It's that time of year again, time to look back at what I have been up to in the past year. 2022 was a funny year: It was the first year I didn't go for a Big year challenge - you may remember that in 2020 and 2021 I went for the challenge in full blast (also in 2019 I did a partial Big Year). It was sometimes challenging not to run for every bird, and then came the realisation - 'Hey! I'm not doing a Big Year! How fun is that!'. In 2022 I moved in a different, slightly slower pace, from a birding point of view at least. This was my first full year on the new job as director of BirdLife Israel. Life is very busy now, but not busy enough to stop me from birding. I still bird and eBird daily - my eBird birding streak in now over four years long (1468 today). In this summary I will cover my birding and wildlife highlights of the year, in a thematic manner.
Birding in Israel
My birding year was very enjoyable. Thanks to my work style, and geographic distribution of projects and sites, I was able to bird quite much around the country. Unless something dramatic happens until Saturday night, this year I saw 363 species in Israel. This places me at #3 on the national eBird scoreboard, after Igal Siman Tov (currently 393) and Avner Rinot (390), who both went full blast on their Big Year challenges. Here's a comparative table of my annual totals in recent years:
In 2022 I submitted 590 eBird Israel checklists to date (at least two more will be added until the end of the year), and uploaded to eBird 460 photos, 30 sound recordings and 45 videos. I am quite happy with my 2022 totals, they reflect my strong motivation to go outdoors every day and enjoy the best birding Israel can offer, without running for each and every species. For example, I didn't go for stuff like Goldcrest and Yellowhammer that require long-distance trips specifically for them. I also didn't twitch each and every good birds. I enjoyed high capacity, high quality birding, without the extra pressure of a Big Year. I enjoyed finding my own birds - some of my better finds this year included Little Bunting, Oriental Turtle-Dove, Ruddy Shelduck, Olive-backed Pipit. It was a good year! I kept going quite hard all year, only in summer I slowed down a bit, because of trips to the UK and Kenya (see below). These are my monthly eBird totals:
In 2022 I added three species to my Israel life list, that stands now on approximately 482 (depends on which taxonomy is used): Manx Shearwater in Eilat on May 6th, Yellow-throated Sparrow in the Golan Heights on June 27th, and African Crake in Eilat on December 5th. The discovery of a breeding population of Yellow-throated Sparrow was one of the most amazing birding moments of the year - check my account on our website.
Global Big Day from Israel 🇮🇱— Global Birding (@global_birding) May 15, 2022
A fantastic team from @flywaychampions @BirdLifeIsrael with @JMeyrav & @yoavperlman
Always supportive & they do a massive amount for conservation
See you guys next time 😀
Thanks as ever to them all#birdsuniteourworld @Team_eBird @BirdLife_News pic.twitter.com/Lwi3OZSLoU
Within a radius of 10 km from home I birded my local sites as much as possible. Hulda Reservoir continues to be a favourite. Piki and I have a Saturday morning tradition to bird there together - we went there together 21 times in 2022, and saw 167 species.