Birdingpals Trip Report

Birding in Israel and Palestine by Erik Boven

The site works! Birdingpal Dani introduced me (a Dutchman currently for a few month working in Israel and Palestine) to two terrific birding sites in Israel.
An outsider like me thinks about this area as a dry country with agricultural activities thanks to irrigation. It is much more than that. Other human interventions like fishponds, sewerage cleaning and water reservoirs provide a wonderful environment for birds. In addition to that a deep Jordan valley which is a natural route for migration.
Bet Shermes only 25 km from Jerusalem gave us nearly all the possible herons, three species of kingfishers and a few puzzles with the sub species of the Stonechat. We were aware, that we were missing quite a few local warbler species due to the lack in our knowledge of the sounds. A wonderful walk and nearly seventy species is very satisfactory.
It was good that we went together with guide Lior Kislev ( to Bet She'an in the Jordan Valley. I do not know which superlatives to use for this area. Easy accessible, semi open landscape with fishponds and water reservoirs, wonderful weather (in this time of the year). So we came in the whole day to more than 90 species.
The most striking moment was close to the Jordanian border under the eyes of the watchtower-soldiers, where the Barn Swallows, Red-rumped Swallows, Spur-winged Plovers and different migrants were flying without acknowledging the well marked borderline.
That is what we learn from the birds: The world should be without borders. Even birding you are aware of politics in this part of the world. It is encouraging that birders form Palestine and Israel are working together on a common ringing project.
Erik Boven, 9 november 2008

Last update 23/01/2013