After two years of covid, finally this year our successful Eilat Birding Festival returned. It was so wonderful to see here again visiting birders - festival guests and others. I joined the week-long festival halfway through, on Wednesday, and returned home last night. It was a busy few days, leading tours and helping Jonathan and Alen with logistics almost 24/7. Birding was brilliant, some sites were packed with migrants, and there were lots of good birds to see.
Heading south on Wednesday, I intercepted Lesser Spotted Eagle migration south of Be'er Sheva:
Further south, I made a quick stop at Wadi Sha'alav, in hope that the Turkestan Shrike would still be there. It wasn't, but the place was literally hopping with birds (eBird checklist here) - thousands of warblers, larks and wagtails feasting on abundant caterpillars. It was beautiful there despite the high temperatures and harsh light.
Next day (March 31st) we started off early at Uvda Valley. It was a bit slow to start, but eventually we found where the birds were concentrated and enjoyed fab views of Crowned and Spotted Sandgrouse, and had fun with Bar-tailed and Temminck's Larks. eBird checklist here. On the way back we stopped again at Wadi Sha'alav that was still productive, and there was nice raptor migration overhead (eBird checklist here).