27th March – 14th April – Israel   Leave a comment

Bird ringing schemes exit in many countries but often suffer from lack of manpower. One way to help the situation is for ringers from elsewhere to visit for a period. This helps with the research, allows an exchange of information ideas and allows the visiting ringer to gain experience in species that they may seldom encounter at home. Israel lies on a major flyway between Africa and eastern Europe/western Asia and has been a magnet for birders, especially in spring, for decades. Five of us from Dorset joined a group of British ringers who with the co-operation of the Israeli authorities ringed migrant birds at Kibbutz Lotan just north of Eilat from 7th – 14th of April.

I had visited Israel in 1982 and 86 (the latter visit also involved ringing) but Margaret has never been, so we travelled out early for 12 days of sightseeing and birding. We arrived at Tel Aviv at 0530 on the 27th, picked up our hire car and drove to Beersheba. Over the next two days we explored areas of the Negev Desert before arriving at Eilat, which was very crowded due to the Passover holiday. Over the next three days we birding the areas but also took a day trip into Jordan to see the wonderful archaeological site at Petra. We then drove to Massada on the Dead Sea before heading for Jerusalem. Here we had two days of sightseeing, including a visit to Bethlehem in the Palestine Territories. We concluded with a visit to Jerusalem Bird Observatory and the Israel Museum before heading back to Tel Aviv.

From Tel Aviv Margaret flew home and I joined the other 11 ringers where we transferred to Kibbutz Lotan. Each day we ringed birds from pre dawn until it got too hot (about 1100 am) and then went birding locally in the afternoon. Compared to previous years migrant numbers were down, one suggestion was that rain in Sudan had provided an alternative stop over site, but there was still plenty to ring and plenty to watch.

It was a wonderful holiday with plenty of good birds, both seen and ringed and some great historic sites visited. Of course after several trips to the Middle East I didn’t get any life birds but the whole experience was most worthwhile.

I will post more detailed accounts of the trip with photos over the next few weeks.



Egyptian Vulture, both a resident breeder and migrant.


One of the most iconic views in the world: the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.


Male Red-backed Shrike trapped for ringing.





Posted April 15, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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