Trip Report: Eilat (Israel) and Petra (Jordan), December 24-31, 1996

Pierre Unge, Västra Rönneholmsvägen 50c, S-217 41 Malmö, SWEDEN; Tfn +46 40 260574, Mobiltfn +46 706 210258; or

First trip to Israel. Wife, mother, sister and brother-in-law participated and they are NOT birdwatchers.

Weather: Warm (20-25 C at daytime), sunny with some clouds. Two days (27th and 28th ) were very windy with strong winds from the south. The weather in Petra was quite cold with heavy overcast and really bad for watching vultures and other species.

Other birdwatchers: A female Finnish birdwatcher at North Beach first morning. Through IBCE (International Birdwatching Centre of Eilat) I met an American living in Brussels and an Englishman living in Frankfurt. There were also two Danish guys whom I met later and a Swedish guy who I met in Petra.

Locations visited

96-12-25 Cemetery 07.00-09.00

96-12-26 North Beach-Arawa Border 07.00-11.30, Water Pump Station 15.00-17.15

96-12-27 Guided Tour by International Birdwatching Centre of Eilat 07.30-13.30, North Beach 15.00-17.00

96-12-28 Km 33, Km 40 07.00-13.00, North Beach 15.00-17.00

96-12-29 Petra

96-12-30 North Beach-Arawa Border 07.00-10.30

96-12-31 Nahal Shahmon 09.00-10.00


Contact IBCE to see if there are any organised trips led by local birders. Very effective if you quickly wants to see the interesting species.

The interesting birds at Petra were found from the entrance and before entering the gorge. When in Petra head for the "High Place" - in nice weather an astounding good observation spot. The walk to the "High Place" is fairly easy but it takes about 45 minutes to get there. The rest of Petra is not so interesting from a birdwatching view.


E = Eilat
WPS = Water Pumping Station
NB = North Beach
SP = Salt Pans
NS = Nahal Shahmon
Cem = Cemetery
IBCE = Tour by IBCE

Podiceps ruficollis       Little Grebe              1 at K18.5
Podiceps cristatus        Great Crested Grebe       1 at NB
Podiceps nigricollis      Black-necked Grebe        2-3 at K18.5
Calonectris diomedea      Cory's Shearwater         2 at NB
Sula leucogaster          Brown Booby               3 at NB
Phalacrocorax carbo       Cormorant                 NB
Egretta gularis           Western Reef Heron        15-20 at NB
Egretta alba              Great White Egret         1 at SP
Ardea cinerea             Grey Heron                NB,SP
Phoenicopterus ruber      Flamingo                  Around 20 at K20
Tadorna tadorna           Shelduck                  K20
Anas crecca               Common Teal               K20,K40
Anas platyrhynchos        Mallard                   K20 
Anas acuta                Northern Pintail          K20
Anas clypeata             Northern Shoveler         K18.5, K20 
Accipiter nisus           Sparrowhawk               WPS
Buteo buteo               Steppe Buzzard            1 at K18.5
Buteo rufinus             Long-legged Buzzard       1 at Ein Netafim
Aquila nipalensis         Steppe Eagle              1 at WPS, 33 at Petra
Aquila heliaca            Imperial Eagle            1 adult at WPS 
Hieraaetus pennatus       Booted Eagle              1 light phase at Arawa
Falco tinnunculus         Eurasian Kestrel          IBCE, Petra
Falco biamircus           Lanner                    WPS, Eilat (while waiting
                                                    for the jeep)
Falco peregrinus          Peregrine Falcon          1 adult female at K18.5
Ammoperdix heyi           Sand Partridge            IBCE
Gallinula chloropus       Moorhen                   K18.5
Fulica atra               Eurasian Coot             K18.5, K40 
Himantopus himantopus     Black-winged Stilt        SP, K20
Recurvirostra avosetta    Avocet                    2 at K20       
Char. leschenaultii       Greater Sand Plover       24 at Oil harbour in Eilat
Char. alexandrinus        Kentish Plover            1 at K20
Calidris minuta           Little Stint              K20
Calidris alpina           Dunlin                    K20 
Tringa totanus            Redshank                  NB,SP, K20
Tringa stagnatilis        Marsh Sandpiper           1 at SP
Tringa nebularia          Greenshank                SP,K20
Larus leucopthalamus      White-eyed Gull           Around 40-50 at the most NB 
Larus ichtyaetus          Great Black-H. Gull       1 juv at NB
Larus ridibundus          Black-headed Gull         NB,SP
Larus genei               Slender-billed Gull       2 at NB 
Larus cachinnans/arm.     Yellow-legged Gull        NB, SP
Sterna caspia             Caspian Tern              2 at NB, 1 at SP
Pter. Lichtensteinii      Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse 32 at WPS    
Columba livia             Rock Dove                 IBCE, Petra
Streptopelia decaocto     Collared Dove             Eilat,K40
Streptopelia turtur       Turtle Dove               Eilat
Streptopelia senegalensis Laughing Dove             Eilat
Oena capensis             Namaqua Dove              1 f at Arawa border,
                                                    2 f at K20
Otus brucei               Striated Scops Owl        1 at NS on two occasions
Apus pallidus             Pallid Swift              2 at K33
Alcedo atthis             Kingfisher                1 at SP
Ceryle rudis              Pied Kingfisher           At least 3 at NB
Merops orientalis         Little Gr. Bee-eater      IBCE, SP, K40, total of
                                                    around 40
Upupa epops               Hoopoe                    1 at K40
Ammomanes cincturus       Bar-tailed Desert Lark    2 at K33 
Ammomanes deserti         Desert Lark               Ein Netafim, Cem, Petra,
Alaemon alaudipes         Hoopoe Lark               3 at K33
Galerida cristata         Crested Lark              Arawa border, K33
Ptyonoprogne fuligula     Rock Martin               Arawa border, K40
Anthus pratensis          Meadow Pipit              NB
Anthus spinoletta         Water Pipit               NB
Anthus rubescens          Buff-Bellied Pipit        1 at Arawa Border
Motacilla alba            White Wagtail             Eilat
Pycnonotus xanthopygos    White-spectacled Bulbyl   Eilat, Cem, NB, Arawa, K40
Luscinia svecica          Bluethroat                Arawa border, K40
Phoenicurus ochruros      Black Redstart            K40, Petra
Cercomela melanura        Blackstart                Cem, IBCE, Petra, K40, NS
Oenanthe deserti          Desert Wheatear           Two males at K20 and a 
                                                    female at K33 
Oenanthe lugens           Mourning Wheatear         1 male at Cem, 1 male at
Oenanthe monacha          Hooded Wheatear           IBCE, 1 male 1 and 1 f. at
Oenanthe leucopyga        Wh.-cr. Bl. Wheatear      Cem, IBCE
Prinia gracilis           Graceful Warbler          NB, IBCE, K40
Scotocerca inquieta       Scrub Warbler             IBCE, Petra
Acrocephalus stentoreus   Clam. Reed Warbler        1 singing at K18.5
Sylvia melanocephala      Sardinian Warbler         IBCE, Cem, K40, Arawa Border
Sylvia nana               Desert Warbler            3 at K33
Phylloscopus collybita    Chiffchaff                K40, Arawa Border
Turdoides squamiceps      Arabian Babbler           K40
Nectarinia osea           Palestine Sunbird         Cem, IBCE, NS, K40
Lanius excubitor          Great Grey Shrike         1 at K40
Corvus splendens          Indian House Crow         Eilat, NB
Corvus ruficollis         Brown-necked Raven        IBCE, K40
Corvus rhipidurus         Fan-tailed Raven          Around 100 at Petra
Onychognathus tristramii  Tristram's Grackle        Eilat, Around 3000 at K40
Passer domesticus         House Sparrow             Eilat, IBCE, Petra, Cem
Passer hispaniolensis     Spanish Sparrow           NB, Arawa Border, Petra
Passer moabiticus         Dead Sea Sparrow          K18.5
Fringilla coelebs         Chaffinch                 1 female at Arawa Border
Carduelis chloris         Greenfinch                Arawa Border, Petra, K20
Carduelis carduelis       Goldfinch                 1 at K40
Rhodospiza obsoleta       Desert Finch              Around 30 at Arawa Border
Bucanetes githagineus     Trumpeter Finch           Around 20 at ICBE
Carpodacus synoicus       Sinai Rosefinch           Around 10 at Petra

Birds seen by others

Gavia arctica             Black-throated diver      1 at New Lagoon
Butorides striatus        Green-backed Heron        1 at NB (in the fishfarms)
Torgos tracheliotus       Lappet-faced vulture      1 at Petra
Sylvia leucomelaena       Arabian Warbler           Several around K40
Phylloscopus humei        Hume's Warbler            1 at K40

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This page served by Urs Geiser;; January 10, 1997