My head us still buzzing after my return from Eilat. I spent almost a week down there, joining the Eilat Bird festival, this year led by Alen, followed by Champions of the Flyway, led by Jonathan. It was an amazing week, full of fantastic birds and birding, wonderful people from all over the world and from Israel, and conservation, friendship, diversity and collaboration. Traditionally it is one of the highlight weeks of my year, and this year was no different. The birding was really good, with intensive migration both in the River of Birds in the Sky and down on the ground. It was great to spend time with some of the best people in the world, all flocking here to Eilat. My BirdLife Israel team, Eilat Bird Festival guests, Champions of the Flyway teams - what a bunch of extraordinary people. Together we watched bird, promoted conservation and had a few beers.
I headed down to Eilat early on Thursday, March 23rd. I picked up Ugandan super-tracker and bird guide Patricia Kansiime from the airport too early, and dragged her with me to Mt. Amasa. Poor girl, she was totally exhausted after a long trip and I made her climb hills and wadis and chase after some little birds. It was a great session, wasn't it Patricia? Highlights were Cinereous Bunting, Eastern Subalpine Warbler and three Rufous-tailed Rock-Thrushes.
We took the scenic route down to Eilat through the Negev towards Eilat, encountering clouds of White Storks and Black Kites, pretty extreme migration to start with. I arrived in Eilat and joined the festival group that had been running already for a few days. The first afternoon session I led was to north beach that was fairly quiet but hosted this stunning, cooperative blue morph Western Reef-Heron:
Yellow-billed Stork! Yesterday while filming w @TheBirdersShow in Kfar Ruppin we got alerted of this mega. A few minutes of rally-driving later we enjoyed fab scope views. @ChrisBellCOL is in the background...@_OSME pic.twitter.com/yPw5cEQFcw— Yoav Perlman (@yoavperlman) March 30, 2023