Finding Birds in Israel

The most spectacular passage of raptors in the world, the chance of exotic seabirds on the Red Sea and the inevitable appearance of numerous exciting rarities have combined to make Eilat the most popular foreign destination for British birdwatchers. But there is much more to Israel than just Eilat.

By travelling around you can also see spectacular flights of sandgrouse in the Negev desert, huge flocks of pelicans in the Hula Valley (and Ma'agan Mikhael) and, perhaps best of all, literally hundreds of wintering raptors which congregate most impressively at places like Urim and Hula. On top of all this there are many special birds to look for at different times of the year: Long-billed Pipit, Sociable Plover, Oriental Skylark, Great Black-headed Gull, Hume's Tawny Owl, Syrian Serin, Houbara Bustard, Wallcreeper, Orange-tufted Sunbird, Blackstart, Hooded Wheatear, Fan-tailed Raven, White-tailed Plover, Arabian Warbler, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Namaqua Dove, etc. Indeed it seems the only disadvantage of a birding holiday to Israel is that it might make other Western Palearctic locations less exciting by comparison.

Many of the birdwatchers who have visited Israel in the past have produced excellent trip reports but these can quickly become out of date. Even though the first edition of this book was based on observations up to 1991 it has had to be extensively revised, modified and updated to produce a 2nd edition, based mainly on my stay during September–December 1992. Now, after further visits by myself and with the help of notes provided by others, I've made various amendments to the maps and text so that this edition is up to date to the end of 1995.

Many birdwatchers seem to have appreciated the detail and clarity in the 1st edition. One commented that "even 'difficult' species such as Houbara Bustard, Arabian Warbler and Hoopoe Lark were located within 50 metres of where they were shown on the maps." I hope you will find that this fuller, more comprehensive guide is even more useful.