for its close views of nesting Griffin Vultures. The birds were present in good numbers and were often seen from extremely close ranges as they followed the ridges of the gorge. Other new birds seen at Gamla, were Bonelli’s Eagle, Blue Rock Thrush, and Syrian Woodpecker…

2008 [April]- Richard Bonser

Trip Report

…alas there was nothing unsurprisingly although large numbers of squawking Ring-necked Parakeets flew around the area as offensively as they do in London. Rather nicer was the Cattle Egret and Glossy Ibis colony that was present in the town park that served as a reminder I was a fair way from home…

2009 [December] - Julian Bell - Eastern Mediterranean - the Tamar field off Israel

Trip Report

The job was an AUV geophysical survey with a variety of geotechnical sampling in order to map possible routes for the offshore section of a gas pipeline from the Tamar field to Israel. The vessel mobilised late November at Limassol, Cyprus and we went home just before Christmas via Haifa in Israel. Early in the New Year I returned for a couple more weeks…

2009 [September] - Tristan Norton

Trip Report

PDF

2011 [March] - Dave Read & Andy Shooter

Report

…This proved to be an extremely successful tour with far too many highlights to list them all, certainly amongst them would be the exceptional views of the diminutive Namaqua Dove, breeding plumage Caspian Plovers and displaying Macqueens Bustard. We were joined for the first two full days by the renowned Israeli birder and excellent guide Barak Granit who's help found us many sought after species including Long-billed Pipit, Striolated Bunting and up to 80 Syrian Serins. He also escorted us on two evening excursions, the highlights of which were excellent views of Nubian and Egyptian Nightjars as well as Pharaoh Eagle Owl…

2011 [March] - John Gallagher

Report

…We followed the track off to the left (marked by the red & white metal posts) and had Stonechat, Syrian Woodpecker, Jay, Black Redstart and a a group of unidentified Eagles migrating far overhead (possibly Spotted or Steppe). Migration seemed to be well underway as a group of Cretzschmar’s Buntings were spotted as well as a single Cinereous Bunting. Eastern Black-Eared Wheatear and Finsch’s Wheatear, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chukar & Blue Rock Thrush were also recorded here. Large Flocks of Common Crane were also seen flying over Mount Gilboa…

2012 [March] - Steve Arlow

Report PDF

…Also keep an eye on the sky here as we had four Egyptian Vultures, a couple of Griffin Vultures, Steppe Buzzards, Black Kites and Lesser Kestrels rising on the thermals at about 10.30am from the nearby petrol station….

2013 [April] - Steve Arlow & Lee Ebbs

Report PDF

…The ponds vary in water levels which benefits different species, amongst the commoner species were White Pelicans, Greater Spotted Eagles, Ospreys, White and Black Storks, Spoonbills, Common Cranes, Yellow Wagtail forms and various waders…

2013 [February] - Jaap Westra

Report PDF

…Best example of this were the surprise Egyptian Nightjars, that had already been found in the first week of February. Northbound Steppe Eagles were seen flying over Eilat and the numbers of other migrant species were building up, bringing new birds every day…

2013 [March] - Dominic Standings

Report

…The Temminck’s Larks from earlier in the winter had obviously gone but in their place were at least 4 Bar-Tailed Larks close to the road and a few Short-Toed Larks flying around. Other desert specialists were 85 Spotted Sandgrouse settling on the plain, a calling fly-over flock of Crowned Sandgrouse and many Desert Wheatears. Migrants were represented by several Ruppell’s Warblers and Cretzschmar’s Buntings and our only Ortolan Bunting of the trip…

2013 [March] - Josh Jones

Report

…Afternoon spent birding sites around the Dead Sea before an evening spent searching for Nubian Nightjar and Hume’s Owl with Barak Granit. Overnight drive south to Yotvata…

2014 [March] - Mike Neale

Report

Short trip in March to the South of Israel. Weather wet and windy and impacted Migration. Even so birding was fun and some 125 spps. seen. ( List available on request) – Using the Guide to Birding Hotspots of Southern Israel…

Guides & Tour Operators

Carmel Birding Tours in Israel

Tour Operator

Israel's unique location has made Israel a bottleneck and crossroads for bird migration, second to almost no other site in the world. Research has shown that about 500 million migrating birds fly over Israel twice a year. We, at Carmel's Birding Tours in Israel, offer unique bird watching tours with professional guidance and a personal touch. We specialize in customized birding tours to ensure your complete satisfaction…

Birding Ecotours

Tour Operator

Our Owls of the World trip to Israel can be combined with other fascinating birding sights such as the thousands of migratory raptors. Many birds' migration paths pass straight though Israel (about half a billion birds pass through!) Also visit the Red and Mediterranean Seas.

Birding Israel

Tour Company

Based at Lotan Kibbutz (see where to stay} tours across Israel…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Superstar Holidays

Tour Company

Today you start to experience the incredible diversity of Israel’s avia fauna. After a sumptuous Israeli Buffet breakfast take a short drive to the Maagan Michael Reserve. This SPNI field centre has been specially developed to protect the habitat both for native and migratory birds with a variety of waders, Great Black Headed Gull, Terns and Glossy Ibis. In the afternoon continue to the world famous Hula Nature Reserve north of the Sea of Galilee. The Hula is a re-flooded natural resource and home to a variety of species including vast numbers of Cranes and Pelicans. Continue to Kibbutz Kfar Hanasie for dinner and overnight.

Places to Stay

Kibbutz Lotan

Information

Kibbutz Lotan Center for Bird watching is located in the heart of the great migration flyway through the Arava Valley near Eilat, Israel. Lotan provides an ideal to base for a birding tour for both groups and individuals. Comfortable guest lodging with full board is available throughout the year with tea/ coffee and other refreshments in all the rooms. Most of the birdwatching center`s activities are carried out during February to June and September to November. As well as superb on site birding, the center operates fully guided bird tours, a ringing (banding) station, raptor migration surveys, and a daily census. There is also an excellent bird reserve on the premises. First rate local guides are available for daily hire in season.

Forums & Mailing Lists

Israbirdnet

Mailing Group

To post to list: israbirdnet@yahoogroups.com

List contact: israbirdnet-owner@yahoogroups.com

To subscribe to list: israbirdnet-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Discussion Group Mailing list for birding activities in Israel.

Blogs

Birding Israel

Blog

In 1996, the members of Kibbutz Lotan decided to build a small reserve to the south of their dairy barn. The site had been dry, sandy, barren terrain, except during occasional floods. Now, there is a small pond, young trees, and an alfalfa patch. Elsewhere, green plants have begun to cover the desert floor. It is now an area in which migrating birds can safely stop on their long journeys to refuel, drink, and rest. It is already a beautiful haven for birds and other wild animals, which visitors can enjoy seeing them with the help of blinds and camouflaged entranceways…

Israeli Ringing BLOG

Blog

Bird ringing activities in Israel: news from the field, forthcoming ringing activity, recent foreign controls, interesting species, in-hand identification and other subjects…

Other Links

Birding in Israel

Information

Israel's most rewarding areas for birdwatching are up north around the Hula Valley and Golan Heights, the southern desert areas around Eilat and the shores of the Dead Sea. However there is interesting bird watching to be had in many other parts of Israel too, especially during the spring and autumn migrations when the country is flooded with birds from around the world…

Birding Israel

Website

Welcome to one of the world's greatest migratory flyways! Our beautiful, rural setting in the Hammada desert of the southern Arava, gives our green Kibbutz an oasis like appeal for birds and birders alike. We are in the heart of the greatest Global Flyway on this side of the Atlantic, with hundreds of thousands of migrants passing over and through Kibbutz Lotan each spring, and also to an extent in the autumn. We're just a 35 minute drive from Eilat. So read on and find out why more and more birders choose Lotan as their favourite birding experience…

Birdwatching

Article

Half a billion birds fly through Israeli air space to migrate from Africa to Europe or Asia and back…

Desert Birds

Information

Israeli Birding Website - This website features Israel's latest birding news, including trip reports, rarity alerts and monthly summaries - all with photographs.

Eilat Birding

Website

Birding news from the IBRCE park and the greater Eilat region…

Eliat Birds Park

Information

Israel is the only land bridge for birds migrating south from Europe and Asia to Africa in autumn and north to their breeding grounds in spring. Eilat is an important site because it is located on the northern edge of the Saharan-Arabian desert belt and is critical for many migrant species because it is reached after a flight of almost 2000 km of continuos desert regions of the Sahel, Sahara and Sinai deserts…

Flora and Fauna in Israel

Information

Packed into Israel’s small area are snow-covered mountains, parched deserts, fertile fields, lush woodlands and long stretches of sand dunes. No less than four different geographical zones are included in the State of Israel, and the country’s climate ranges from semi-arid to temperate to subtropical….

Gallery of Birds in Eilat

Gallery

Lots of photographs of birds from a Norwegian birder… there is some supporting information but it is in Norwegian.

Hotspots

Information

The usual excellent entry.

Lesser Kestrel Decline

Article

We studied the ecology of the Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni, a globally threatened species, to identify the factors causing its gradual decline in Israel, in order to stabilize and possibly restore its numbers. Lesser Kestrels in Israel breed in colonies, both adjacent to human settlements (rural and urban) and in the countryside…

Southern Israel Birding Sites

Information

Here are further details about the sites we visited in Southern Israel during our holiday in September 1997. Most books provide details about the best sites, such as Eilat`s salt pans, but what I`ve tried to do here is provide a little further advice about the sites we looked at. In other words the information here is simply from our own experiences and is not intended to be a comprehensive site guide. For info about the Sandgrouse drinking pool in Eilat, look elsewhere! We never made it there!

The Israeli Center for Yardbirds

Website

Israel is blessed with a great variety of birds, and bird-watchers from all over the world come here to watch our birds…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Avi Blumen's Birds Photos

http://blumen.smugmug.com/Birds

My name is Avi Blumen, I live in Israel, I'm 50 years old married and a father of a 1 teenage boy. I work as a graphic artist as well as a technical photographer in an advertising agency. On my free time I love to take nature photographs - mainly birds…

Photographer - Danny Laredo

Gallery

Gallery of birds mostly photographed in Israel…

Photographer - Dubi Shapiro - World Photo Galleries

Gallery

Quality Images of many rare species from all over the world including remote area as Madagascar, Papua and Indian Ocean Islands…

Photographer - Edri Shimon

Website

I am a nature photographer from Israel…

Photographer - Elroyie David

Gallery

I love nature and photography and I tried to combine those two in my pictures. Photography is only a hobby to me, it comes on my spare time between work and other obligations…

Photographer - Erez Avraham

Gallery

Fine Photographer from Israel…

Photographer - Ilia Shalamaev

Website

I was born in Andijan, Uzbekistan, and now make my home the beautiful land of Israel. Since I was young, I learned to enjoy and appreciate the wonderful and diverse landscapes and wildlife my country of origin had to offer…

Photographer - Israel Fichman

Gallery

The photo's in these galleries are all taken in Israel…

Photographer - Pablo Rudaeff

Gallery

Israeli Photographer with some very fine work – particularly specializing in ‘action’ shots of birds…

Photographer - Roie Galitz

Gallery

Some bird pictures among other galleries - but very high quality…

Photographer - Uri Avitan

Gallery

Bird photographs mainly from Israel…

Photographer - Yoram Shpirer

Gallery

Some excellent photos of natural subjects…