Saturday, 17 November 2012

Hula Bird Festival

 Some of the 30,000 + Common Cranes in the Hula Valley
 Common Stonechat
 White Pelicans in formation
 White-breasted Kingfisher
 White Wagtail
 Greater Spotted Eagle
 Common Kingfisher
 Armenian Gull
 Black Kite
Greater Spotted Eagle
I've just got back from a great trip to Israel to attend the Hula Bird Festival near the Syrian border in the north and then spend a day in Jerusalem in the middle of the country before flying back to London. I was the guest of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and the Israel Government Tourist Office. The idea was for me to sample some of the birding to be had at this amazing migration hotspot.

And what a sample!

I've enclosed a list of species that includes my exploits in Jerusalem - for those of you who are interested. Over the next couple of days there will be more words and birds.

Little Grebe
White Pelican
Great Cormorant
Pygmy Cormorant
Black-crowned Night Heron
Cattle Egret
Squacco Heron
Little Egret
Great Egret
Grey Heron
Black Stork
Glossy Ibis
Eurasian Spoonbill
Greater Flamingo
White-fronted Goose – 1 immature in the Hula Reserve. Rare here.
Shelduck – 1 in the Hula Reserve.
Marbled Duck
White-tailed Eagle
Eastern Imperial Eagle
Greater Spotted Eagle
Black Kite
Black-shouldered Kite
Marsh Harrier
Hen Harrier
Pallid Harrier
Long-legged Buzzard
(Steppe Buzzard)
Common Buzzard
Eurasian Sparrowhawk
Sand Partridge
Common Moorhen
Eurasian Coot
Common Crane – c40,000 in the Hula Valley.
Pied Avocet
Black-winged Stilt
Ringed Plover
Spur-winged Plover
Temminck’s Stint
Wood Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Marsh Sandpiper
Black-tailed Godwit
Woodcock –1 in the jaws of a cat in the Rose Gardens, Jerusalem.
Common Snipe
Black-headed Gull
Armenian Gull
Whiskered Tern
Feral Pigeon
Collared Dove
Laughing Dove
Little Swift – outside Jerusalem.
Common Kingfisher
White-throated Kingfisher
Pied Kingfisher
Syrian Woodpecker – mostly in Jerusalem.
Crested Lark
Desert Lark – outside Jerusalem.
Horned Lark – pencillata race.
Sand Martin
Pale Crag Martin
Barn Swallow
Long-billed Pipit – in the semi-desert outside Jerusalem.
Water Pipit – coutellii race.
Meadow Pipit
Red-throated Pipit
White Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail – feldegg & thunbergi winter birds in the Hula.
Citrine Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
European Robin
Black Redstart
Northern Wheatear
Finsch’s Wheatear
Mourning Wheatear – in the semi-desert outside Jerusalem.
Blackstart – in the semi-desert outside Jerusalem.
(Eastern) Stonechat – quite a few in the Hula Valley.
Common Stonechat
Song Thrush
Blue Rock Thrush
Scrub Warbler – in the semi-desert outside Jerusalem.
Graceful Prinia
Lesser Whitethroat – 1 in the Rose Garden, Jerusalem.
Sardinian Warbler
Zitting Cisticola
Cetti’s Warbler
Reed Warbler
Clamorous Reed Warbler
Common Chiffchaff
Great Tit
Sombre Tit
Penduline Tit
Western Rock Nuthatch
Southern Grey Shrike
Red-backed Shrike
Masked Shrike – an immature in the Rose Garden, Jerusalem.
Common Bulbul
Palestine Sunbird
Eurasian Jay – atricapillus race.
Hooded Crow
Tristram’s Starling – in the semi-desert outside Jerusalem.
Common Starling
House Sparrow
Pale Rock Sparrow – in the semi-desert outside Jerusalem.
European Serin
Syrian Serin
Hawfinch – in Jerusalem.
Crimson-winged Finch
Corn Bunting
Rock Bunting


Findlay Wilde said...

Looks like you saw loads on your trip, look forward to seeing more photos from it. From Findlay

Anonymous said...

An awesome list!

Very envious.


Darryl said...

Given that the Foreign Office lists Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) as a 'Country of Concern' due to wide-ranging human rights concerns (see and quarterly updates at do you not feel a little uncomfortable accepting free trips and providing an advertisement for the Israel Government Tourist Office at this particular point in time?

I guess private individuals have to make up their own minds, but shouldn't supposedly high profile birders be applying some form of ethical standard to the countries they visit? Would you have visited Burma/Myanmar before the release of Aung San Suu Kyi? Should we avoid Mugabe's Zimbabwe? Did people avoid South Africa during the apartheid era? Where should birders draw the line?

I'm guessing most birders would avoid Malta, due to concerns about hunting but, bizarrely, many appear to visit Israel despite the demolition of Palestinian homes in the OPTs, the continued presence of illegal settlements within the OPTs, the demolition of homes and forced relocation of Bedouin in the Negev, numerous indefinite administrative detentions (without charges or presentation of evidence), and the large numbers of civilian deaths and injuries due to Israeli military activity.

PS. I'm not suggesting the militants in Gaza are any better than those in Israel, but then nobody advertises birding trips to Gaza do they.

The Urban Birder said...

I promote nature not politics - regardless of where that nature happens to be. If I allowed politics to dictate where I travelled then I would never leave my house and would probably live my entire life within the confines of my bedroom.

I understand your concerns given the conflicts that have been going on in Israel but my concern for wildlife are far greater. I am happy that I visited Israel and was impressed by the efforts of the conservationists there who are trying to create havens for the millions of birds that migrate through the area. They have my support.

Darryl said...

Wow. Just wow. You know, some people can manage to be concerned by the condition of the environment and human rights abuses (and here's the clever bit) at the same time and actually change their behaviour to address both. Incredible huh?

Of course, our concerns are not "far greater" than yours, who could possibly be as concerned as you? You are an example to us all.

PS. Hope you carbon off-set all those flights.

Stam Zogaris said...

Dear TUB,

Please continue to visit "difficult places such as Isreal and support conservation there - if more people did this; than this kind of thing would help promote better culture, more peace. Birding tourism and birding recreation is all good and very scarce to come by here in the East (Stam from Athens Greece)