October to December

Birding in October

Provides an influx of migrants from the east, with rarities from Central Asia and Siberia, occurring especially in the last week of the month. The number of passing Steppe Eagles increases daily from mid month, among which one can observe Black Storks, Steppe Buzzards and perhaps, Cranes. The salt pools and fields offer a chance of finding the enigmatic Pacific Golden Plover and White-tailed Plover may well turn up at any of the local sewage farms. An increasing number of passerines may well include Oriental Skylark, Buff -bellied and Richard’s Pipits and Citrine Wagtail. Isabelline Shrikes are rare but regular migrants around Eilat in late autumn, and are now being complemented by the appearance of some Steppe Grey Shrikes, the beautiful ‘pallidrostris’ form from Central Asia. Cyprus Pied Wheatear, Pied Wheatear, Yellow-browed Warbler, Red- breasted Flycatcher, Little and Rustic Buntings all have the potential to enliven a day in the field.

Birding in November

Steppe Eagle migration continues well into the third week, several hundreds may be recorded on some days. However, raptor enthusiasts will find a trip to the Western Negev an overwhelming experience. The area will be full of Imperial Eagle, Hen and Pallid Harriers, Long-legged Buzzard, Peregrine, Lanner and Saker Falcons, Merlin and perhaps the odd Booted Eagle. There can be few better opportunities to study all these species in close comparison anywhere in the West Palaearctic region. Since 1992, there have also been three records of Tawny Eagle from these fields. We will be scrutinising every raptor in detail! Not only raptors star in the huge arable fields of Urim, such attractive waders as Stone Curlew, Cream-coloured Courser, Dotterel, Golden Plover, Spur-winged Plover, Lapwing, and the globally threatened Sociable Plover, can be found on a good day.

Birding in December

A good month for some ‘steady’ winter birding in warm, sunny days. Brown Booby, Great Black-headed and Siberian Gulls occur off the North Beach, and up to three Striated Scops Owl can be found near Eilat. A host of sought after wintering species, can be seen with luck, in the Arava Valley: Imperial Eagle, Grey Hypocolious (very rare) , White- breasted Kingfisher, Dunns Lark (sporadic), Red-tailed Wheatear, Desert, Yellow -browed and Hume’s Warbler, Penduline Tit and Sinai Rosefinch are all possible. Large flocks of Desert Finch can be found in Lotan ‘s arable fields at this time. The fields of the northwest Negev should still hold most of the species mentioned in November, with the possible exception of Cream-coloured Courser.

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