Wow, what a year this was. It was a year of extreme birding non-stop, accompanied by professional changes - never a dull moment. As in 2020, COVID-19 prevented me from boarding a plane, so my birding was focused internally. My birding in 2021 was dominated by my Big Year effort; more on this below. I did a lot of fieldwork, and continued to bird very hard, every day. As in previous years, I will summarise the year thematically, here we go:
After doing well in 2020 but not well enough, I was determined to give it all I can in 2021. I knew that I have to see as many birds as possible from January 1st, and not let go for a minute until the year ends. I managed to keep the pace throughout the year. Check my monthly totals in eBird below - my effort in the first months of the year is visible. Only in June I dropped below 170 species per month; in seven months I saw over 200 species. The drop in December is a result of me having a new job, restraining me to more local birding, and also the fact that I had very few new birds left to see.
In late spring Israel was flooded by an exceptional wave of migrants. Its epicenter was in southern Israel, but was felt well everywhere. It was really exciting to go out birding, and difficult spring came in big numbers, such as River Warbler and Whote-throated Robin. Our Global Big Day run on May 8th exposed us to some extreme migration experiences that will be remembered for years to come.