Birding in January
Usually offers pleasant conditions for winter birding, characterised by warm, sunny days and cool evenings. Rain is possible in the desert, and occasionally it can snow at higher altitudes in the Negev. A good time to look for Houbara Bustard, which form feeding flocks of up to 15 birds. Saker, Lanner, Sociable Plover, Dotterel and Pin-tailed sandgrouse can be found in the fields of the Northwest Negev. Great-spotted Cuckoo can turn up as early as this, and Striated Scops Owl can be found in Acacia wadis near Eilat and Lotan. Syrian Serin sometimes form large flocks in the Negev. Recent winters have produced such rarities as Grey Hypocolious, Yellow-browed and Hume’s Warblers, and several Red-tailed Wheatears. Winter birding in the desert is far from dull !
Birding in February
Many birdwatchers may be surprised to find that migration is already well underway in February. In particular, Steppe Eagles and Pallid Swifts may reach hundreds per day, mostly over Eilat but some over Lotan as well, especially on warm southeastern wind. The first; flocks of White and Black Storks will have appeared by the middle of the month. Wintering Cyprus and Desert Warblers are especially vocal and can be heard singing. We usually regard the 20th as the starting date for the waves of migrants, which will include Quail, Hoopoe, Short-toed Lark, Tawny Pipit, Red-rumped Swallow, Black-eared Wheatear, and Savi’s Warbler all of which can be seen in the area of Lotan. The last week offers a final opportunity to find Striated Scops Owl, which disperse by early March.