isrtrip26

Birdwatching Trip in Israel

25 August to 11 September 2001

Arnau Bonan Barfull
David Giralt Jonama
Oriol Soler Ferrer

INTRODUCTION

This is a report of a birdwatching trip done in Israel by three Catalan birdwatchers, from 25 August until 11 Spetember. We went there by plane, Arnau and David the 25 September, and Oriol came the 27, and Arnau and David returned the 11 and Oriol the 12, because we could not find flight for the same day. That forced Arnau and David to stay the first two days quite near Tel Aviv, and Oriol to stay one day alone in Tel Aviv.
We rent a Ford Fiesta, that was big enough for three, and took us wherever we want; we are quite satisfied about the car.
The U.S. Dollar was quite high compared with Euro, that made the trip more expensive than we expected. Food was very expensive, even more in the Negev desert. Eating in restaurants was very expensive, and that forced us to eat a lot of times “fast food”.
For preparing the trip we used the book “Birwatching in the deserts of Israel” by Hadoram Shirihai and Ofer Bahat. The book is quite good, with a lot of sites described with detailed maps-drawns. We decided to travel around the south of Israel, but at the end of the trip we went north because we were quite tired about brown-dry area. In Jerusalem we bought the book “A guide to the Birding Hot-spots of Southern Israel” by Hadoram Shirihai, James P. Smith, Guy M. Kirwan and Dan Alon. This book is newer than the other, and has more sites described. We used more the latter, and we think that the book is ok, but perhaps lists a lot of vagrant species that had been seen in each site, and there is few information about difficult species, like where to find them and when.
We slept in a tend, mainly free camping, but in Eilat we slept in the camping close to the beach. People that had been in Israel told us to beware about free camping because of the snakes, and it is funny that the only snake that we found during all the trip was in the Eilat Camping, unfortunately we just saw one snake, as we like them.

ABSTRACT

Here follows a brief summary of the report.

August 25: We arrived at the Tel Aviv Airport at 4 P.M., we rent a car and we went to Tel Aviv where we slept.
Most interesting species: Spur-winged Lapwing, Laughing Dove.

August 26: Morning in Tel Aviv, the afternoon we went around Beer-Sheva and we spent the evening in Yeroham.
Most interesting species: Glossy Ibis, Sooty Falcon, White-winged Black Tern, White-throated Kingfisher, Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin, Isabelline Wheatear, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Masked Shrike.

August 27: Morning in Yeroham, we went to visit Jerusalem and at night we went to the Tel Aviv Airport to pick up Oriol, and we slept at Sede Boqer.
Most interesting species: Squacco Heron, Chukar Partridge, White-winged Black Tern, White-throated Kingfisher, Desert Lark, Mourning Wheatear, Olivaceous Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Arabian Babbler, Masked Shrike, Tristram’s Starling, Trumpeter Finch.

August 28: All day in Sede Boqer.
Most interesting species: Squacco Heron, Egyptian Vulture, Chukar Partridge, Rock Martin, Blackstart, Mourning Wheatear, Scrub Warbler, Arabian Warbler, Arabian Babbler, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Brown-necked Raven, Cretzschmar’s Bunting.

August 29: All day in Sede Boqer.
Most interesting species: Egyptian Vulture, Bonelli’s Eagle, Chukar Partridge, Sand Partridge, Hume’s Owl, Green Bee-eater, Desert Lark, Blackstart, Desert Wheatear, Mourning Wheatear, Graceful Warbler, Scrub Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Palestine Sunbird, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Masked Shrike.

August 30: Morning in Sede Boqer, afternoon in Nizzana.
Most interesting species: Egyptian Vulture, Chukar Partridge, Houbara Bustard, Spotted Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Green Bee-eater, Desert Lark, Blackstart, Mourning Wheatear, Graceful Warbler, Scrub Warbler, Arabian Warbler, Palestine Sunbird, Arabian Babbler, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Masked Shrike, Brown-necked Raven, Trumpeter Finch.

August 31: All day in Nizzana, we went to sleep at Mizpe Ramon.
Most interesting species: Lanner Falcon, Chukar Partridge, Sand Partridge, Houbara Bustard, Spotted Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Isabelline Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Mourning Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Masked Shrike, Brown-necked Raven, Trumpeter Finch.

September 1: All day in Mizpe Ramon, we went to sleep at Yotvata.
Most interesting species: Spotted Sandgrouse, Wryneck, Desert Lark, Isabelline Wheatear, White-crowned Black Wheatear, Mourning Wheatear, Sedge Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Booted Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Masked Shrike, Brown-necked Raven, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Ortolan Bunting.

September 2: All day in Yotvata, we went to sleep at Eilat.
Most interesting species: Namaqua Dove, Green Bee-eater, Blackstart, Isabelline Wheatear, Mourning Wheatear, Graceful Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Arabian Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Masked Shrike, Palestine Sunbird, Tristram’s Starling.

September 3: All day in Eilat.
Most interesting species: Squacco Heron, Western Reef Egret, Booted Eagle, Sand Partridge, Caspian Tern, Pied Kingfisher, Green Bee-eater, Wryneck, Desert Lark, Blackstart, Isabelline Wheatear, Graceful Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Palestine Sunbird, Masked Shrike, Tristram’s Starling.

September 4: All day in Eilat.
Most interesting species: Sooty Shearwater, Pomarine Skua, White-eyed Gull, Caspian Tern, Pied Kingfisher, House Crow.

September 5: All day in Eilat.
Most interesting species: Squacco Heron, Lesser Kestrel, Pomarine Skua, Slender-billed Gull, White-eyed Gull, Caspian Tern, White-cheeked Tern, Namaqua Dove, Pied Kingfisher, Green Bee-eater, Desert Lark, Blackstart, White-crowned Black Wheatear, Graceful Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Masked Shrike, Brown-necked Raven, House Crow.

September 6: Morning in Eilat, after lunch we went to Kibbutz Lotan.
Most interesting species: Sand Partridge, Caspian Tern, Green Bee-eater, Desert Lark, Blackstart, White-crowned Black Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Scrub Warbler, Masked Shrike, Brown-necked Raven.

September 7: Morning in Kibbutz Lotan, afternoon in the Dead Sea Region.
Most interesting species: Sand Partridge, Green Bee-eater, Red-rumped Swallow, Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin, Blackstart, White-crowned Black Wheatear, Graceful Warbler, Tristram´s Starling, Brown-necked Raven, Fan-tailed Raven, House Bunting.

September 8: Morning in the Dead Sea Region, after lunch we drove to the Hula Valley.
Most interesting species: Egyptian Vulture, Sand Partridge, Desert Lark, Blackstart, White-crowned Black Wheatear, Mourning Wheatear, Scrub Warbler, Tristram´s Starling, Brown-necked Raven, Fan-tailed Raven.

September 9: All day in the Hula Valley.
Most interesting species: Great White Egret, Squacco Heron, Black Stork, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Ruddy Shelduck, Long-legged Buzzard, Osprey, Armenian Gull, Pied Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, Roller, Syrian Woodpecker, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Red-rumped Swallow, Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin, Isabelline Wheatear, Wood Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Palestine Sunbird, Masked Shrike, Ortolan Bunting.

September 10: All day in the Hula Valley, at night we drove to Tel Aviv.
Most interesting species: Great White Egret, Squacco Heron, Black Stork, Glossy Ibis, Marbled Duck, Long-legged Buzzard, Osprey, Little Crake, Spotted Crake, Marsh Sandpiper, White-winged Black Tern, Whiskered Tern, Rose-ringed Parakeet, White-throated Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Roller, Syrian Woodpecker, Red-rumped Swallow, Short-toed Lark, Isabelline Wheatear, Savi´s Warbler, Graceful Warbler, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Palestine Sunbird, Masked Shrike, Spanish Sparrow, Cretzschmar´s Bunting.

REPORT

25th of August 2001

We flew from Barcelona to Tel Aviv , and we arrived at 4 o’clock PM. We rent a car in the airport, a Ford Fiesta, that is enough for 3 people. Going out of the airport, we saw the first Spur-winged Lapwing of the trip.
We went to Tel Aviv, and we looked for a hostel to sleep that night. We went to eat something and to have a drink, and we went back to the hostel. During that walk, we saw the first Laughing Doves of the trip. That night was quiet complicated to sleep well, as it was very warm and humid, and there was a noisy fan in our room.

Birds seen during the day:

Spur-winged Lapwing

  Hoplopterus spinosus

  +7

Laughing Dove

  Streptopelia senegalensis

  +5

Rock Dove

  Columba livia

  +20

Jackdaw

  Corvus monedula

  2

Hooded Crow

  Corvus corone cornix

  +5

House Sparrow

  Passer domesticus

  +15

26th August 2001

We woke up at 10, and we went to the beach to have a swim and then to have a shower in the public showers of the beach. Going to the beach, we saw our first Yellow-vented Bulbul.
Because Oriol was coming in 2 days, we decided to go to Beer-Sheva, as it is not far away from Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, and there are some places there that we thought that could be interesting.
So, we drove to the south, and during the trip we turned into a small road, and we drove through it, stopping while we saw birds. The place was very dry and hot, mainly stubble fields. In a place with eucalyptus trees, we saw a young Woodchat Shrike and a Kestrel. During the walk, we saw an Isabelline Wheather, a Laughing Dove and some Crested Larks.
It was Saturday, Sabbath, and it was very difficult to find an open restaurant in Beer-Sheva. The city was almost desert, and after looking for a restaurant for more or less one hour, we finished eating in a Chinese restaurant!!. At 4 o’clock, we went to the alfalfa fields close to town that the book recommends, but most of it has disappeared, and now there are corncobs, so there where not many bird species. We walked for a while in an open area close to a field, where we saw Spur-winged Lapwing, Isabelline Wheathear and Cattle Egret.
After, we went to Yeroham, where there is a floodwater reservoir. The part of the reservoir close to the road is used as a leisure place for the people of the town, and it has picnic areas with grass. Behind that area, there is a pool: in the middle it has dead trees, and some areas have reeds, and others have tamarisks. In one side, it is all surrounded by tamarisks. The place was plenty of different bird species and we stayed there the rest of the day. The most spectacular species seen there was a Sooty Falcon: it appeared suddenly flying to the pool, and after a fast descending, it flew away to a small pine forest. We saw it just a moment, but we saw it quite well. Unfortunately, that was the only day that we saw that species, so Oriol did not see it, and it was one of the target species of the trip. We also saw a Hobby hunting and taking a small prey. We saw quite a lot of different species like Night and Grey Heron, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, White-winged Black Tern, and also some shorebirds like Dunlin, Little Stint, Ruff, Green and Wood Sandpiper. Other noteworthy species were White-throated Kingfisher: we saw 2, one flying and one perched on a branch, a Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin and a Masked Shrike. We also saw one Water Rail that was moving through the reeds, and one crake that we could not identify. So, going to Yeroham was really a good choice, as we saw quite a lot of different species, and the place was really nice to stay in. We slept in the side of the pool that has tamarisk.

Bird species seen during the day:

Little Grebe

  Tachybaptus ruficollis

  +10

Night Heron

  Nycticorax nycticorax

  2

Cattle Egret

  Bubulcus ibis

  +30

Little Egret

  Egretta garzetta

  +8

Grey Heron

  Ardea cinerea

  4

White Stork

  Ciconia ciconia

  1

Glossy Ibis

  Plegadis falcinellus

  2

Mallard

  Anas platyrhynchos

  +10

Garganey

  Anas querquedula

  +30

Kestrel

  Falco tinnunculus

  2-3

Hobby

  Falco subbuteo

  1

Sooty Falcon

  Falco concolor

  1

Water Rail

  Rallus aquaticus

  1

Common Coot

  Fulica atra

  +30

Moorhen

  Gallinula chloropus

  +20

Stone-curlew

  Burhinus oedicnemus

  1

Black-winged Stilt

  Himantopus himantopus

  +20

Great Ringed Plover

  Charadrius hiaticula

  2

Spur-winged Lapwing

  Hoplopterus spinosus

  +50

Dunlin

  Calidris alpina

  1

Little Stint

  Calidris minuta

  +6

Ruff

  Philomachus pugnax

  1

Common Redshank

  Tringa totanus

  2-3

Wood Sandpiper

  Tringa glareola

  2

Green Sandpiper

  Tringa ochropus

  +15

Snipe

  Gallinago gallinago

  2

White-winged Black Tern

  Chlidonias leucopterus

  +10

Rock Dove

  Columba livia

  +50

Collared Dove

  Streptopelia decaocto

  +25

Laughing Dove

  Streptopelia senegalensis

  +40

White-throated Kingfisher

  Halcyon smyrnensis

  2

Hoopoe

  Upupa epops

  2

Crested Lark

  Galerida cristata

  +10

Sand Martin

  Riparia riparia

  +25

Yellow Wagtail

  Motacilla flava

  +15

Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin

  Cercotrichas galactotes

  1

Isabelline Wheatear

  Oenanthe isabellina

  2

Sedge Warbler

  Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

  1

Yellow-vented Bulbul

  Pycnonotus xanthopygos

  +10

Woodchat Shrike

  Lanius senator

  1

Masked Shrike

  Lanius nubicus

  1

Hooded Crow

  Corvus corone cornix

  +20

House Sparrow

  Passer domesticus

  +20

27th August2001

We woke up at 7, and it was one of those ornithological stressful mornings… We where in the tamarisk forest, where there are also acacia trees. One of the first species of the day was Tristram’s Starling: there was a group of them resting in a dead tree that was in the middle of the pool and they moved around. There was quite a lot of birds around in the tamarisk, mainly Olivaceous Warbler and other warblers like Bonelli’s Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat. Suddenly, a group of Arabian Babblers arrived: they were moving in the palm trees, and jumping to the floor, some of them were wet as they already had a bath in the pool, we saw them really well. An amazing species. In the pool, there was more or less the same as the day before, adding Squacco Heron and Common Kingfisher.
We took a path that surrounded the pool, and we went to the place where there is the dam. In that area there is less vegetation around the pool, just few small bushes. There we saw our first Mourning Wheather, a really spectacular bird. Walking around the small hills that are around the pool, we saw Desert and Crested Lark and Trumpeter Finch. We went back, and in an area where there are tamarisk we saw a group of Chukar Partridge, they were quite confident, and we could see them quite well.
We went to Jerusalem for a tourist visit. After visiting the typical places, we went to the Society for the protection of Nature in Israel, where we bought the book “A guide to the birding hot-spots of southern Israel”.
Because we had to be at midnight at the airport to pick up Oriol, we went direction to Israel, and we stopped in Ramat Razilel: the place is quite mountainous and the vegetation is mediterranean, dominated by pine trees. We went to a kind of valley, where we thought that we could see some raptors. There were not many passerines around, and we saw Jay, of the atricapillus group with quite a lot of white in the face, Great Tit, and we heard Sardinian Warbler. We saw two Short-toed Eagles and a Sparrowhawk, and also some Chukar Partridges.

Bird species seen during the day:

Little Grebe

 Tachybaptus ruficollis

 +10

Night Heron

 Nycticorax nycticorax

 2

Little Egret

 Egretta garzetta

 +4

Cattle Egret

 Bubulcus ibis

 +10

Squacco Heron

 Ardeola ralloides

 1

Grey Heron

 Ardea cinerea

 +4

Glossy Ibis

 Plegadis falcinellus

 2

Mallard

 Anas platyrhynchos

 +10

Garganey

 Anas querquedula

 +20

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

 Accipiter nisus

 1

Short-toed Eagle

 Circaetus gallicus

 2

Chukar Partridge

 Alectoris chukar

 +20

Moorhen

 Gallinula chloropus

 +10

Common Coot

 Fulica atra

 +20

Black-winged Stilt

 Himantopus himantopus

 +20

Spur-winged Lapwing

 Hoplopterus spinosus

 +30

Common Sandpiper

 Actitis hypoleucos

 2

Green Sandpiper

 Tringa ochropus

 +10

Ruff

 Philomachus pugnax

 1

Common Redshank

 Tringa totanus

 2

Wood Sandpiper

 Tringa glareola

 2

Snipe

 Gallinago gallinago

 +6

White-winged Black Tern

 Chlidonias leucopterus

 +6

Rock Dove

 Columba livia

 +20

Collared Dove

 Streptopelia decaocto

 3-4

Laughing Dove

 Streptopelia senegalensis

 +30

Cuckoo

 Cuculus canorus

 1

Common Kingfisher

 Alcedo atthis

 1

White-throated Kingfisher

 Halcyon smyrnensis

 1

Hoopoe

 Upupa epops

 1

Desert Lark

 Ammomanes deserti

 +10

Crested Lark

 Galerida cristata

 2

Barn Swallow

 Hirundo rustica

 2-3

Yellow Wagtail

 Motacilla flava

 +10

Mourning Wheatear

 Oenanthe lugens

 1

Northern Wheatear

 Oenanthe oenanthe

 1

Blackbird

 Turdus merula

 1

Olivaceous Warbler

 Hippolais pallida

 +15

Icterine Warbler

 Hippolais icterina

 1

Blackcap

 Sylvia atricapilla

 1

Lesser Whitethroat

 Sylvia curruca

 2

Sardinian Warbler

 Sylvia melanocephala

 1

Bonelli’s Warbler

 Phylloscopus bonelli

 1

Spotted Flycatcher

 Muscicapa striata

 1

Great Tit

 Parus major

 1

Arabian Babbler

 Turdoides squamiceps

 +8

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 Pycnonotus xanthopygos

 +40

Masked Shrike

 Lanius nubicus

 1

Tristram’s Starling

 Onychognathus tristrammi

 +10

Jay

 Garrulus glandarius

 +10

Hooded Crow

 Corvus corone cornix

 +4

House Sparrow

 Passer domesticus

 +20

Trumpeter Finch

 Bucanetes githagineus

 +15

28th August 2001

At 2 o’clock we left the airport with Oriol, and we went south to Sede Boqer, where we decided to stay the next days. We arrived at 4 o’clock in the morning, and we slept in a pine forest close to the road.
We woke up at 10:30, and it was quite hot, so after having breakfast, we decided to go birdwatching around, mainly by car, because it was too late to start walking.
We took the road and we drove south, and we found an artificial pound situated at the east side of the road, and we saw some ducks and shorebirds, Squacco Heron and two Cretzschmar’s Buntings.
We went to the Ben Gurion centre, where we ate something. While we were eating and drinking, we saw an Egyptian Vulture. We took a track that goes around the area that is close to the centre. The place was extremely dry, and vegetation seems to be just in dry small rivers. So, we went by car and walked for a while where we saw good places for birds. In a dry wady, where there were small bushes, we saw our first Arabian Warbler: a bit smaller than Orphean, the tail is completely black, the head is also different. Really happy for this new species, we continued birdwatching in that area, and we also saw Mourning Wheather. We continued in that track, and we arrived to a grape plantation: amazing to find it in the middle of the Negev. Here, we saw 3 Egyptian Vulture and a group of Brown-necked Ravens, that we could see well with the telescopes. We continued in that track, and we arrived to a paved road that takes to a kind of big store. Suddenly, we saw the first Rock Martin of the trip. That bird is more beautiful that one can imagine looking to the bird guides, and is really different from the Crag Martins at home. Here, we also saw a Hobby, Lesser Grey and Red-backed Shrike. Returning to the grape plantation, we saw a group of Chukar Partridge.
We went to eat at the Ben Gurion College, where there is a kind of supermarket, really expensive prices, but was the only shop in all the area.
After lunch, we wanted to go to the Ein Avdat, but it was closed, so we took a track that goes into the Nahal Zin. The place is really impressive, and the track goes close to a dry river, where there are big bushes and different plant species. Obviously, there were quite a lot of birds around, and we saw the first Blackstart of the trip: a really beautiful passerine, it is amazing when it opens its tail and then it closes it. After it, we saw another extremely beautiful species: Scrub Warbler, always moving, we saw some of them moving where there was some vegetation. Here, we also saw Arabian Babbler, Griffon and Egyptian Vulture, Brown-necked Raven and war helicopters of the Army.
We went to sleep in the same pine forest as the night before.

Bird species seen during the day:

Cattle Egret

 Bubulcus ibis

  4-5

Squacco Heron

 Ardeola ralloides

  1

Northern Shoveler

 Anas clypeata

  1

Garganey

 Anas querquedula

  8

Griffon Vulture

 Gyps fulvus

  +15

Egyptian Vulture

 Neophron percnopterus

  8

Hobby

 Falco subbuteo

  1

Chukar Partridge

 Alectoris chukar

  +10

Spur-winged Lapwing

 Hoplopterus spinosus

  +30

Wood Sandpiper

 Tringa glareola

  1

Little Stint

 Calidris minuta

  +7

Common Sandpiper

 Actitis hypoleucos

  1

Ruff

 Philomachus pugnax

  1

Rock Dove

 Columba livia

  +10

Collared Dove

 Streptopelia decaocto

  2

Turtle Dove

 Streptopelia turtur

  2

Laughing Dove

 Streptopelia senegalensis

  +30

Hoopoe

 Upupa epops

  3

Crested Lark

 Galerida cristata

  +15

Rock Martin

 Ptyonoprogne fuligula

  3

Barn Swallow

 Hirundo rustica

  3

Yellow Wagtail

 Motacilla flava

  +30

Blackstart

 Cercomela melanura

  2

Isabelline Wheatear

 Oenanthe isabellina

  +6

Mourning Wheatear

 Oenanthe lugens

  1

Blackbird

 Turdus merula

  3

Scrub Warbler

 Scotocerca inquieta

  +6

Arabian Warbler

 Sylvia leucomelaena

  1

Bonelli’s Warbler

 Phylloscopus bonelli

  1

Spotted Flycatcher

 Muscicapa striata

  1

Arabian Babbler

 Turdoides squamiceps

  +3

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 Pycnonotus xanthopygos

  +30

Red-backed Shrike

 Lanius collurio

  2

Lesser Grey Shrike

 Lanius minor

  1

Brown-necked Raven

 Corvus ruficollis

  +15

Hooded Crow

 Corvus corone cornix

  1

House Sparrow

 Passer domesticus

  +30

Cretzschmar’s Bunting

 Emberiza caesia

  2

29th August 2001

All day in Sede Boqer. One of us woke up at 6 o’clock and went walking to a group of eucalyptus trees that are beyond a water reservoir. It was plenty of birds, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Mourning Wheather, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Chukar Partridge and Red-backed Shrike. Then, he went to the pistachio orchards that are close to the pine forest, and he saw the first Palestine Sunbird of the trip: it was a male, incredible, it was in the top of a dry bush, hunting insects.
At 7, the rest woke up, and after having breakfast we went to Ein Avdat. We paid 14 sekkels, more or less 3.5 $, and we left the car in the parking place. Preparing the telescopes and the bags, in the parking place and surroundings we saw Olivaceous Warbler, Blackstart, Palestine Sunbird and Desert Lark. We started walking into the canyon, and quite close to the parking place we saw the first Nubian Ibex (Capra ibex) of the trip, they are easy to see as they do not care about humans. The place is really impressive, and quite soon you find a small river with vegetation. We saw typical river species like Moorhen, Common Kingfisher and Green Sandpiper. The walls of the canyon are quite high, and when we were walking, suddenly we heard a kind of Tawny Owl: it was Hume’s Owl, we heard it for more than one hour, and at least two of them, but it was impossible to find them, as probably they were roosting in a small hole in the wall, and from beneath it was impossible to find it, unfortunately, as we did not expect to see it but at least we heard it. Because in Israel you have to leave the National Parks one hour before sunset, it was impossible to come latter to try to see them.
In the canyon there were a lot of Rock Doves moving all the time, and a pair of Bonelli’s Eagle was all the time flying across the canyon, creating panic in the doves. We also saw Griffon and Egyptian Vultures. The rivers holds a rich vegetation and in some parts there are big trees, and during the walk we saw a Graceful Warbler, some Blackstarts and a possible Reed Warbler, as we could not see it very well.
It is possible to see Barbary Falcon in the canyon, but we were not lucky, and we did not see any falcon. Suddenly we heard quite a lot of voices, screaming and singing: a group of U.S. citizens was behind us, so we decided to walk more quickly.
We climbed up the canyon following the marked trail, and once on the top of the cliff, we stayed there enjoying the views and recovering of the short but steep walk, while we saw Desert and Mourning Wheatear, Desert Lark and Rock Martin. The U.S. citizens started to arrive, and also arrived one guard of the reserve that asked us how we where going to come back to the car. We told him that we where going to descend from where we came, and he explained us that that trail was only one way up!. We explained him that we did not know that, and after talking for a while, he offered to take us in his pick-up.
We went to eat at the Ben Gurion College, while eating we saw Palestine Sunbird, Masked Shrike, Laughing Dove and Yellow-vented Bulbul. While we were going to the car, we saw a big flock of White Stork, more than 4 thousand, but it is very difficult to say. Incredible.
We went to the Nahal Zin, and when we started to descend, we saw one male and two females-youngs of Sand Partridges close to the road. Once in the Nahal, we walked direction to Mount Akev, but we did not reach it, and we walked in the dry river where there is some vegetation. During the walk we saw Griffon Vulture, a group of twelve Chukar Partridge, Mourning Wheatear, Scrub Warbler and one Cuckoo. In a dry river with some vegetation, we saw four Green Bee-eater: they were resting in a bush, and some had a sand bath. We saw them really well, and some of them had their plumage in a really bad condition.
At sunset we went to the artificial pound that we went the day before, and we saw more or less as the day before, adding four Purple Herons.

Bird species seen during the day:

Cattle Egret

 Bubulcus ibis

  2

Purple Heron

 Ardea purpurea

  4

White Stork

 Ciconia ciconia

  +4000

Northern Shoveler

 Anas clypeata

  1

Garganey

 Anas querquedula

  9

Egyptian Vulture

 Neophron percnopterus

  5

Griffon Vulture

 Gyps fulvus

  +40

Bonelli’s Eagle

 Hieraaetus fasciatus

  2

Sand Partridge

 Ammoperdix heyi

  3

Chukar Partridge

 Alectoris chukar

  +35

Moorhen

 Gallinula chloropus

  5

Kentish Plover

 Charadrius alexandrinus

  1

Spur-winged Lapwing

 Hoplopterus spinosus

  +20

Little Stint

 Calidris minuta

  3

Ruff

 Philomachus pugnax

  1

Green Sandpiper

 Tringa ochropus

  2

Rock Dove

 Columba livia

  +150

Laughing Dove

 Streptopelia senegalensis

  +30

Collared Dove

 Streptopelia decaocto

  1

Cuckoo

 Cuculus canorus

  1

Hume’s Owl

 Strix butleri

  2-3

Common Kingfisher

 Alcedo atthis

  1

Green Bee-eater

 Merops orientalis

  4

Hoopoe

 Upupa epops

  1

Crested Lark

 Galerida cristata

  +15

Desert Lark

 Ammomanes deserti

  +5

Rock Martin

 Ptyonoprogne fuligula

  +20

Blackstart

 Cercomela melanura

  +15

Desert Wheatear

 Oenanthe deserti

  1

Mourning Wheatear

 Oenanthe lugens

  3-4

Graceful Warbler

 Prinia gracilis

  1

Scrub Warbler

 Scotocerca inquieta

  3-4

Reed Warbler

 Acrocephalus scirpaceus

  1

Olivaceous Warbler

 Hippolais pallida

  1

Icterine Warbler

 Hippolais icterina

  1

Willow Warbler

 Phylloscopus trochilus

  1

Lesser Whitethroat

 Sylvia curruca

  2

Blackcap

 Sylvia atricapilla

  5

Sardinian Warbler

 Sylvia melanocephala

  2

Palestine Sunbird

 Nectarinia osea

  3

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 Pycnonotus xanthopygos

  +30

Red-backed Shrike

 Lanius collurio

  3

Masked Shrike

 Lanius nubicus

  2

Hooded Crow

 Corvus corone cornix

  1

House Sparrow

 Passer domesticus

  +30

30th August 2001

In the morning we stayed in Sede Boqer. We slept again in the pine forest close to the road, and when we woke up we heard a group of Black-bellied Sandgrouse. We decided to try the Mount Akev. We descended to the Nahal Zin by car, and we left it and started to walk at 9:30. We walked for around an hour, not seeing much birds, noteworthy one oriental Black Kite that looked like a Red Kite, Desert Lark, Mourning Wheatear and four Brown-necked Raven. Arriving to the spring, there is some water with few vegetation, where we saw Scrub and Graceful Warbler. In the spring there was a group of U.S.citizens camping and swimming in the small pool surrounded by reeds, so there was not too much birds around, just some confident Yellow-vented Bulbul and Arabian Babbler. Returning to the car we saw Trumpeter Finch drinking. Books say that this area is good for falcons: Barbary, Lanner and Sooty, but we did not see any.
We ate something in the Ben Gurion College, and we saw the same species as the day before, adding Arabian Babbler. After, we went to Beer-Sheva to change some money, but Banks close at 13:00 on Tuesday, so we got some money with the Visa Card.
And we drove to Nizzana. Arriving there we saw a Hobby perched in electric cables, and while we where watching it, one friendly guy stopped his car and told us that was not a good idea to watch in that direction, as it was military area. He told us that he knew where the Houbara Bustard can be found, and he took us exactly where the books marks after the military camp airfield, as he explained us that lots of birdwatchers go there, and also he told us where we could go to sleep for free. So, it was 18:30 and we were in the correct place, we just needed some luck. Suddenly, one Houbara Bustard flew from east to west, so we saw it with the sunset behind in Egypt, a beautiful postcard!. Afterwards, a group of four Black-bellied Sandgrouse passed, and after four Spotted Sandgrouse passed above us, and we saw them really well. So, in five minutes we saw two of the target species of the trip.
Then we went to the Nahal Beerotayim, where we saw four Dorcas Gazelle (Gazella dorcas), two males and two females, and also some Brown-necked Raven.
We went to sleep where the guy told us, and the place is really good for camping. It is close to a tourist centre, Azzuz, where there are Camels, following the road that passes close to the military airport where we saw Houbara Bustard. There are huge eucalyptus trees, bathrooms and water. While we were camping the tent, one of us found a black scorpion in the sand.

Bird species seen during the day:

Black Kite

 Milvus migrans

  1

Honey-buzzard

 Pernis apivorus

  +30

Kestrel

 Falco tinnunculus

  1

Griffon Vulture

 Gyps fulvus

  +5

Egyptian Vulture

 Neophron percnopterus

  2

Hobby

 Falco subbuteo

  1

Chukar Partridge

 Alectoris chukar

  +20

Houbara Bustard

 Chlamydotis undulata

  1

Stone-curlew

 Burhinus oedicnemus

  1

Spotted Sandgrouse

 Pterocles senegallus

  15

Black-bellied Sandgrouse

 Pterocles orientalis

  4

Rock Dove

 Columba livia

  +30

Collared Dove

 Streptopelia decaocto

  2

Turtle Dove

 Streptopelia turtur

  2

Laughing Dove

 Streptopelia senegalensis

  +20

Green Bee-eater

 Merops orientalis

  1

Crested Lark

 Galerida cristata

  +10

Desert Lark

 Ammomanes deserti

  +6

Rock Martin

 Ptyonoprogne fuligula

  +5

Barn Swallow

 Hirundo rustica

  1

Blackstart

 Cercomela melanura

  +8

Mourning Wheatear

 Oenanthe lugens

  +10

Graceful Warbler

 Prinia gracilis

  2

Scrub Warbler

 Scotocerca inquieta

  4

Arabian Warbler

 Sylvia leucomelaena

  2

Palestine Sunbird

 Nectarinia osea

  1

Arabian Babbler

 Turdoides squamiceps

  6

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 Pycnonotus xanthopygos

  +15

Southern Grey Shrike

 Lanius meridionalis

  1

Masked Shrike

 Lanius nubicus

  2

Hooded Crow

 Corvus corone cornix

  2

Brown-necked Raven

 Corvus ruficollis

  +10

House Sparrow

 Passer domesticus

  +20

Trumpeter Finch

 Bucanetes githagineus

  1

31st August 2001

We woke up at 7:15, and while we had breakfast, we saw a Masked Shrike. We decided to go to the water points close to the military camps where sandgrouse can be found. We looked for the 4b of the “A guide to the birding…”, but we did not find the ponds. That walk was really frustrating, as we just saw an Isabelline Wheatear and a Short-toed Eagle: 8:30 in the morning, starting to be really hot and no birds. We went to the sewage pond 4a, that is in front of the gas station. There was some water and we saw : Common Kingfisher, Spur-winged Lapwing, one Trumpeter Finch, four Black-bellied Sandgrouse and some Spotted Sandgrouse. It was starting to be really hot, so we decided to go again to Beer-Sheva as we did not have money left, and we have few food left. Leaving Nizzana, we saw a Lanner Falcon perched on an electric cable quite close, some Brown-necked Raven and a Short-toed Eagle.
After having lunch and doing what we had to do, we returned to Nizzana. Arriving there we saw one Hobby and a group of European Bee-eater resting in an electric cable. It was 16:00, and we left the car close to the sewage pond in front of the gas station. While we were parking, one Houbara Bustard passed in front of us flying, and stopped 50 meters from us, quite close to the pond. We left the car, and after preparing the telescopes, we searched for it. We found it walking and eating. We were really excited as we found five: they were walking and stopping for eating, and we saw them really well for quite a long time, until they disappeared. After that, we just stayed around the sewage pond, waiting for sandgrouse, but any appear. We saw four Stone-curlew.
During the day we saw some Southern Grey Shrike of the subspecies auchery, completely different from the one at home, despite it is not a new species, for us it was one of the birds of the trip. We also saw Chukar and Sand Partridge around.
We drove to Mizpe Ramon, where we slept close to a sewage water, and while we parked the car we saw two Common Sandpiper.

Bird species seen during the day:
 

Little Egret

 Egretta garzetta

  1

Short-toed Eagle

 Circaetus gallicus

  2

Kestrel

 Falco tinnunculus

  2

Hobby

 Falco subbuteo

  2

Lanner Falcon

 Falco biarmicus

  1

Chukar Partridge

 Alectoris chukar

  +15

Sand Partridge

 Ammoperdix heyi

  +8

Houbara Bustard

 Chlamydotis undulata

  5

Stone-curlew

 Burhinus oedicnemus

  4

Spur-winged Lapwing

 Hoplopterus spinosus

  +10

Common Sandpiper

 Actitis hypoleucos

  2

Spotted Sandgrouse

 Pterocles senegallus

  +6

Black-bellied Sandgrouse

 Pterocles orientalis

  4

Rock Dove

 Columba livia

  +20

Turtle Dove

 Streptopelia turtur

  +4

Laughing Dove

 Streptopelia senegalensis

  +10

Common Kingfisher

 Alcedo atthis

  1

European Bee-eater

 Merops apiaster

  8

Hoopoe

 Upupa epops

  2

Crested Lark

 Galerida cristata

  +6

Yellow Wagtail

 Motacilla flava

  1

Isabelline Wheatear

 Oenanthe isabellina

  +5

Mourning Wheatear

 Oenanthe lugens

  +8

Black-eared Wheatear

 Oenanthe hispanica

  1

Desert Wheatear

 Oenanthe deserti

  2

Reed Warbler

 Acrocephalus scirpaceus

  1

Spotted Flycatcher

 Muscicapa striata

  1

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 Pycnonotus xanthopygos

  +10

Red-backed Shrike

 Lanius collurio

  2

Southern Grey Shrike

 Lanius meridionalis

  5

Masked Shrike

 Lanius nubicus

  1

Brown-necked Raven

 Corvus ruficollis

  +20

Trumpeter Finch

 Bucanetes githagineus

  1

1st September 2001

We woke up at 6.15 in the sewage pond where we slept. There was some water coming from a kind of pipe that created a big pool, with some grass around it, and some tamarisks nearby. There were lots of migrants and resident birds around the place. Plenty of Yellow Wagtails, mainly of the subspecies feldegg, some beema and a possible thunbergi. We saw different migrant warbler species like Lesser and Common Whitethroat, Orphean Warbler, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. We also saw a Wryneck, a Common Redstart, two Cretzschmar’s Buntings, and some resident species like Hoopoe, Chukar Partridge and Crested Lark. Also some migrating shorebirds: 18 Little Stint, one Great Ringed Plover and four Green Sandpiper, besides the resident Spur-winged Lapwing. But the great surprise of the day, and probably of the trip, was one Booted Warbler: we found it in a tamarisks quite far away from the water, and we saw it for a while, it moved to another tamarisks, so we could see it very well flying and staying in the tree. We are confident about the identification of the bird, knowing that is classified as a vagrant in the Shirihai’s book “The Birds of Israel”. At 9, after a stressful morning, we decided to go the Ramon crater. The crater is really impressive, huge, and from the information centre one can see it really well, but because of its bigness we did not know how to “attack” it, so we decided to take the road direction to Mount Harif. While we where watching the crater we saw two Griffon Vultures, and close to the information centre we saw the first White-crowned Black Wheatear of the trip, and also a pair of Desert Larks, some Mourning Wheatears and Rock Martins. We drove some kilometres, but we just saw some Mourning Wheatears and was starting to be very hot, so we decided to go to eat where we woke up and stay there the rest of the day. There were less migrant birds, but still the shorebirds, plenty of Yellow Wagtails, and a new species of the trip: Ortolan Bunting.
We met the owner of the grape orchards near the sewage pond, and he told us that sandgrouse mainly come to drink during the breeding season, and in september is very difficult to see them. During the day we saw again some Southern Grey Shrike of the subspecies auchery. At 7 we left the place and we went to sleep at Yotvata in an acacia forest.

Bird species seen during the day:

Grey Heron

 Ardea cinerea

  1

Griffon Vulture

 Gyps fulvus

  2

Chukar Partridge

 Alectoris chukar

  7

Great Ringed Plover

 Charadrius hiaticula

  1

Little Stint

 Calidris minuta

  18

Green Sandpiper

 Tringa ochropus

  4

Spur-winged Lapwing

 Hoplopterus spinosus

  +20

Spotted Sandgrouse

 Pterocles senegallus

  +5

Laughing Dove

 Streptopelia senegalensis

  1

European Bee-eater

 Merops apiaster

  1

Hoopoe

 Upupa epops

  +10

Wryneck

 Jynx torquilla

  1

Crested Lark

 Galerida cristata

  +8

Desert Lark

 Ammomanes deserti

  2

Rock Martin

 Ptyonoprogne fuligula

  +10

Barn Swallow

 Hirundo rustica

  +5

Yellow Wagtail

 Motacilla flava

  +100

Common Redstart

 Phoenicurus phoenicurus

  1

Whinchat

 Saxicola rubetra

  1

Isabelline Wheatear

 Oenanthe isabellina

  +6

Mourning Wheatear

 Oenanthe lugens

  +10

White-crowned Black Wheatear

 Oenanthe leucopyga

  1

Reed Warbler

 Acrocephalus scirpaceus

  1

Sedge Warbler

 Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

  1

Olivaceous Warbler

 Hippolais pallida

  1

Booted Warbler

 Hippolais caligata

  1

Garden Warbler

 Sylvia borin

  1

Common Whitethroat

 Sylvia communis

  1

Lesser Whitethroat

 Sylvia curruca

  3

Orphean Warbler

 Sylvia hortensis

  1

Blackcap

 Sylvia atricapilla

  +5

Chiffchaff

 Phylloscopus collybita

  2

Willow Warbler

 Phylloscopus trochilus

  +6

Spotted Flycatcher

 Muscicapa striata

  1

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 Pycnonotus xanthopygos

  +15

Red-backed Shrike

 Lanius collurio

  1

Southern Grey Shrike

 Lanius meridionalis

  2

Masked Shrike

 Lanius nubicus

  3

Woodchat Shrike

 Lanius senator

  1

Brown-necked Raven

 Corvus ruficollis

  4

House Sparrow

 Passer domesticus

  +30

Cretzschmar’s Bunting

 Emberiza caesia

  2

Ortolan Bunting

 Emberiza hortulana

  1

2nd September 2001

We woke up at 6:30, and it was starting to be hot. The first birds of the day were some Palestine Sunbirds, heard and seen in an acacia tree close to the tend. We made a small walk in the acacia trees area and we saw two Arabian Warblers and one Orphean Warbler almost together, a Hobby, four Stone-curlews, few Willow Warblers, and a few Green Bee-eaters. After we went to a palm plantation, where we did not see many birds, just some Green Bee-eaters. We moved to 1a and 1b of the “A guide to the birding…”, where we expected to see some migrant passerines, but we did not see any interesting species, probably because it was starting to be very hot. We decided to go to the gas station close to Yotvata, where there is a picnic area with some palms trees and shadow. We ate there, watching at the Tristram’s Starling eating dates. At the entrance of the restaurant, in the roof a pair of Rock Martins was building their nest, and we could see really well how they did it. Unfortunately, some days latter, when we were going north and stopped in that place, the nest had been destroyed.
When the sun started to go down, we went to the site 1c. We left the car close to a palm plantation, and we walked for a while around it, and then we went to a sandy area really spectacular, direction to the Jordan border. When we almost reached it, a Blandford’s Fox (Vulpes cana) ran in front of us direction Jordan, and rested in a shadow of a small bush. We did not see many birds during that walk, but seeing a Blandford’s Fox was an exciting experience. After that we walked to the sewage pools, site 1d, where there were four Garganey, four Little Stint, two Common Sandpiper and a Green Sandpiper, and two Kingfishers. When we were returning to the car, still in the palm plantation close to the pools, Oirol saw a pair of Namaqua Doves that flew in front of him and flew away. We searched around the palm plantation, but any of us saw them again.
We went to Eilat, and after swimming in the Red Sea and having a shower, we went to eat something and we went to sleep in the road that goes to Mount Shahmon.

Bird species seen during the day:

Garganey

 Anas querquedula

  4

Short-toed Eagle

 Circaetus gallicus

  1

Hobby

 Falco subbuteo

  1

Stone-curlew

 Burhinus oedicnemus

  9

Spur-winged Lapwing

 Hoplopterus spinosus

  +10

Little Stint

 Calidris minuta

  4

Wood Sandpiper

 Tringa glareola

  1

Common Sandpiper

 Actitis hypoleucos

  2

Rock Dove

 Columba livia

  +20

Laughing Dove

 Streptopelia senegalensis

  +40

Collared Dove

 Streptopelia decaocto

  +25

Namaqua Dove

 Oena capensis

  2

Common Kingfisher

 Alcedo atthis

  2

Green Bee-eater

 Merops orientalis

  +15

Hoopoe

 Upupa epops

  +5

Crested Lark

 Galerida cristata

  +15

Rock Martin

 Ptyonoprogne fuligula

  +10

Barn Swallow

 Hirundo rustica

  +8

Yellow Wagtail

 Motacilla flava

  +15

Blackstart

 Cercomela melanura

  +5

Isabelline Wheatear

 Oenanthe isabellina

  +6

Mourning Wheatear

 Oenanthe lugens

  2

Reed Warbler

 Acrocephalus scirpaceus

  1

Graceful Warbler

 Prinia gracilis

  +5

Olivaceous Warbler

 Hippolais pallida

  1

Arabian Warbler

 Sylvia leucomelaena

  2

Orphean Warbler

 Sylvia hortensis

  1

Common Whitethroat

 Sylvia communis

  1

Blackcap

 Sylvia atricapilla

  +5

Willow Warbler

 Phylloscopus trochilus

  3

Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin

 Cercotrichas galactotes

  2

Spotted Flycatcher

 Muscicapa striata

  1

Palestine Sunbird

 Nectarinia osea

  +4

Masked Shrike

 Lanius nubicus

  2

Red-backed Shrike

 Lanius collurio

  4

Southern Grey Shrike

 Lanius meridionalis

  1

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 Pycnonotus xanthopygos

  +30

Tristram’s Starling

 Onychognathus tristrammi

  +30

House Sparrow

 Passer domesticus

  +30

3rd September 2001

We slept close to the road, and at 7 we woke up: it was really hot. One of us woke up before and did a small walk along the road, but he only saw a Palestine Sunbird and some Tristram’s Starlings. We went to the drinking site close to the gas station, but we did not find it, and we took a road that goes right, coming from the city, and we drove for a while. We stopped in a small gorge and we saw 4 Sand Partridges, the males were shouting quite loudly, and we also saw one Blandford’s Fox. Going down to town, we passed the area where there are some acacia trees, and in each tree there were some birds, seeing Red-backed Shrike, Palestine Sunbird, Graceful Warbler, Orphean Warbler and Olivaceous Warbler.
Then we went to the Hotel area and we drove to the Saltpans. In the saltpans close to town we saw a Little Egret, four Grey Herons, a White Stork and some Caspian Terns. We continued in that road, and after passing the salt factory, we watched at the saltpans close to the Eilat Bird Sanctuary. There were some shorebirds: Great Ringed Plover, Common Redshank, Greenshank, Little Stint and Snipe. Then we went to the saltpans, but on the side of the palm plantations, where we saw a Pied Kingfisher. We walked around the palm plantation and then we moved to the fields close to it, trying to find Namaqua Dove unsuccessfully, but we saw a Booted Eagle and a Lesser Grey Shrike. We went to the ringing station, but nobody was there, it was closed and the ringing nets were closed, so we birdwatched in the saltpans that the International Birding & Research Center have created. We saw a Western Reef Egret white morph, two Squacco Herons, two Pied Kingfishers that we saw them well fishing and resting, and some shorebirds, adding Black-winged Stilt to the ones we had seen before.
We went to the visitor center located close to a gas station, and we talked for a while with a friendly woman that worked there. We asked her about where to find some species, but she did not know much about birds. She explained us that it was too early for the migration, and that the ringing station starts at 7 and usually closes at 8 or 9, as it is too hot and there are few birds. We wanted to buy a bird T-shirt, as some of them were really nice and well done, but they just had small size. Then we moved to the seapoint, but there was too much mist. We decided to go the the beach and rest for a while. After having lunch, we went to the camping site, we camped, and we went again to the beach. Our first day in Eilat finished without any new species for our lists, so we were quite frustrated because we had heard a lot about birding in Eilat, and it had not been a very successfull day. We went out at night and we went to sleep at 3.

Bird species seen during the day:
 

Squacco Heron

 Ardeola ralloides

  2

Little Egret

 Egretta garzetta

  1

Western Reef Egret

 Egretta gularis

  1

White Stork

 Ciconia ciconia

  1

Grey Heron

 Ardea cinerea

  +15

Marsh Harrier

 Circus aeruginosus

  1

Booted Eagle

 Hieraaetus pennatus

  1

Sand Partridge

 Ammoperdix heyi

  5

Black-winged Stilt

 Himantopus himantopus

  3

Great Ringed Plover

 Charadrius hiaticula

  +10

Spur-winged Lapwing

 Hoplopterus spinosus

  +15

Little Stint

 Calidris minuta

  +8

Common Redshank

 Tringa totanus

  +20

Greenshank

 Tringa nebularia

  +4

Snipe

 Gallinago gallinago

  1

Yellow-legged Gull

 Larus cachinnans

  1

Caspian Tern

 Sterna caspia

  7

Rock Dove

 Columba livia

  +30

Collared Dove

 Streptopelia decaocto

  +20

Laughing Dove

 Streptopelia senegalensis

  +50

Pied Kingfisher

 Ceryle rudis

  3

European Bee-eater

 Merops apiaster

  5

Green Bee-eater

 Merops orientalis

  +15

Hoopoe

 Upupa epops

  1

Wryneck

 Jynx torquilla

  1

Crested Lark

 Galerida cristata

  +5

Desert Lark

 Ammomanes deserti

  1

Rock Martin

 Ptyonoprogne fuligula

  +15

Barn Swallow

 Hirundo rustica

  4

Yellow Wagtail

 Motacilla flava

  +10

Blackstart

 Cercomela melanura

  2

Isabelline Wheatear

 Oenanthe isabellina

  +5

Graceful Warbler

 Prinia gracilis

  +10

Olivaceous Warbler

 Hippolais pallida

  2

Orphean Warbler

 Sylvia hortensis

  2

Palestine Sunbird

 Nectarinia osea

  +5

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 Pycnonotus xanthopygos

  +30

Red-backed Shrike

 Lanius collurio

  +15

Masked Shrike

 Lanius nubicus

  +5

Lesser Grey Shrike

 Lanius minor

  1

Tristram´s Starling

 Onychognathus tristrammi

  15

House Sparrow

 Passer domesticus

  +50

4th September 2001

We woke up at 9:30: it was very hot in the tend, and fortunately we were in a tree shadow. After a refreshing shower and while we were having breakfast, a small snake passed in front of us: small, pink with some black spots in the sides of the body, big head and lenght around 50 centimeters. We went to the beach, to just relax in the shadow of a sunshade and refresh in the Red Sea. After having lunch, we went to the palm plantation and the southern fields, with the target Namaqua Dove. When we were leaving the hotel area, a strange “crow” flew in front of the car and it perched in a street lamp: it was a House Crow, and we saw some of them around. After seeing this new species, we decided to change our plans and go the the North Beach. We left the car close to the drainage canal, and we started birdwatching. There is like a gangway that at the end has a small house where fishermans do they works, and that sea area is plenty of floats with gulls and terns on them. There were lots of gulls, and some of them were White-eyed Gull and they were quite close to the shore, so we saw them really well, juveniles and adults. We were quite happy about this new species that we expected to see in Eilat. More far away of the fisher-house, there were a lot of seabirds, some quite big, and the first impression that we got was that they were juvenile Gannets, but after watching them for a while, we started to think that they were Sooty Shearwater. We saw them quite well, and suddenly a pale adult Pomarine Skua appeared, after, 2 more pale adult appeared and one dark. We were really excited as any of us had seen this species before, and we did not expected it. The vision of Pomarine Skua created us some confussion, as suddenly we could not see the Sooty Shearwater, and we started to think that perhaps they were young dark Pomarine Skua and not Sooty Shearwater. After consulting the different guides that we had, we concluded different things: two of us did not see clear the Sooty Shearwater and were not sure about having seen it, and the other concluded that they were Sooty Shearwater. We could see the Pomarine Skua for a while, and we also watched some young sterns, but we concluded that they were Common Tern and not White-cheeked. We also saw a Pied Kingfisher flying over the sea.
Well, after this exciting time in the sea, we decided to buy food and water, and after we went to the drinking site for Sandgrouse close to the pumping station. Going there we saw a Lesser Grey Shrike on an acacia tree, but we could not find the water point.
It had been an amazing day, with a lot of interesting species, although it was one of the days that we saw less species, just 17, and we started birdwatching after lunch.

Bird species seen during the day:
 

Sooty Shearwater

 Puffinus griseus

  +5

Pomarine Skua

 Stercorarius pomarinus

  4

White-eyed Gull

 Larus leucophthalmus

  +20

Lesser Black-backed Gull

 Larus fuscus

  2

Yellow-legged Gull

 Larus cachinnans

  5

Sandwich Tern

 Sterna sandvicensis

  1

Common Tern

 Sterna hirundo

  4

Caspian Tern

 Sterna caspia

  3

Rock Dove

 Columba livia

  +30

Collared Dove

 Streptopelia decaocto

  +10

Laughing Dove

 Streptopelia senegalensis

  +10

Pied Kingfisher

 Ceryle rudis

  1

Lesser Grey Shrike

 Lanius minor

  1

Sand Martin

 Riparia riparia

  1

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 Pycnonotus xanthopygos

  +15

House Crow

 Corvus splendes

  +15

House Sparrow

 Passer domesticus

  +20

5th September 2001

We woke up at 6:30, and went to the ringing station. There were two ringers there, and they had already caught two House Sparrow, one Olivaceous Warbler and one Reed Warbler. We tried to ask them some questions about where to find some species, but they did not seem to want to help us much, so we left the place after watching for a while the ponds. In the ringing station and the surrounding areas we saw some Graceful Warblers, some Red-backed Shrikes, some Lesser Grey Shrikes and a young Masked Shrike. Passing the palm plantation, we saw very well a Namaqua Dove, probably a young male moulting, and all of us saw it, and also a Lesser Kestrel anda Green Bee-eater.
We decided to go to En Netafim, with one target: Hooded Wheatear. We arrived there at 9 and it was starting to be hot. We left the car in the parking place close to the road, and we walked until we reached the gorge where there is the spring. In the plateau above the gorge, there are some acacia trees where some Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis) were feeding actively, and others were in the rocks just taking sun, amazing mammal. In the plateau there were also Nubian Ibex (Capra ibex nubiana) feeding. In the spring we just saw a White-crowned Black Wheatear, and one Blackstart was moving around in the acacia trees. We walked around the gorge but we saw nothing, so we decided to walk around, and we walked bordering the plateau, until we reached a dry river. We descended to it, and after walking 10-20 meters, one of us saw that there was a barbed wire with a sign at the beggining of the dry river. He went to read it: “DANGER MINES”. The sign was written only in one side, and was the only sign that we saw in all the area. Fortunately, one of us saw the sign, otherwise who knows what could had happen. We think that if you go there, is a good idea to do not leave the paths. It was 11 and we decided to go to the beach. During the walk around the plateau we saw some migrants: Honey Buzzard, Golden Oriole, Willow Warbler and some resident species: Rock Martin, Desert Lark, Blackstart and a couple Brown-necked Raven. When we came back to the gorge, we did not see Rock Hyrax or Nubian Ibex, probably when it starts to be quite hot, they just hide somewhere.
At 17:30 we went to the North Beach, at the same place as the day before. The air was really dry and hot, but we expected to have a similar day as the day before. One of the first species that we saw was a dark Pomarine Skua, and also lots of White-eyed Gull, House Crows, one Sandwich Tern, and we watched to the young terns, looking for White-cheeked, but all the identified were Common. There was a birdwatcher in the shore closer to the Jordan border, and one of us went to talk with him. He was very friendly, and we talked with him about species that we expected to see in Israel. He told us that Hooded Wheatear was easy to see in the Eilat mountains, and that Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse was at this time of the year difficult in Eilat, and easier in Lotan. We explained him that we had already seen a Pomarine Skua, he was quite surprised, and we asked for the White-cheeked Tern, and he said that he had already seen two of them. Again in the shore, suddenly a group of terns came from the sea, and one was clearly an adult White-cheeked Tern, and after watching them we found another adult and probably a young one. During the afternoon we also saw a pair of Slender-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Caspian Tern and one Pied Kingfisher.

Bird species seen during the day:

Squacco Heron

 Ardeola ralloides

  2

Little Egret

 Egretta garzetta

  4

Grey Heron

 Ardea cinerea

  4

Honey-buzzard

 Pernis apivorus

  +10

Lesser Kestrel

 Falco naumanni

  1

Black-winged Stilt

 Himantopus himantopus

  3

Spur-winged Lapwing

 Hoplopterus spinosus

  +10

Ruff

 Philomachus pugnax

  2

Common Sandpiper

 Actitis hypoleucos

  1

Common Redshank

 Tringa totanus

  1

Pomarine Skua

 Stercorarius pomarinus

  2

Slender-billed Gull

 Larus genei

  2

Lesser Black-backed Gull

 Larus fuscus

  2

White-eyed Gull

 Larus leucophthalmus

  +30

Sandwich Tern

 Sterna sandvicensis

  1

Common Tern

 Sterna hirundo

  +5

White-cheeked Tern

 Sterna repressa

  3

Caspian Tern

 Sterna caspia

  8

Rock Dove

 Columba livia

  +30

Laughing Dove

 Streptopelia senegalensis

  +20

Turtle Dove

 Streptopelia turtur

  2

Namaqua Dove

 Oena capensis

  1

Pied Kingfisher

 Ceryle rudis

  1

European Bee-eater

 Merops apiaster

  1

Green Bee-eater

 Merops orientalis

  1

Hoopoe

 Upupa epops

  1

Desert Lark

 Ammomanes deserti

  1

Rock Martin

 Ptyonoprogne fuligula

  2

Sand Martin

 Riparia riparia

  1

Yellow Wagtail

 Motacilla flava

  1

Blackstart

 Cercomela melanura

  2

White-crowned Black Wheatear

 Oenanthe leucopyga

  1

Graceful Warbler

 Prinia gracilis

  +5

Olivaceous Warbler

 Hippolais pallida

  1

Reed Warbler

 Acrocephalus scirpaceus

  1

Willow Warbler

 Phylloscopus trochilus

  1

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 Pycnonotus xanthopygos

  +20

Red-backed Shrike

 Lanius collurio

  +5

Lesser Grey Shrike

 Lanius minor

  3

Masked Shrike

 Lanius nubicus

  1

Golden Oriole

 Oriolus oriolus

  1

House Crow

 Corvus splendes

  +30

Brown-necked Raven

 Corvus ruficollis

  2

House Sparrow

 Passer domesticus

  +20

6th September 2001

At 8 o’clock we were in En Netafim. In the plateau where there are some acacia trees, we saw a male Sand Partridge climbing on the rocks, making big jumps and calling louldly, and two more Sand Partridge appeared. Close to the spring there was a White-crowned Black Wheatear, that came to see what was going on in the plateau. We were surprised about how curious this species is. We also saw a male Desert Wheatear and a Blackstart. We bordered the deep gorge by the side of the plateau. The path had a steep slope, and we walked something around half kilometer close to the gorge. There were no birds around, and during that walk we just saw some Blackstart, some Honey Buzzard, a Sand Partridge, a Scrub Warbler, a Willow Warbler, an Arabian Warbler and two Brown-necked Raven hiding in a hole of a rock. We decided to go back to the car, and go back to Eilat. Noteworthy, the Rock Hyrax appeared at 9 o’clock, when it was starting to be hot, and we did not see any Nubian Ibex. So, we left the place without seeing the Hooded Wheatear, but we decided to go around the Eilat mountains, as the birdwatcher that we talked the day before told us that this species is quite common there. We took different paths that reached the main road, but we “just” saw a White-crowned Black Wheatear. In one of those paths, we got to a dry river with some acacia trees, where we saw two Green Bee-eater and some Rock Martin.
Quite frustrated because we did not see the Hooded Wheatear, we decided to go to the saltpans close to the Salt Factory, where we saw Spur-winged Lapwing , two Greenshank, some Common Redshank, two Great Ringed Plover , one Common Sandpiper, around ten Little Stint, lots of Grey Heron and some Caspian Tern.
We went to the camping site, and after a shower and resting for a while in the tend, we packed everything. We had lunch in Eilat and we drove to Kibbutz Lotan. At Lotan we talked with one man that we met in the information center, and he explained us that he was not a birdwatcher, but he would try to help us. He was very friendly, he gave us one map of the Hula Valley, and we talked about birdwatching and ringing in Barcelona. We went to the garden that they have created, where there is a waterpoint to try to see Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse, but we just saw some Spur-winged Lapwing and an Isabelline Wheatear, but very well seen one Blandford’s Fox. We slept close to the Date Plantations, exaxctly at the 3a of the “A guide to the birding…”.

Bird species seen during the day:
 

Grey Heron

 Ardea cinerea

  +45

Little Egret

 Egretta garzetta

  2

Marsh Harrier

 Circus aeruginosus

  1

Honey Buzzard

 Pernis apivorus

  +15

Sand Partridge

 Ammoperdix heyi

  4

Great Ringed Plover

 Charadrius hiaticula

  2

Spur-winged Lapwing

 Hoplopterus spinosus

  +20

Little Stint

 Calidris minuta

  +10

Common Redshank

 Tringa totanus

  +15

Greenshank

 Tringa nebularia

  2

Common Sandpiper

 Actitis hypoleucos

  1

Caspian Tern

 Sterna caspia

  8

Rock Dove

 Columba livia

  +30

Laughing Dove

 Streptopelia senegalensis

  +30

Collared Dove

 Streptopelia decaocto

  +10

European Bee-eater

 Merops apiaster

  1

Green Bee-eater

 Merops orientalis

  2

Desert Lark

 Ammomanes deserti

  1

Rock Martin

 Ptyonoprogne fuligula

  2

Yellow Wagtail

 Motacilla flava

  1

Desert Wheatear

 Oenanthe deserti

  1

White-crowned Black Wheatear

 Oenanthe leucopyga

  2

Blackstart

 Cercomela melanura

  2

Isabelline Wheatear

 Oenanthe isabellina

  1

Scrub Warbler

 Scotocerca inquieta

  1

Willow Warbler

 Phylloscopus trochilus

  1

Arabian Warbler

 Sylvia leucomelaena

  1

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 Pycnonotus xanthopygos

  +15

Masked Shrike

 Lanius nubicus

  1

Brown-necked Raven

 Corvus ruficollis

  3

House Sparrow

 Passer domesticus

  +30

7th September 2001

One of us woke up before the others, and walked bordering the palm plantations and the fields close to them. He saw a pair of Blackcap, some Lesser Whitethroats, two Brown-necked Ravens and the first House Bunting, and last of the trip, that passed flying in front of us and stopped in the palm plantation, we were quite surprised about how different it was compared with the subspecies that we saw in Morocco.
At 8 o ‘clock we were at Quetura Mountains where Hooded Wheatear breeds. We drove direction Mount Eyit, and we walked in an area that had few vegetation and from there we had a good view af all the road that we came from. During the walk we just saw two White-crowned Black Wheatears and some Sand Partridges, but no Hooded Wheatears around.
We decided to go to the waterpoints that are close to the Kibbutz Lotan, thinking that perhaps there because of the water we could see more birds. We saw several species: one Black Kite, some Spur-winged Lapwing, some Green Bee-eater, a pair of Graceful Warbler, one Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin, one Willow Warbler, two Desert Larks and some Crested Larks, and the first Red-rumped Swallow of the trip.
At 11 we decided to go to the Dead Sea. During the trip to the Dead Sea we saw some Honey Buzzards migrating. We swam in the Dead Sea, really an incredible experience. While we were swimming, we saw some strange “ravens” in the palms situated in the picnic area where tickets are sold. We watched them with the binoculars and we realised that they were Fan-tailed Raven, really a curious bird, almost “ecaudatus”. We saw them really well in the palm trees after the bath, how the primaries feathers are longer than tail feathers. So, we saw easily one species that we thought that could be quite difficult to see. In the palm trees of the picnic area there were also some Tristram´s Starlings feeding around.
At 4 P.M. we went to have lunch, and after we decided to go to Metsukei Dragot, where Hooded Wheatear can be seen. We got there at 5, and when we arrived at the mountain there was a big flock of White Stork, around 2.000 birds. The Canyon is really impressive and deep, and we did a smalll walk around bordering the cliff, and we saw a young Montagu´s Harrier, a White-crowned Black Wheatear and we heard some Tristram´s Starlings that were moving somewhere below us, and we could just see them for a moment. We did not see many birds there but the place is really recommendable.

Bird species seen during the day:

White Stork

 Ciconia ciconia

  +2000

Black Kite

 Milvus migrans

  1

Marsh Harrier

 Circus aeruginosus

  1

Montagu´s Harrier

 Circus pygargus

  1

Honey Buzzard

 Pernis apivorus

  +10

Kestrel

 Falco tinnunculus

  1

Sand Partridge

 Ammoperdix heyi

  +12

Spur-winged Lapwing

 Hoplopterus spinosus

  +5

Rock Dove

 Columba livia

  +10

Laughing Dove

 Streptopelia senegalensis

  +20

Collared Dove

 Streptopelia decaocto

  +10

Green Bee-eater

 Merops orientalis

  +6

Crested Lark

 Galerida cristata

  4

Desert Lark

 Ammomanes deserti

  2

Sand Martin

 Riparia riparia

  5

Barn Swallow

 Hirundo rustica

  3

Red-rumped Swallow

 Hirundo daurica

  1

Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin

 Cercotrichas galactotes

  1

Blackstart

 Cercomela melanura

  +5

White-crowned Black Wheatear

 Oenanthe leucopyga

  3

Graceful Warbler

 Prinia gracilis

  2

Lesser Whitethroat

 Sylvia curruca

  4

Blackcap

 Sylvia atricapilla

  2

Willow Warbler

 Phylloscopus trochilus

  1

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 Pycnonotus xanthopygos

  +20

Red-backed Shrike

 Lanius collurio

  1

Tristram´s Starling

 Onychognathus tristrammi

  +20

Brown-necked Raven

 Corvus ruficollis

  4

Fan-tailed Raven

 Corvus rhipidurus

  +20

House Sparrow

 Passer domesticus

  +30

House Bunting

 Emberiza striolata

  1

8th September 2001

We slept in En Gedi, at the picnic area close to the swimming place at the Dead Sea. At night some palestinians camped there also, and they cooked meat with vegetables leaving the rests there. When we woke up at 7:30, lots of Fan-tailed Raven where feeding there, with 3 Egyptian Vultures, that surprised us because at home this species is very shy and there it was feeding in an human area with people around. There were also Laughing Doves and Tristram´s Starlings. We decided to go again to Metsukei Dragot. When we got there and we started to ascend we saw a big falcon attacking a Brown-necked Raven in the top off the cliffs. We saw them just a moment and we could not identify it, but we think that the falcon could probably be a Barbary Falcon. We stopped and waited for a while to see if it appeared again, but it did not. We took the car and we continued in the road that goes to Metsukei Dragot. We stopped in some places and we saw Scrub Warbler, White-crowned Black Wheatear and Blackstart. In the top of the cliff there was a small kibbutz where there was a bar and we bought a bottle of water. We went to the cliff and we had a really nice view of the Dead Sea, and we where looking for the falcon that we saw before, but we did not see it again, and we saw some Alpine Swifts. When we came back to the car we realised that the water bottle that we had already bought and left at the bottom of the car had dissapeared, so someone of the kibbutz had stolen it. We went to the bar and asked them if they had seen someone around the car that was parked in front of the bar door, but they said that they knew nothing. Well, we decided to buy another bottle, knowing that one of them had already stolen ours!!!. We had to say that this is the only place in Israel that we had this kind of problem, so we recommend that if you go to that kibbutz, beware with your things!.
In the Kibbutz there were some trees where we saw lots of Tristram´s Starlings, two Red-backed Shrikes and a Whinchat.
We took the road and drove more far away than the day before. We saw two Mourning Wheatears and a White-crowned Black Wheatear. We took a path that descended into the canyon, so after walking for a while we were quite low. The place is really impressive, very dry with few vegetation and very slope. We sat down in the rocks and we started to look for Wheatears, but we just saw some Rock Doves, some Desert Larks and some Blackstarts. We expected more species from that place, but perhaps it was too hot when we got there. When we got to the car we were really sweaty and tired because of the high temperatures.
Another “curious” thing that happen in that place was that when we got into the Park, after driving for a while a police van came to us and asked what we were doing. After explaining them that we are birdwatchers, they remembered us that we had to leave the place one hour before sunset and then they drove back. When we came back, when we were passing the Kibbutz we stopped at the bar to buy water and they were parked in front of the bar, and when we left the place they followed us and drove down to the big road with us, and once there we lost them.
We went to have lunch, and after having a coffee we decided to drive north to the Hula Valley, as we had been almost two weeks in a very dry place and very hot and we wanted to see some green around and to be in a more fresh place. Also, the species from the dry area of Israel that we still have not seen where really difficult to find, at least for us, and in the north there were a lot of new species waiting for us. We slept at Hulata in an eucalyptus forest, where we heard a Barn Owl. During the trip we saw some Cattle Egrets, a Hobby, some Jackdaws and some Hooded Crows.

Bird species seen during the day:

Cattle Egret

 Bubulcus ibis

  +10

Egyptian Vulture

 Neophron percnopterus

  3

Short-toed Eagle

 Circaetus gallicus

  1

Hobby

 Falco subbuteo

  1

Sand Partridge

 Ammoperdix heyi

  1

Rock Dove

 Columba livia

  +15

Laughing Dove

 Streptopelia senegalensis

  +20

Turtle Dove

 Streptopelia turtur

  1

Collared Dove

 Streptopelia decaocto

  +5

Barn Owl

 Tyto alba

  1

Alpine Swift

 Apus melba

  6

Crested Lark

 Galerida cristata

  2

Desert Lark

 Ammomanes deserti

  +8

Rock Martin

 Ptyonoprogne fuligula

  +6

Barn Swallow

 Hirundo rustica

  +10

Blackstart

 Cercomela melanura

  +8

Mourning Wheatear

 Oenanthe lugens

  2

White-crowned Black Wheatear

 Oenanthe leucopyga

  4

Scrub Warbler

 Scotocerca inquieta

  2

Whinchat

 Saxicola rubetra

  1

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 Pycnonotus xanthopygos

  +15

Red-backed Shrike

 Lanius collurio

  2

Tristram´s Starling

 Onychognathus tristrammi

  +50

Brown-necked Raven

 Corvus ruficollis

  6

Fan-tailed Raven

 Corvus rhipidurus

  +60

Hooded Crow

 Corvus corone cornix

  +8

Jackdaw

 Corvus monedula

  +30

House Sparrow

 Passer domesticus

  +25

9th September 2001

At 7:15 the loud shouts of Rose-ringed Parakeet woke us up. There were around 15 birds in the eucalyptus trees. The forest was plenty of birds, and close to the forest there are some fruit orchards. In the area we saw one Syrian Woodpecker quite well seen, one Wood Warbler, some Blackbirds, an Olivaceous Warbler and an Icterine Warbler, a Golden Oriole, some Sand Martin flying above the fruit orchards with some Barn Swallows and the first House Martins of the trip. Noteworthy, we saw some Palestine Sunbirds. We drove north and during the trip we saw several groups of Honey Buzzards, and we watched each group looking for Levant Sparrowhawk (Accipiter brevipes), but we were not lucky. We searched for Levant Sparrowhawk watching above the mountains, but we did not find any.
We arrived at the Kfar Blum fishponds, and we parked the car in the entrance. We talked with one man that was working there, and we asked him about pelicans, but he said that it was “too early”. We asked him if we could go in and he allowed us. The fishponds are quite big, and there are some big pools. We saw the three Kingfishers of the Western Palearctic: Common Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher and White-throated Kingfisher. And we saw one species that was quite complicated to identify: Armenian Gull. There were some gulls in a pool, and some of them really looked like Armenian. These Yellow-legged Gulls where the first ones that we saw properly, and where of the subspecies cachinnans, quite different from the michahellis that we see at home. It took some time to be completely sure that those gulls were Armenian Gull, as the Yellow-legged Gulls show great variety of bill and head shape, but they were on the shore resting or walking and after consulting the guidebooks we were sure about the identification. In the fishponds we saw lots of interesting species, like Squacco Herons, Purple Heron, one Ruddy Shelduck, one Black Kite, one Osprey, one Long-legged Buzzard and three Short-toed Eagles. Here we also saw a very interesting mammal species: a Mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon) passed walking in the side of the pools close to road, where there were some trees, and after walking some meters, it stopped and drunk water for a while, and then it dissapeared between the trees.
After all these exciting sightings, we went to Dan where there is an information centre. There we talked with a friendly man than told us that it was “too early” for pelicans, and that a group had been seen but he did not know where. He pointed in our map where Black Francolin (Francolinus francolinus) can be seen and we left the place.
After having lunch, we went to Gonen, the place that the man of the information centre told us. Going there we saw a Turtle in a small pool where there were two Black-necked Grebes and a Common Kingfisher. In Gonen there are two pools with some reeds around them and trees, and there we saw lots of heron species: a Great White Egret, two Black Stork: an adult and an inmature, Spoonbills, Glossy Ibis, Night Herons, Cattle Egrets, Little Egrets, White Storks. We also saw different shorebirds species: Great Ringed Plover, Curlew Sandpipers, Little Stints, Black-tailed Godwits, Ruffs, Wood Sandpipers, Greenshanks and Snipes. We also saw several duck species: Mallards, Gadwalls, Common Teals, Northern Shovelers and Garganeys. There we also saw two Coypu (Myocastor coypus), swimming in the water, resting in the shore and cleaning themselves. While we were birdwatching there two Black Storks arrived flying and stopped with the other two, and a Marsh Harrier was flying above the reeds. We went to a path that follows a conduit that is parallel to the road to Gonen and we thought that it would take us to the Hula Nature Reserve. Going there we saw four Red-rumped Swallow flying together towards south. Once in the path, we started going south and we got to an agricultural area with alfalfa and cornfields, and also some melon fields. The place seemed very good for larks and pipits, but we just saw some Crested Larks. In a melon fields we had a big fright when one of us saw a kind of quail, because for a momment we thought that it could be a Black Francolin female, but unfortunately it was a Quail. We were birdwatching around the fields area until sunset, and we observed a Black Kite, a flock of Glossy Ibis flying above us, White-throated Kingfisher, some Ortolan Buntings and some Corn Buntings. Noteworhty, that day we saw 5 Shrikes species: Red-backed, Woodchat, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked and Southern Grey Shrike, the latter being of the subspecies teresae, that looked quite different from the auchery that we saw in the south. Another interesting thing was the song of Cetti´s Warbler, that was quite different from the ones at home, as it has the same number of notes, but the ones in Israel do not make the same long pauses as the ones at home. During the day we saw two Jackals (Canis aureus) knocked down by cars, and also a Mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon).
We went to sleep at the eucalyptus forest that we went the night before, where again we heard a Barn Owl. When we were in the sleeping bags, we realised that some explosions could be heard, probably in the Golan Heights.

Bird species seen during the day:

Little Grebe

 Tachybaptus ruficollis

  +20

Black-necked Grebe

 Podiceps nigricollis

  2

Night Heron

 Nycticorax nycticorax

  +50

Cattle Egret

 Bubulcus ibis

  +70

Little Egret

 Egretta garzetta

  +40

Great White Egret

 Egretta alba

  1

Squacco Heron

 Ardeola ralloides

  5

Grey Heron

 Ardea cinerea

  +40

Purple Heron

 Ardea purpurea

  1

Black Stork

 Ciconia nigra

  4

White Stork

 Ciconia ciconia

  +125

Spoonbill

 Platalea leucorodia

  +15

Glossy Ibis

 Plegadis falcinellus

  +40

Ruddy Shelduck

 Tadorna ferruginea

  1

Mallard

 Anas platyrhynchos

  +10

Gadwall

 Anas strepera

  3

Common Teal

 Anas crecca

  +8

Northern Shoveler

 Anas clypeata

  +10

Garganey

 Anas querquedula

  +8

Black Kite

 Milvus migrans

  2

Marsh Harrier

 Circus aeruginosus

  2

Honey Buzzard

 Pernis apivorus

  +150

Long-legged Buzzard

 Buteo rufinus

  1

Osprey

 Pandion haliaetus

  1

Short-toed Eagle

 Circaetus gallicus

  3

Kestrel

 Falco tinnunculus

  +15

Quail

 Coturnix coturnix

  2

Moorhen

 Gallinula chloropus

  +10

Black-winged Stilt

 Himantopus himantopus

  +20

Great Ringed Plover

 Charadrius hiaticula

  2

Spur-winged Lapwing

 Hoplopterus spinosus

  +70

Curlew Sandpiper

 Calidris ferruginea

  +7

Little Stint

 Calidris minuta

  +10

Ruff

 Philomachus pugnax

  +15

Black-tailed Godwit

 Limosa limosa

  +10

Common Redshank

 Tringa totanus

  +8

Greenshank

 Tringa nebularia

  +5

Wood Sandpiper

 Tringa glareola

  2

Common Sandpiper

 Actitis hypoleucos

  2

Snipe

 Gallinago gallinago

  +20

Yellow-legged Gull

 Larus cachinnans

  +15

Armenian Gull

 Larus armenicus

  +15

Stock Dove

 Columba oenas

  1

Rock Dove

 Columba livia

  +20

Laughing Dove

 Streptopelia senegalensis

  2

Collared Dove

 Streptopelia decaocto

  +80

Turtle Dove

 Streptopelia turtur

  +100

Barn Owl

 Tyto alba

  1

Common Kingfisher

 Alcedo atthis

  +6

Pied Kingfisher

 Ceryle rudis

  4

White-throated Kingfisher

 Halcyon smyrnensis

  +5

Roller

 Coracias garrulus

  4

Hoopoe

 Upupa epops

  2

Syrian Woodpecker

 Dendrocopos syriacus

  1

Rose-ringed Parakeet

 Psittacula krameri

  +15

Crested Lark

 Galerida cristata

  +30

Sand Martin

 Riparia riparia

  +15

Barn Swallow

 Hirundo rustica

  +50

Red-rumped Swallow

 Hirundo daurica

  4

House Martin

 Delichon urbica

  +30

Yellow Wagtail

 Motacilla flava

  +30

Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin

 Cercotrichas galactotes

  1

Northern Wheatear

 Oenanthe oenanthe

  1

Isabelline Wheatear

 Oenanthe isabellina

  2

Blackbird

 Turdus merula

  +5

Graceful Warbler

 Prinia gracilis

  +5

Cetti´s Warbler

 Cettia cetti

  +15

Reed Warbler

 Acrocephalus scirpaceus

  +5

Olivaceous Warbler

 Hippolais pallida

  1

Icterine Warbler

 Hippolais icterina

  1

Blackcap

 Sylvia atricapilla

  +5

Wood Warbler

 Phylloscopus sibilatrix

  1

Willow Warbler

 Phylloscopus trochilus

  +5

Great Tit

 Parus major

  4

Palestine Sunbird

 Nectarinia osea

  +6

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 Pycnonotus xanthopygos

  +40

Red-backed Shrike

 Lanius collurio

  +4

Woodchat Shrike

 Lanius senator

  1

Lesser Grey Shrike

 Lanius minor

  1

Southern Grey Shrike

 Lanius meridionalis

  3

Masked Shrike

 Lanius nubicus

  2

Golden Oriole

 Oriolus oriolus

  1

Hooded Crow

 Corvus corone cornix

  +50

Jackdaw

 Corvus monedula

  2

House Sparrow

 Passer domesticus

  +40

Goldfinch

 Carduelis carduelis

  +20

Ortolan Bunting

 Emberiza hortulana

  +10

Corn Bunting

 Miliaria calandra

  +8

10th September 2001

We woke up, and we heard and saw more or less the same as the day before, but we left the place quite fastly and at 7 A.M. we were in the entrance of the Hula Nature Reserve. They told us that we had to pay 20 sekkels for the entrance, around 5 $, and we decided to go to another place as we thought that was a bit expensive and we had to wait until they open.
So, we took the car and we drove north. In a pool in Einan we saw nine Black Storks. Close to this pool there were some small fishponds where some herons in the wires trying to fish something, and there were Purple Herons, Night Herons, Squacco Herons and Little Egrets, and also some Pied Kingfisher where fishing around.
Near Einan there is another pool where we saw the first Marbled Duck of the trip, and around that pool there were some reeds where we saw a Middle East speciality: Clamorous Reed Warbler, two of them, an adult an an inmature that still had growing feathers and the body colour was dark brown. In those reeds we also observed some Reed Warblers, a Savi´s Warbler, a Sedge Warbler and an Olivaceous Warbler. So after twitching Clamorous Reed Warbler we were quite excited as we were not confident about seeing that species.
We went to the New Hula Reservoir, and going there we passed through some alfalfa fields and stubble fields, and it was amazing the great number of Turtle Doves that were flying around, hundreds. In those fields there were some Harriers flying around, and most of them where juveniles, and we observed them trying to find Pallid Harried (Circus macrourus) as it can be seen there migrating, but we just found Montagu´s Harrier. There we also saw three Long-legged Buzzards flying around, and a flock of two hundred White Storks arrived flying and stopped in a spersor where they moved around, and some seemed that had a shower as they were just where water was coming down.
The reservoir is quite big, and we saw lots of species, noteworthy a Great White Egret, some Glossy Ibis, some Marbled Ducks, two or three Marsh Sandpiper, some White-winged Black Terns. We moved around the reservoir but at midday there was a lot of mist and the telescopes did not work properly, so it was very difficult to identify something and we left the place.
We went to Raman Naftali, but it was too hot and we were quite tired, so we decided to go to the eucalyptus forest and lay down in the shadow. In Raman Naftali we just heard some Sardinian Warblers.
At the eucalyptus forest we saw very well two juvenile Syrian Woodpeckers. We went to have lunch and at 4 o’clock we went again direction New Hula Reservoir. In a field that had a big water sprayers there were around thirty Spanish Sparrows, and in some males the black in the breast could be noted. In another field we saw a Jackal (Canis aureus) running, just a momment but enough to see well his silver-greyish back.
The reservoir was again plenty of birds, more or less the same species as in the morning, adding Whiskered Tern and at sunset a spectacular Cretzschmar´s Bunting male. But that afternoon will we remembered because of the crakes: there was a reed area close to the water where a pair of Water Rail were coming in and out of the vegetation, and it was fifty meters away, so we saw them really well. After a while, we observed a Spotted Crake going out of the vegetation just few moments, and after a while we observed another one thirty meters from the other. In this site, another crake came out and it stayed visible for long time. It was a juvenile, and after watching it carefully we realised that it was a Little Crake. It was sunset, any of us had seen this species before, so this was the last new species of the trip, really a great surprised as we did not expected to see this species, and we saw it very well. At sunset when we were birdwatching there we met a couple of israelist birdwatchers that had already came back from the Catalan Pyrenees, and we talked with them about birding in Catalonia and in Israel, about the species that we had seen and the ones that we had missed.
During the day we saw another Jackal, but just a momment, and two Mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon). Sadly, in the wires of the fishponds we saw three or four death Night Heron.
We went to have dinner in Tel Aviv, where we went out to have a bier, and went to sleep near the airport, in an orchards where we saw and heard Stone-curlews.

Bird species seen during the day:

Little Grebe

 Tachybaptus ruficollis

  +30

Night Heron

 Nycticorax nycticorax

  +50

Squacco Heron

 Ardeola ralloides

  +30

Little Egret

 Egretta garzetta

  +100

Cattle Egret

 Bubulcus ibis

  +200

Great White Egret

 Egretta alba

  1

Grey Heron

 Ardea cinerea

  +40

Purple Heron

 Ardea purpurea

  +8

White Stork

 Ciconia ciconia

  +250

Black Stork

 Ciconia nigra

  9

Glossy Ibis

 Plegadis falcinellus

  +40

Mallard

 Anas platyrhynchos

  +200

Northern Shoveler

 Anas clypeata

  +20

Common Teal

 Anas crecca

  +20

Garganey

 Anas querquedula

  +30

Marbled Duck

 Marmaronetta angustirostris

  +15

Black Kite

 Milvus migrans

  1

Montagu´s Harrier

 Circus pygargus

  +8

Marsh Harrier

 Circus aeruginosus

  +10

Honey Buzzard

 Pernis apivorus

  +100

Long-legged Buzzard

 Buteo rufinus

  2

Osprey

 Pandion haliaetus

  1

Short-toed Eagle

 Circaetus gallicus

  +5

Kestrel

 Falco tinnunculus

  +10

Little Crake

 Porzana parva

  1

Spotted Crake

 Porzana porzana

  2

Water Rail

 Rallus aquaticus

  2

Moorhen

 Gallinula chloropus

  +20

Common Coot

 Fulica atra

  +40

Stone-curlew

 Burhinus oedicnemus

  2

Black-winged Stilt

 Himantopus himantopus

  +20

Great Ringed Plover

 Charadrius hiaticula

  +5

Spur-winged Lapwing

 Hoplopterus spinosus

  +50

Little Stint

 Calidris minuta

  +8

Ruff

 Philomachus pugnax

  +20

Black-tailed Godwit

 Limosa limosa

  1

Common Redshank

 Tringa totanus

  +10

Marsh Sandpiper

 Tringa stagnatilis

  4

Wood Sandpiper

 Tringa glareola

  +10

Green Sandpiper

 Tringa ochropus

  2

Snipe

 Gallinago gallinago

  +30

Yellow-legged Gull

 Larus cachinnans

  +4

White-winged Black Tern

 Chlidonias leucopterus

  +10

Whiskered Tern

 Chlidonias hybridus

  +6

Rock Dove

 Columba livia

  +20

Turtle Dove

 Streptopelia turtur

  +400

Collared Dove

 Streptopelia decaocto

  +100

Laughing Dove

 Streptopelia senegalensis

  2

Rose-ringed Parakeet

 Psittacula krameri

  +5

Common Kingfisher

 Alcedo atthis

  +15

White-throated Kingfisher

 Halcyon smyrnensis

  +10

Pied Kingfisher

 Ceryle rudis

  +20

Roller

 Coracias garrulus

  1

Hoopoe

 Upupa epops

  1

Syrian Woodpecker

 Dendrocopos syriacus

  2

Crested Lark

 Galerida cristata

  +40

Short-toed Lark

 Calandrella brachydactyla

  +50

Sand Martin

 Riparia riparia

  +50

House Martin

 Delichon urbica

  +10

Barn Swallow

 Hirundo rustica

  +100

Red-rumped Swallow

 Hirundo daurica

  2

Yellow Wagtail

 Motacilla flava

  +30

Whinchat

 Saxicola rubetra

  2

Isabelline Wheatear

 Oenanthe isabellina

  +10

Blackbird

 Turdus merula

  +5

Savi´s Warbler

 Locustella luscinioides

  1

Graceful Warbler

 Prinia gracilis

  2

Fan-tailed Warbler

 Cisticola juncidis

  +10

Cetti´s Warbler

 Cettia cetti

  +15

Sedge Warbler

 Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

  2

Reed Warbler

 Acrocephalus scirpaceus

  +10

Clamorous Reed Warbler

 Acrocephalus stentoreus

  2

Olivaceous Warbler

 Hippolais pallida

  1

Lesser Whitethroat

 Sylvia curruca

  1

Sardinian Warbler

 Sylvia melanocephala

  1

Great Tit

 Parus major

  2

Palestine Sunbird

 Nectarinia osea

  3

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 Pycnonotus xanthopygos

  +40

Red-backed Shrike

 Lanius collurio

  +5

Southern Grey Shrike

 Lanius meridionalis

  +5

Masked Shrike

 Lanius nubicus

  2

Woodchat Shrike

 Lanius senator

  1

Hooded Crow

 Corvus corone cornix

  +20

House Sparrow

 Passer domesticus

  +20

Spanish Sparrow

 Passer hispaniolensis

  +30

Goldfinch

 Carduelis carduelis

  +15

Ortolan Bunting

 Emberiza hortulana

  +20

Cretzschmar´s Bunting

 Emberiza caesia

  1

11th September 2001

We woke up and we went to the airport, where David and Arnau took the plane to Barcelona. Oriol had the ticket for the next day and he spend the day in Tel Aviv, going to the beach and buying souvenirs, and he went to sleep in the same place. The next day he took the plane without any problem.

Conclusions

We decided to go to Israel because of the great number of interesting species that can be seen, breeding in the Middle East or migrant species. We went there at the end of August and first ten days of September because we had holydays these days. We thought that these days the migration should have started, as at home these days can be the peak of the migration. But the migration had already started in Israel, mainly of passerines, but we saw few raptors. For example, in Eilat they stopped ringing at 8 because later there were no birds in the nets. Another think that shows that was the few birdwatchers that we saw during the trip, and we did not meet non-israelist birdwatchers, so people that can choose their holidays probably go later. Also, the birdwatchers that we found or the people than we met in the information centres told us that it was “too early” for the migration. Somehow it is funny because the year before we went to Poland in August, and it was “too late” for some breeding species.
Another problem was the high temperatures, after 11 in most of the places that we were it was too hot to birdwatch around, and also there were just few birds, so it was quite frustrating to go around. Of course we knew it before we went to Israel, but it was a handicup that we had to deal with.
Another think that we want to comment is that in the Natural Parks one can only come in one hour after sunrise, and also one has to leave the place one hour before sunset. That was a problem for example when we were looking for Hume’s Owl in Sede Boqer.
Of course we want to remember the day that suddenly we were in the middle of a mine field: as we pointed out before, beware if you go to En Netafim. We think that in the birdwatching site guides should say that with more emphasize, as everybody that goes birdwatching there is in danger if they decide to go walking around.
About the books, we mainly used the “A guide of the birding hotspots…”, because it is newer and has more detailed maps and texts. However, as we said in the Introduction, the text talks too much about vagrant species that had been seen in each site, instead of giving more datailed information about where to find some resident species or how to get to places.
We think that Israel is really a good place for birdwatching, but perhaps the beginning of September is not the best momment for migrating species. On the other hand, we saw a lot of the breeding species, and perhaps going at the end of september you miss some of them.
A surprising thing was the we did not see any Dead Sea Sparrow, as we thought that in Eialt and in the Dead Sea region we could see it.
We are really satisfied about the trip and all the species that we saw, although we missed some species that we thought that we should see, like Hooded Wheatear.