For a few years now, every Global Big Day Jonathan, Re'a and me get together, to represent Champions of the Flyway in this fantastic event organised by eBird. Until now, all our Big Days took place in northern Israel (see e.g. May 2020). Birding is great up there, very varied, lots of quality, but also lots of driving, and normally migration up north is quite slow in spring. This year we decided to change strategy. First, we decided to focus on the far south, to experience the wonders of migration there. Second, we wanted to drive less during the day, so we limited our daytime birding to Eilat and southern Arava only.
For about a week now, reports have been coming in from Eilat region, of spectacular migration, unprecedented for some species. I was in agony the whole week because I was unable to travel down south to experience the spectacle first-hand. I had to wait until Global Big Day, and I am happy the birds waited for us too.
Champions of the Flyway team met up at silly o'clock, this year joined by Rony. Driving by Be'er Sheva in the middle of the night, a Corncrake ran across the highway. I almost run it over, we pulled over and watched it running by the road. Crazy stuff, a first taster to what was expecting us later on.
In the northern Arava Valley we met up with a family of Pharaoh Eagle Owl. They were distant and we had no time to waste on sophisticated night photography, so I came out with these atmospheric shots, as the moon rose over the mountains of Jordan across the Rift Valley.