29th March – 1st April – Eilat, Israel   Leave a comment


Margaret struggles with the scope (and her hair) in the wind

Returning to the Israel saga. We arrived at Israel’s southernmost town in the late afternoon on the 29th of March and after finding our hostel went down to the saltpans to look for some waders. We didn’t realise that the best views were to be had from the shelter of the Birdwatching Centre so spent an hour or so struggling to look into a strong northerly wind.

 Eilat, Israel’s only Red Sea port and resort, has changed out of all recognition since my last visit in 1986. The area behind the North Beach, once scrub surrounding a military camp, is covered in high-rise hotels. The once quiet beach was packed with sun worshipers and is backed by shops, cafes, arcades, scary rides etc. We felt very out-of-place, it is no longer an easy place to find Reef Egrets, terns and gulls although a bit of searching did yield a few White-eyed Gulls in flight.

The 30th was spent in Jordan but much of our time on the 31st March and 1st April was spent around the Birdwatching Centre or at Km 19/20 to the north, the latter site will be included in the next post.


This was once a prime birding area



Even by going down to the Jordanian border we couldn’t find any peace. Hope that seabirds and herons would be found in no-mans land were thwarted by the disco volume music being blasted out over the beach behind us.


Near the Birdwatching Centre is this old drainage canal. Once this was one of the best areas to see crakes, rails, wagtails and warblers but it was partially filled in some 20 years ago. However winter rain had left some puddles ……


… and  we saw three separate Citrine Wagtails.


Not all parts of the canal are accessible to the public. Pied Kingfisher was found on this stretch of the drainage canal.


Slender-billed Gulls were common on the saltpans …..



… as were Black-winged Stilts


Caspian Tern, the size of a Herring Gull and the biggest tern of the world.


The ubiquitous Spur-winged Lapwings


Greater Flamingos with Slender-billed Gulls in the background


Tiny Graceful Prinias were all over the Birdwatching Centre


…. and could be seen singing from prominent perches.



Lakes inside the Birdwatching Centre host fresh water species like this Little Ringed Plover.


A Wryneck fed on the path


We also visited the mountains above Eilat but the impressive raptor passage, amounting to some 4000 Buzzards plus smaller numbers of eagles and kites was almost over by the time we got there


During the hottest part of one day we visited the Underwater Observatory where by descending steps to the underwater chamber you can look out onto the sea bed and the coral reefs. In common with everything at Eilat during Passover it was crowded and full of very noisy kids.



This is not an aquarium, it is an underwater view of the Gulf of Aqaba ….


… complete with puffer fish …


.. and many other species I couldn’t possibly name


However these fluorescent jellyfish were in a darkened aquarium exhibit.

Posted April 29, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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