Wednesday, June 6, 2012

This Birding Life Episode #37: Birding in Israel

Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Common crane.

Episode 37 of my podcast This Birding Life is now available for downloading or streaming over at Podcast Central. This episode is all about birding in Israel, with a focus on the birds and bird watching in the Hula Valley in the northeastern part of the country.

I visited Israel in November of 2011 for a week of birding and I have to say it was an amazing experience with a super-abundance of birds.

We watched birds in a variety of habitats, including fish ponds on aquaculture farms, where the fish farmers set aside certain ponds for the birds to use. The Hula Valley is like a green, water-rich oasis sitting at the top of a natural migration corridor (the Rift Valley) surrounded by desert. Millions of birds pass through the Hula in spring and fall.

We got out in the field before dawn to watch the common cranes take off to spend the day foraging in the surrounding agricultural fields. And we returned at night to watch them again. The word "spectacle" doesn't quite do the scene justice.

We also birded in remote areas along Israel's borders, where the presence of minefields keeps vast tracts of habitat wild and inhabited only by birds and beasts.

Our hotel courtyard featured several pairs of Palestine sunbird, the nearest thing Middle Eastern bird watchers can get to a hummingbird.

My article about the trip will be in the forthcoming issue of Bird Watcher's Digest, out in the next few days.

I hope you'll give this new episode of This Birding Life a listen. Remember, each podcast episode comes in both audio-only (MP3) and enhanced audio with images (M4a) versions. And they are also available for free in the Podcasts section of the iTunes store.

I'd like to thank Zeiss Sports Optics for sponsoring TBL and Podcast Central.

Until next time, happy listening!