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A Report from birdtours.co.uk

ISRAEL 13th - 27th March 1994,

Hugh Harrop

shetland.wildlife.tours@zetnet.co.uk

Hugh Harrop visited Israel between 13th - 27th March 1994:  This is his report.

FLIGHTS AND CAR HIRE:

We booked everything through Wildwings.  The flight, with Excalibur Airways cost 189, and the car, a Fiat Tempra cost 494 for 2 weeks.

BANKS AND SHOPS:

The currency of Israel is the New Israeli Shequel, simply known as the Shequel. The exchange rate at the time of our trip was 4.1 Shequels to the pound. All the banks we visited changed travellers cheques but charged a hefty commission. Some hotels will also change travellers cheques but we were refused by one hotel as we weren't paying guests. You can pay for most things in US dollars but most places didn't want to know Sterling. If you are travelling from Scotland, make sure you change your Scottish notes into English ones before you arrive in Israel as the banks, for some obscure reason, won't accept them. The banks close on Friday evenings and Saturdays but on other days they close between 12 noon and 5pm but are open during the morning and late afternoon / early evening. Shops also close on the Sabbath but the many felafel bars stay open. Israel is not a cheap place to visit. The cheapest form of food are felafels which cost between 4 -8 Sheqs and Baguettes which cost around 8 - 10 sheqs. Soft drinks are extortionate - expect to pay around 4 Sheqs for a can of Coke. Bottled water costs around 6 sheqs a litre which is a waste of time buying as the tap water is safe, although it does taste funny.

ACCOMMODATION:

On average we were paying around 40 sheqs a night for a B&B There are plenty of hostels in Eilat which charge around $10 per night.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

We made use of Seb Buckton's 1989 trip report and Dave Gosney's "Gostours" Israel. The maps in those reports are excellent so there's no point in reproducing them here.  Thanks also to Hadoram Shirihai, Killian Mullarney and the many other birders who gave us gen.

BIRD INFORMATION:

There is no formal source of information at Eilat apart from the rather out-dated birder's log at the International Birdwatching Centre. Therefore, it is essential to ask everyone you meet what they've seen. Late afternoon on North Beach is the time to find out what's about as everyone seems to congregate here. Sunbird have their log call at the Shalamut Gardens Hotel so it's well worth popping along there at around 8pm. Another good place to pick up gen is at the Golf Restaurant where a lot of birders seem to eat.

ORGANISED TOURS:

Once again, Hadoram Shirihai was available to lead tours for birders. He was charging 15 for the Hume's Tawny Owl trip, 25 for a one-day trip into the Negev (for Sandgrouse, Houbara etc) and 50 for a two day trip to the north west Negev, including one-night's accommodation. Note that car hire, food and petrol etc., is at your own expense. You can sign up for the trips at the IBC off Hatmarin Boulevard. Alternatively, you can book trips in advance by signing up via Sunbird's office Tel. 01767 682969) or contact Hadoram direct by telefax on 00 972 7 379326.

ITINERARY:

13/3 Departed Gatwick 1015, arriving Ovda 1715 (local time). Overnight Eilat.
14/3 Eilat area all day.
15/3 K33, Shizzafon, Yotvata, Amrams Pillars, Eilat. Hume's Tawny Owl trip with HS during the evening.
16/3 Milham Well, Mizpe Ramon, Sde Boquer, Ashalim, En Avdat. Overnight at Sede Boquer.
17/3 En Avdat, Nizzana, Zeelim, Urim. Drove to Tiberias, arriving there early evening.
18/3 Mount Hermon, Hula.
19/3 Mount Arbel, Wadi Ammud and North end of Lake Tiberias.
20/3 Drove through West Bank to Nahal Dragot & En Gedi. Drove back to Eilat via Yotvata.
21/3 Eilat&K33.
22/3 Eilat.
23/3 K40, K33, Eilat.
24/3  K33 & Eilat.
25/3 Eilat.
26/3 K33 & Eilat
27/3

am at Eilat. Then took tourist coach (5) back to Ovda airport. Departed Ovda at 1715, arriving at Gatwick at 2135 local time.

 

Useful Books:

The Birds of Israel      by    Hadoram Shirihai 

Finding Birds in Israel    by   Dave Gosney 

Birds of Europe with North Africa and the Middle East  by  Lars Jonsson 

Collins Bird Guide     Europe's best Field guide?

Israel and the Palestinian Territories: the Rough Guide   by  Daniel Jacobs 

Eilat    by   Jacob Dafni 

Eilat Essential Map and Guide

Other Bird Books.

Full bird list:

Grebes to Ducks

Little Grebe:  1 Eilat on 22/3.

Cormorant:  common at Hula and noted in small numbers at Eilat.

White Pelican:  a single at Hula on 18/3.

Night Heron:  300+ at Hula on 18/3 and 150+ at the northern end of Lake Tiberias on 19/3.

Squacco Heron:  a single North Beach, Eilat on 25/3

Cattle Egret:  2 near Zeelim on 17/3, 50+ between Tel Aviv and Tiberias on 17/3, 500+ at Hula on 18/3, 200+ at the northern end of Lake Tiberias on 19/3 and 1 North Fields, Eilat on 22/3.

Western Reef Heron:  a dark phase bird on North Beach, Eilat on 14/3 and a pale phase bird there on 26/3.

Little Egret:  3 Hula 18/3, 1 Eilat 20/3, 21/3, 24/3 and 25/3.

Great White Egret:  1 between Tel Aviv and Tiberias 17/3 and 2 at Hula on 18/3.

Grey Heron:  noted at Eilat, Hula and Tiberias.

Purple Heron:  3 at the northern end of Lake Tiberias on 19/3.

Black Stork:  a total of 184 (including a flock of 125) flew north over Wadi Ammud on 19/3, 39 flew north over Nahal Dragot on 20/3, 99 flew north over the raptor watch-point on 22/3 with 18 there on 24/2.

White Stork:  a single at Milham Well on 16/3, 67 near Urim on 17/3, 72 between Tiberias and Mount Hermon on 18/3, 808 north over Wadi Ammud on 19/3 (the largest group being 250), 1 over the raptor watch-point with Black Storks on 22/3, 1 Eilat 24/3 and 12 there on 25/3.

Glossy Ibis: 4 at Hula on 18/3.

Greater Flamingo:  a single at Hula on 18/3 and 3 on the north salt pans, Eilat on 22/3.

Wigeon:  50+ at Hula on 18/3.

Teal:  noted at Eilat, Hula and Tiberias.

Mallard:  noted at Eilat.

Pintail:  at Eilat on 14/3 with 1 there on 24/3.

Garganey:  regularly noted at Eilat, with a staggering 500+ there on 21/3, 50 on 23/3 and 80+ there on 25/3. Most birds spend the day on the sea and then head up the Arava Valley as dusk approaches.

Shoveler:  2 Eilat on 14/3; common at Hula.

Pochard:  1 at Eilat on 20/3 with 3 there on 23/3.

Tufted Duck:  20 at Eilat on 14/3.

Partridges to Bustards

Chukar:  15 En Avdat on 17/3,2  Mount Hermon on 18/3, 5 Wadi Ammud on 19/3 and one in a Bonelli's Eagle's talons at Nahal Dragot on 20/3!

Sand Partridge:  1 Water Pumping Station, Eilat 14/3, 2 Amrams Pillars 15/3, 4 En Avdat 17/3 and 2 Wadi Schlomo 22/3.

Black Francolin:  5 males and 1 female at the northern end of Lake Tiberias on 19/3 and a female at Mehola in the West Bank on 20/3.

Quail:   regularly seen or heard in most areas, max. 6 at North Fields on 24/3.

Little Crake:  a female along the canal, Eilat, at dusk on 21/3.

Moorhen:  irregularly noted around Eilat but regularly seen in the north.

Coot:  noted at several places; under recorded.

Crane:  Nizzana on 17/3, 300+ at Urim on 17/3 and 50+ at Hula on 1813.

Houbara Bustard:  2 at Ashalim on 16/3 and 1 along the Nizzana - Kerem Shalom border road the following day.

Sandgrouse, Doves, Swifts, Kingfishers and Woodpeckers.

Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse:  17 came into drink at dusk at the water pumping station, Eilat on 14/3.

Crowned Sandgrouse:  4 were at K33 on 21/3.

Spotted Sandgrouse:  7 at Ashalim on 1613.

Black-bellied Sandgrouse:  37 at Sede Boquer on 16/3, 50+ at Ashalim on 16/3 and 2 at Sede Boquer again on 17/3.

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse:  200+ at Ashalim on 16/3.

Collared Dove:  common.

Turtle Dove:  2 North Fields 22/3.

Laughing Dove:  common and widespread.

Namaqua Dove:  2 males and a female around the greenhouses at North Fields on 22/3 and a female near there on 26/3.

Great Spotted Cuckoo:  singles on 15/3 at Kibbutz Elot and Amrams Pillars.

Didric Cuckoo:  an elusive male at Eilat on 23/3 had been present in the area since 12/3. The first record for Israel and the second for the Western Palearctic.

Cuckoo:  singles at Mount Arbel on 19/3 and Wadi Ammud on the same date.

Hume's Tawny Owl:  a pair were called in using a tape by Hadoram Shirihai at a secret location east of the Eilat - Ovda road. They gave stunning views, one of which posed with a mouse in its beak for several minutes. Please note that it is illegal to tape lure these birds without a special license. Continued disturbance by a party of German birders led the birds at the 'normal' site to desert the area.

Long-eared Owl:  a pair were heard calling at En Avdat on 16/3.

Swift:  small numbers noted throughout; most records involved birds moving through the Arava Valley at dawn.

Pallid Swift:  20 Eilat 14/3, 50+ Sede Boquer 16/3, 50+ En Avdat 17/3, 50 Tiberias 19/3, 5 Nahal Dragot 20/3, 2 K33 24/3, 4 K33 26/3.

Alpine Swift:  3 Eilat 14/3, 1 Milham Well 16/3, 3 Sede Boquer 16/3, 50 En Avdat 17/3, 1 Urim 17/3, 30 Wadi Ammud 19/3, 1 K33 24/3, 20 Eilat 25/3.

Little Swift: 20 between Tiberias and Hula on 18/3,2 Mount Arbel 19/3, 150+ Wadi Ammud 19/3,1 K33 24/3.

Smyrna Kingfisher:  common at Hula and the northern end of Tiberias. 1 in the date palms at Eilat on 25/3.

Kingfisher:  1 regularly seen along the canal area at Eilat and 1 at the northern end of Lake Tiberias on 19/3.

Lesser Pied Kingfisher: up to 3 seen around the Eilat area, usually around North Beach; common at Hula and at the northern end of Lake Tiberias.

Little Green Bee-eater: regularly noted around Eilat and in the nearby mountains.

Bee-eater:  a flock of 10 were at North Fields on 26/3.

Hoopoe:  small numbers encountered at widespread localities.

Wryneck:  small numbers seen almost daily at Eilat; 1 Yotvata 20/3.

Syrian Woodpecker:  Singles at Wadi Ammud and Mount Arbel on 19/3 and 2 at the northern end of Tiberias on the same date.

Raptors

Black Kite:  seen regularly at most sites with notable counts including 40+ at Urim on 17/3, 150+ at Hula on 18/3, 12 at K33 on 21/3,  89 over the raptor watch-point on 22/3, 10 K40 on 23/3, 25+ over the raptor watch-point on 25/3, 20 over Eilat town on 26/3 and 30 there on 27/3. Birds showing characteristics of the yellow-billed race aegyptius were seen at Nahal Dragot on 20/3 and over K33 on 26/3.

White-tailed Eagle:  a second year bird at Hula on 18/3.

Egyptian Vulture:  1 Amrams Pillars on 15/3, 2 Mizpe Ramon on 16/3, 12 Sede Boquer on 16/3 with 3 there the following day, 2 Wadi Ammud on 19/3, 2 over the raptor watch-point on 22/3, 2 at K40 on 23/3, 9 over Eilat town on 26/3 and 4 there on 27/3.

Griffon Vulture:  at the Sede Boquer roost on 16/3 and 12 at Wadi Ammud on 19/3.

Short-toed Eagle:  2 at K33 on 15/3, 1 at Sede Boquer on 16/3, 2 in the Golan Heights on 18/3, 26 flew north ova Wadi Ammud during a movement of raptors and storks on 19/3, 1 Nahal Dragot on 20/3, 1 Eilat on 22/3, 2 Eilat on 26/3 (including an incredibly pale individual lacking any barring on the underparts and underwing).

Marsh Harrier:  I Eilat 14/3, 1 Urim 17/3, 1 Nahal Dragot 20/3, 2 Eilat 2213, 1 K40 23/3, 2 Eilat 24/3, 1 Eilat 25/3, 1 K33 and 2 Eilat 26/3.

Pallid Harrier:  male Sede Boquer on 16/3, male Eilat 22/3, 2 ringtails Eilat 24/3, 2 males Eilat 25/3 and a male Wadi Schlomo 26/3.

Montagu's Harrier: male flew in off the sea at Eilat on 20/3.

Sparrowhawk:  at Alfula on 17/3, Tiberias on 18/3 and Mount Arbel on 19/3.

Steppe Buzzard:  the commonest raptor, seen every day with 300 Eilat on 1413, 60+ Wadi Ammud on 19/3, 85 Nahal Dragot on 20/3, 1170 at the raptor watch-point on 22/3, 420 there on 25/3, 150 over Eilat town on 26/3 and 300 there on 27/3.

Long-legged Buzzard:  1 Sede Boquer on 16/3, 1 Urim 17/3, 1 near Tel Aviv 17/3, 1 in the Golan Heights on 18/3, 2 Wadi Ammud 19/3.

Spotted Eagle:  3 (2 adults & 1 imm) at Hula on 18/3.

Steppe Eagle:  30 Eilat 14/3, 1 Amrams Pillars 15/3, 15 Wadi Ammud 19/3, 14 Eilat 22/3, 5 Eilat 24/3, 10 Eilat 25/3, 2 K33 and a phenomenal 129 Eilat 26/3, 15 Eilat 27/3.

Imperial Eagle: a first year bird flew over the raptor watch-point on 22/3 and another first year bird was there on 24/3.

Golden Eagle:  1 Sede Boquer on 16/3, 1 Mount Hermon 18/3 and 1 Eilat on 24/3.

Booted Eagle:  2 pale phase birds flew over Eilat town centre on 26/3 and a single was there on 27/3.

Bonelli's Eagle:  a pair with 2 chicks were watched at the nest in Nahal Dragot on 20/3, the adults giving excellent views, one of which brought a Chukar to the nest!

Osprey:  3 at Hula on 18/3 and 1 at K33 on 26/3.

Lesser Kestrel:  a flock of 12 were feeding in Wadi Ammud for a few hours during the afternoon on 19/3 before drifting off north, a male at K40 on 23/3, a male at Wadi Schlomo on 24/3, a pair at North Fields on 25/3, a male at K33 on 26/3 and a male at North Fields on the same date.

Kestrel: irregularly noted in the south but frequently seen in the north. 6 at Wadi Ammud on 19/3 were active migrants.

Peregrine:  2 near Urim on 17/3.

Barbary Falcon:  1 over north fields on 22/3, 1 K33 on 24/3 and 1 over the canal on 26/3.

Waders, Gulls and Terns

Oystercatcher:  7 North Beach on 20/3.

Black-winged Stilt: regularly noted at Eilat, max. 20 there on 26/3. Also seen at Hula with 10 there on 18/3.

Cream-coloured Courser: 6 at Sede Boquer on 16/3 and 4 at K33 on 21/3.

Little Ringed Plover: 10 North Fields 21/3 with 1 there on 22-23/3 and 3 there on 25/3.

Ringed Plover: present in small numbers at Eilat.

Kentish Plover: regularly seen at Eilat with a max. of 5 on the saltpans on 23/3.

Spur-winged Plover: regularly seen throughout the country; under recorded

Lapwing: 1 Eilat 23/3.

Little Stint:  present on the saltpans throughout the period, max. 20 on 23/3.

Dunlin: noted in small numbers at Eilat.

Ruff: in Eilat, regularly seen around the saltpans and along the canal with a max. of 20 on 23/3.

Snipe: singles at Hula on 18/3 and Eilat on 25/3.

Woodcock: 1 Mount Hermon on 18/3.

Curlew: small numbers noted at Eilat.

Spotted Redshank: small numbers noted at Eilat.

Redshank: regularly seen at Eilat.

Marsh Sandpiper: seen almost daily around the saltpans at Eilat, max. 4 on 23/3 and 26/3.

Greenshank: 1 on the saltpans on 26/3.

Green Sandpiper: seen daily in the Eilat area, max. 4 on 26/3. Also noted at Hula and Yotvata.

Wood Sandpiper: singles at Eilat on 14/3 and 24/3.

Common Sandpiper: 1 at Hula on 18/3.

Arctic Skua: 2 flew north over the salt pans at dawn on 14/3.

White-eyed Gull: at North Beach there were 2 on 14/3 and 3 from 23-25/3. All birds were summer plumaged adults.

Great Black-headed Gull: At Eilat, 4 (3 1st winters and a summer plumaged adult) on 14/3, a 1st winter on 24/3, 2 1st winters on 25/3, 1st winter on 26/3 and an adult and 1st winter on 27/3.

Black-headed Gull: fairly common.

Slender-billed Gull: regularly seen at Eilat, max. 50 there on 14/3.

Lesser-black-backed Gull: regularly seen at Eilat with the majority of birds showing characteristics of the race fuscus, although several intermedius were noted among them.

Herring Gull: small numbers in the Eilat area were michahellis types, but 10+ at Hula on 18/3 were armenicus.

Caspian Tern: 1-5 regularly noted on the salt pans or at North Beach, Eilat.

Sandwich Tern: small numbers noted at Eilat, max.7 on 20/3.

Common Tern: small numbers noted at Eilat.

Little Tern: 1-2 seen at Eilat on several dates from 23/3.

Passerines

Bar-tailed Desert Lark:  up to 4 birds were seen regularly at K33.

Desert Lark: regularly recorded in desert areas, max. 3 at Amrams Pillars on 14/3.

Hoopoe Lark:  up to 4 singing birds were present at K33 throughout the period.

Thick-billed Lark:  at K33 on 23/3, with singles there on 24/3 and 26/3.

Bimaculated Lark: only at K33 when 8 on 15/3, 18 21/3, 1 26/3.

Short-toed Lark:  100+ K33 on 15/3, 30 Sede Boquer on 16/3, 100+ K33 21/3, 23/3 and 24/3 and 30 there on 26/3.

Lesser Short-toed Lark:  10 K33 on 15/3, 2 Milham Well 16/3,1 Sede Boquer 16/3, 1 Ashalim 16/3, 20 K33 21/3 and 23/3, 30 K33 24/3 with 10 there on 26/3.

Crested Lark:  common in suitable habitat.

Skylark:  5 at Ashalim on 16/3.

Temminck's Horned Lark:  at K33, 14 on 15/3, 5 on 21/3, 2 on 24/3 and 4 26/3. They were part of an exceptional influx into the southern Arava involving several hundred birds. At least 2 pairs were breeding at K33 by the time we left - the first confirmed breeding in the area for over 30 years.

Sand Martin:  small numbers noted in Eilat.

Rock Martin:  small numbers seen in the mountains around Eilat, Nahal Dragot and Milham Well.

Crag Martin:  1 flew in off the sea at Eilat on 20/3.

Swallow:  widespread and fairly common throughout.

Red-rumped Swallow: 5 Eilat 14/3, 4 near Tiberias 18/3, 8 Mount Arbel 19/3, 2 north end of Lake Tiberias 19/3,2  Eilat 21/3, 5 Yotvata 23/3.

House Martin:  widespread with small numbers noted throughout.

Tawny Pipit:  regularly seen at K33, max. 30 on 15/3.

Long-billed Pipit:  a singing bird at Wadi Ammud on 19/3.

Tree Pipit:  singles at Eilat on 24/3 and 26/3.

Red-throated Pipit:  small numbers recorded throughout at Eilat and Urim.

Water Pipit:  small numbers noted at Eilat during the second week only.

Yellow Wagtail:  common at Eilat during the second week. Birds of the race feldegg were by far the commonest but thunbergi, flava and superciliaris were also noted.

Citrine Wagtail:  a superb male was at North Fields on 24/3.

White Wagtail:  common and widespread.

Yellow-vented Bulbul:  common.

Wren:  a single at Mount Hermon on 18/3.

Robin:  a single at Tiberias on 19/3.

Bluethroat:  regularly recorded in the Eilat area.

Black Redstart:  single females at Wadi Ammud on 19/3 and Eilat on 21/3.

Redstart:  a male samamisicus type was at Shizzafon on 15/3.

Blackstart:  regularly seen in desert areas.

Stonechat:  singles at En Avdat on 17/3 and Nizzana 17/3.

Isabelline Wheatear: regularly seen at North Fields, Eilat and K33 with up to 10 birds present. Away from here, 5 at Shizzafon 15/3, 1 Millham Well 16/3, 2 Ovda 16/3, 2 Sede Boquer 16/3.

Northern Wheatear: regularly recorded in small numbers, especially at K33 and Eilat.

Black-eared Wheatear:  small numbers (max. 3) seen at Eilat, K33 and Shizzafon.

Desert Wheatear: 4 at K33 on 15/3.

Mourning Wheatear: 3 Sede Boquer 16/3 with 1 there on 17/3.

Hooded Wheatear:  a pair near En Netaphim on 22/3.

White-crowned Black Wheatear:  regularly recorded in the mountains around Eilat.

Blue Rock Thrush:  3 Mount Arbel 19/3 and 1 Eilat 21/3.

Blackbird: recorded only in the north of the country.

Cetti's Warbler:  recorded at Mount Arbel, Hula and the northern end of Lake Tiberias.

Graceful Warbler:  common and widespread.

Scrub Warbler:  1 En Netaphim 14/3 and 1 Sede Boquer 16/3.

Savi's Warbler:  at Eilat, 2 on 14/3, 1 on 21/3 and I on 25/3.

Sedge Warbler:  at Eilat on 14/3 and 1 there on 25/3.

Reed Warbler:  fairly common in suitable habitat in the north and irregularly seen around Eilat. Most birds appeared to be of the eastern race fuscus.

Clamorous Reed Warbler:  2 at Hula on 18/3 and 3 at the northern end of Lake Tiberias on 19/3.

Olivaceous Warbler:  1 Wadi Ammud 19/3 and singles at Eilat on 21/3 and 24/3. Booted Warbler: an individual showing characteristics of the race rama (sometimes treated as a separate species, Syke's Warbler) was seen in Eilat on 14/3.  It had been present all winter.

Sardinian Warbler:  2 Eilat 14/3 and 2 Wadi Ammud on 19/3. Cyprus Warbler: a female in Wadi Schlomo on 26/3.

Ruppells Warbler: 1 En Netaphim and 2 Eilat 14/3, 1 Amrams Pillars 15/3, 2 K33 and 3 Eilat 21/3, 2 Eilat 22/3, 1 K33 and 1 Eilat 23/3, 1 Eilat 26/3.

Arabian Warbler: a singing male at Yotvata on 15/3.

Orphean Warbler:  2 Eilat 21/3, 3 Eilat 22/3, 2 K33 and 1 Eilat 23/3 and 2 Eilat 26/3.

Lesser Whitethroat:  common around the wadis in Eilat and most other desert areas.

Whitethroat: singles seen on most days in the wadis around Eilat.

Blackcap: frequently noted but in small numbers.

Bonelli's Warbler:  regularly recorded at Eilat, max.5 on 23/3.

Chiffchaff: common and widespread

Semi-collared Flycatcher: a superb male frequented Wadi Schlomo from 21/3 until at least 26/3.

Arabian Brown Babbler: common and widespread.

Great Tit:  only noted in the north.

Rock Nuthatch: 2 on the boulder strewn slopes of Mount Hermon 18/3.

Wallcreeper:  a superb singleton in Wadi Ammud on 19/3.

Penduline Tit:  a male at the northern end of Lake Tiberias on 19/3.

Orange-tufted Sunbird:  fairly common in the Eilat area, as well as it's surrounding wadis. Regularly seen in other desert areas, Wadi Ammud and around Lake Tiberias.

Great Grey Shrike:  1 at Sede Boquer on 16/3, 1 Mount Arbel 19/3, 3 Wadi Ammud 19/3, 1 Tiberias 19/3, 5 between Tiberias and En Gedi on 20/3 and 2 at K33 on 26/3.

Woodchat Shrike:  2 K33, 1 Shizzafon and 1 Amrams Pillars on 15/3, 2 Urim 17/3, 1 K33 and 1 Eilat 21/3, 3 22/3 and 1 Eilat 24/3.

Masked Shrike:  at Eilat, 1 on 22/3, 1 on 25/3 and 2 on 26/3.

Jay:  small numbers recorded in the north.

House Crow:  seen daily at Eilat with a max. of 30 on 22/3.

Jackdaw:  c200 at Hula on 18/3.

Hooded Crow:  irregularly noted in the north.

Brown-necked Raven:  regularly seen in desert areas.

Northern Raven:  2 Wadi Ammud on 19/3.

Fan-tailed Raven:   fairly common around the Nahal Dragot and En Gedi area on the Dead Sea.

Tristram's Grackle: Quite common in desert areas.

House Sparrow: very common and widespread.

Spanish Sparrow:  common and widespread.

Dead Sea Sparrow:  regularly seen in the North Fields area of Eilat, max. 200 there on 22/3.

Pale Rock Sparrow:  at K33, there were 6 on 15/3 and 6 there on 21/3.

Chaffinch: irregularly noted in the north.

Greenfinch:  fairly common in the north.

Goldfinch:  common in the north.

Siskin:  a flock of 20+ Wadi Schlomo on 22/3 and 24/3.

Linnet:  several seen in the north.

Desert Finch:  2 K33 on 21/3, 19 there on 24/3 and 1 at North Fields, Eilat on 26/3.

Trumpeter Finch:  regularly seen at North Fields, in the wadis around Eilat and at K33, with 30 at the latter site on 21/3.

Ortolan Bunting:  recorded in small numbers at Filat from the 20/3 onwards.

Cretzschmar's Bunting: regularly recorded from 15/3, with up to 10 at several sites throughout the country. The peak count was 20 at Shizzafon on 15/3.

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