Trip Report: Southern Israel, March 25 - April 8, 1996

Mark Dennis, Nottingham, England;

After a direct flight from Manchester to Eilat we landed early evening in drizzle, not what was expected. Most reports state that Eilat is not what it was but we were not disappointed. We spent two weeks in a posh hotel (the Palmira) which was handily placed for the North Beach, the Marina and Shulamit Park, and also the canal/date palm area. Once we had the sites sorted we would typically start at dawn around the date palms, have a quick look at the North beach then head for the reservoirs at km 20. We then birded the desert around km33 or km40 and (once discovered) birded Qetura, a sewage canal and compound near the Shizzafon road. We always made a point of going to the km20 reservoirs at least once and sometimes four times a day; we were never disappointed. The whole two weeks gave excellent birding up to and including the flocks of sandgrouse flying over the plane as we left.

Car hire - Its expensive, shop around or pre-book. If you can afford a four-wheel drive, get one. You also really need air-conditioning. Remember to check whether you need your headlights on, it's a requirement which the police seem keen on. We did 2,757 km which included one trip to Massada and a Hadoram day excursion. We also did a Hume's Owl trip, led by Hadoram, which was an experience in itself and enormous fun.

Hadoram's trips - We did the one day trip to Nizzana with a few stops on the way back. We thought it excellent value and saw lots of birds. You can do it yourself but you can also be delayed badly by the army, take your pick. We went to Nizzana sewage farm and the desert nearby and cleaned up. On the way back we stopped for fuel (a must) and had a Semi-collared Flycatcher in the plantation next to the petrol station. We also took in Sede Boquer briefly and a Spectacled Warbler site. When we visit Israel again we will certainly take one of the longer desert trips if available. We also did a Hume's Owl trip to a site four hours north of Eilat. It was very memorable, not least for being told, when 15km from a road, that the area was excellent for Wolf and Striped Hyena.

Sites Visited

Eilat, east of the airport - We found the date palms and scrub alive with birds when we first got there. We also concentrated on the camel pens and any straw/dung dumps between the North Beach and Jordanian border. In this way we had superb views of things like Cretzschmar's Bunting, Indian Silverbill etc. The North Beach was best morning and evening with huge numbers of duck in the bay. When you move north along highway 90, it's worth taking the minor track from the Jordan checkpoint. You don't have to slow down on the main road and you can bird as you go. We found out about Shulamit Park (or Offarim Park) rather late; this was an exceptional site, especially the fountain sump area.

Pumping Station/Cemetery - Both good sites with House Bunting and Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse fairly easy here. At the Cemetery there are Palestine Sunbirds and Trumpeter Finch. House Buntings also like the little leafy wadi to the left of the Cemetery track.

Mount Yoash/Wadi Maplin - We watched most raptor movements from the wadi floor. Take biscuits for the White-crowned Black Wheatears and Desert Larks. Further along the road is Wadi Eteq where Mourning Wheatear were easy.

Km 20 - The North Reservoirs - The best site of all. Its a good idea to stay in the car as much as possible. On the way down check the sparrow flock for the shy Dead Sea Sparrows; they are there but are quick to hide. We also had Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse here both around the (off-limits) farm buildings and flying into Jordan. We were very pleased with the numbers of birds here and the close views afforded. We visited as often as we could but still missed a Wolf and several drinking Steppe and Spotted Eagles. Check out the pools just south of the main reservoirs, they held shyer birds but were hard to watch.

Km 33 - The lark area - It was hot here, get there early if possible. We saw Hoopoe Lark on the way down the track but then it got hard. We did eventually find Bar-tailed Desert Lark but dipped Dunn's. Nearby, as you go north, they were planting date palms which will probably spoil the area; also there was a new reservoir being constructed.

Km 40 - Date palms and desert with a rather poor sewage tank. Plenty of birds around the dung heap including Bimaculated Lark and Rock Thrush. Explore the tracks south into the desert where Cream-coloured Courser are occasionally seen.

Yotvata - Hard work with little of note except Blue-cheeked Bee-eater. We did twitch a singing Rufous Bush-robin on our last morning.

Qetura - A kibbutz with a good sewage farm and canal. The best area is just set back from the road on the right as you go north. We had no problems birding here, nobody stopped us going on, nor did they seem to mind our being there. If in doubt, ask.

Shizzafon - A sewage farm off the Mizpe Ramon road and well worth a few visits.

Hazeva - We found the sewage farm by accident, and it was well worth the stop en-route to Massada. We had Smyrna here and loads of Desert Finch. People on the kibbutz gave us melons, it was very nice. I later discovered that Clamorous Reed Warbler occur near here on a fish farm but have no details.

Zohar Pool - At the junction of highway 90 and 31, there were several species here which we saw nowhere else.

Massada - Take the cable car and don't be too nervous when you count the number of people on-board and then read the maximum load label. Excellent birding on the ruin. We did not get as far as En Gedi but I did get to bob about in the Dead Sea, it was surreal.

Systematic List of 212 Species Recorded

Taxonomy follows Vouss (mainly) and Shirihai 1996.

  1. Little Grebe: Recorded only on the small freshwater pool (Zohar pool) at the Newe Zohar junction of highway 90 and 31. Three birds 5/4.
  2. Night Heron: A single on Zohar pool, 5/4.
  3. Squacco Heron: A single on Qetura sewage pond 4/4.
  4. Cattle Egret: Seen daily in the Date Palm Camel pens.
  5. Green-backed Heron: Two birds chasing each other around the boat gantry south of the Red Rocks Hotel on 31/3. These birds roost on these gantries and can be awkward to see at times (up to three present).
  6. Great White Egret: Five over the Salt Pans 27/3. Single Zohar pool 5/4.
  7. Little Egret: Seen daily in small numbers.
  8. Western Reef Heron: Two birds present throughout both white phase. For much of the time they were off North Beach on the fish platforms but in windy weather occasionally wandered up the sewage canal.
  9. Grey Heron: Common.
  10. Purple Heron: Seen most days around the sewage canal, mainly in ones and twos but some small flocks passed through on several evenings.
  11. White Stork: Around 1500 at Nizzana on 1/4. Odd singles around the Date Palms and North Res.
  12. Black Stork: Seen on several raptor watches from Wadi Maplin. A group of c90 roosting at Qetura swage pool on 3/4. Also seen at Massada on 5/4 and around Hazeva on the same date.
  13. Glossy Ibis: A flock of 21 flew around the North Res. on the evening of 7/4.
  14. Spoonbill: Two at the North Res. on 5/4.
  15. Greater Flamingo: Always present at the North Res. Local birds seem almost white, new arrivals obviously pink.
  16. Shelduck: A single at the North Res most days.
  17. Pintail: Present at the North Res throughout. Off North Beach flocks of up to 400 occasionally seen.
  18. Shoveler: Frequent at North Res. Also in Gulf of Aqaba
  19. Wigeon: Two birds seen at the North Res on odd dates.
  20. Mallard: Three Zohar pool 5/4. Single North Res 7/4.
  21. Garganey: Present most days at North Res. In the Gulf of Aqaba flocks of between 3-400.
  22. Pochard: Two flocks of migrant birds flying up the Arava Valley for around 150 birds.
  23. Honey Buzzard: One at Wadi Maplin 3/4.
  24. Black Kite: Seen daily at watch points or Arava Valley.
  25. Egyptian Vulture: Seen at Wadi Maplin, Arava Valley, Massada, Avdat. Recorded most days.
  26. Griffon Vulture: Seen at Avdat on 1/4 and south of Mizpe Ramon over highway 40 6/4
  27. Short-toed Eagle: Seen on pylons at Km38 on highway 90 and at Massada on 5/4. On 6/4 four birds south of Mizpe Ramon displaying.
  28. Marsh Harrier: Seen regularly around the North Res and Date Palms. Also frequent on raptor watches.
  29. Hen Harrier: Female at Nizzana 1/4, another south of Mizpe Ramon same date. One at Hume's Owl site 6/4.
  30. Pallid Harrier: Female and male at Nizzana 1/4. Male over Salt Pans 8/4.
  31. Levant Sparrowhawk: Male, Timna, 4/4. Two males over Eilat, 8/4.
  32. Sparrowhawk: Seen Date Palms, Timna, Eilat.
  33. 'Steppe' Buzzard: Something between 19 - 21,000 birds seen over the two weeks. Passage most pronounced on brisk winds from the north or north-west.
  34. Long-legged Buzzard: Seen on passage on raptor watches on several dates. Resident birds seen around Avdat with roadside breeders near Mizpe Ramon.
  35. Golden Eagle: One adult near Mizpe Ramon on 6/4.
  36. Spotted Eagle: At least six birds seen, mostly as singles while raptor watching but one over Km33 on 26/3.
  37. Imperial Eagle: A sub-adult over Km33 on 30/3.
  38. Steppe Eagle: Trip total of about 40 - 50 birds. Seen on all raptor watches usually as singles. No doubt more would have been seen had we spent more time raptor watching.
  39. Lesser Spotted Eagle: A trip total of around 75 birds, sixty of which were in half an hour over Massada on 5/4. Also seen frequently from early April on raptor watches and at Nizzana on 1/4.
  40. Booted Eagle: Pale phase near Sede Boquer 1/4, 1 pale, 1 dark near Mizpe Ramon 6/4. Pale phase over the Date Palms 7/4.
  41. Osprey: One over plains south of Mizpe Ramon 1/4. One in desert and one over Amrans Pillars 6/4.
  42. Lanner: Superb male near Mizpe Ramon.
  43. Merlin: Male of the race pallidus Nizzana 1/4. Female around Date Palms 7/4.
  44. Eleonora's Falcon: Pale phase around Date Palms on 4/4.
  45. Barbary Falcon: Five seen. A male around Qetura sewage pond 29/4. Singles also seen around Amrans Pillars, Timna, North Res and Eilat Date Palms.
  46. Peregrine: A single brookei at Massada on 5/4.
  47. Kestrel: Fairly common but not seen daily.
  48. Chukar: Seen only at Shizzafon on 3/4.
  49. Sand Partridge: Common in most mountain Wadis.
  50. Quail: Very confiding with birds feeding out at the North Res on several dates. Also seen around Date Palms, at Shizzafon at Km40.
  51. Little Crake: A female on the second reedy pool south of the North Res on 7/4.
  52. Spotted Crake: One in the sewage canal at Qetura on 29/4. One 'singing' at the same reedy pool as the Little Crake on the same date.
  53. Moorhen: Single seen on Zohar Pool on 5/4.
  54. Coot: Three on Zohar Pool on 5/4.
  55. Houbara Bustard: Five males, all displaying at some point, Nizzana, 1/4.
  56. Black-winged Stilt: Seen at most wet sites in numbers from five to fifty. Also seen coming off the seas in the Gulf of Aqaba.
  57. Avocet: Two on the North Res 26-27/4.
  58. Cream-coloured Courser: After a long walk in the hot sun, two by the roadside at Nizzana on 1/4.
  59. Black-winged Pratincole: Seventeen roosting on the Salt Pans on 8/4.
  60. Collared Pratincole: Single on the North Res on 2/4, another two there on 7/4.
  61. Kentish Plover: Up to fifty around the North Res on each visit.
  62. Little Ringed Plover: Seen at North Res and on most sewage ponds.
  63. Ringed Plover: Plentiful on the North Res
  64. Greater Sandplover: Trip total of around fifteen birds. Seen on each visit to the North Res.
  65. Grey Plover: Single at the North Res on most visits.
  66. Spur-winged Plover: Common on all waters and in some agricultural areas. Estimated 75 seen in total.
  67. White-tailed Plover: A single on the North Sewage until early April. Very confiding.
  68. Sanderling: One at Nizzana on 1/4.
  69. Dunlin: Five to twenty on most North Res trips.
  70. Curlew Sandpiper: Two singles at the North Res on different dates.
  71. Little Stint: Up to 50 on most North Res trips.
  72. Temminck's Stint: Only odd singles on a couple of dates at North Res
  73. Ruff: Up to thirty on most North Res trips.
  74. Snipe: Seen at most wetland sites in ones and twos.
  75. Curlew: Two regularly at the North Res.
  76. Greenshank: Only around four birds seen on odd dates at the North Res.
  77. Marsh Sandpiper: Odd singles and one group of six at the North Res.
  78. Redshank: Common at North Res.
  79. Green Sandpiper: On most sewage ponds and regular at the North Res.
  80. Common Sandpiper: Seen only at the sewage ponds of Qetura, North sewage and Yotvata.
  81. Grey Phalarope: One in winter plumage for several days at North Res.
  82. Arctic Skua: One dark and two pale phase birds over North Beach on 26/3 (and not frigatebirds as ID'd by some Germans). Two in the same area on 31/3.
  83. Audouin's Gull: An adult perched up with the Slender-billeds off North beach on 4/4.
  84. Yellow-legged Gull (pres Caspian): Frequent off the North Beach.
  85. Siberian Gull: Five birds of this 'species' on the North Res on 4/4.
  86. Lesser Black-backed Gull: Large numbers flying up the Arava Valley most days.
  87. Slender-billed Gull: Always up to fifty around the North Res plus passage up the Arava of up to 250 birds most days. Seen off North beach daily.
  88. Great Black-headed Gull: Two stonking adults off North Beach on 26/3. Two 1st summers seen with the migrating gull flocks on separate dates.
  89. White-eyed Gull: Present every evening off the North Beach with a maximum of sixteen one evening. Most birds were adults but a least two 1st summer present.
  90. Little Gull: One 1st summer off North Beach on 26/3.
  91. Black-headed Gull: Seen daily in varying numbers.
  92. Gull-billed Tern: Single off North Beach on 26/3 and single at North Res on 5/4.
  93. Sandwich Tern
  94. Little Tern: Two off North Beach on 8/4 with a further three over the Salt Pans on the same date.
  95. Caspian Tern: Up to three birds in the North Beach/Salt Pans area throughout. These birds flew up the Marina channel regularly passing over the footbridge within five yards.
  96. Common Tern: Seen on most visits to the North Beach.
  97. Whiskered Tern: A single over the Date Palms 4/4.
  98. White-winged Black Tern: Three summer plumaged birds at the North Res on 5/4.
  99. Pin-tailed Sandgrouse: c400+ Nizzana, 1/4.
  100. Crowned Sandgrouse: One (phew) Nizzana 1/4.
  101. Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse: Four birds seen in daylight feeding by the North Res poly tunnels on 26/3. Around 40 at the Pumping Station on the evening of 29/3. Eight on the Jordan side of the North Res border fence flying up the Arava on 5/4.
  102. Black-bellied Sandgrouse: c70 Nizzana, 1/4.
  103. Spotted Sandgrouse: c450 Nizzana, 1/4. c75 near Mizpe Ramon, 1/4. c80 over Ovda airport as we climbed the steps of the plane to leave Israel 8/4.
  104. Rock Dove: Common as a feral.
  105. Collared Dove: Common. No 'African' types seen despite searching for them.
  106. Laughing Dove: Very common.
  107. Turtle Dove: Three in a wadi near Avdat, 6/4.
  108. Namaqua Dove: Seen on each visit to the North Res. From early April odd ones and twos appeared around the poly tunnels near the Eilat Date Palms.
  109. Great Spotted Cuckoo: One over Sede Boquer on 1/4.
  110. Hume's Owl: One eventually showed at a Wadi well north of Eilat despite a procession of four-wheeled drive vehicles (much to Hadoram's surprise). The desert at night was incredible with the sky full of stars and the comet 'showing well'. As we waited Hadoram told us that this Wadi was good for Striped Hyena, Wolf and Leopard (gulp) but sadly none seen. The whole experience was well worth fifteen quid and you get to scope the owl too.
  111. Long-eared Owl: Two birds near Nizzana on 1/4.
  112. Swift: Not very common and only odd birds seen with few flocks over twenty.
  113. Alpine Swift: Common at Avdat and seen at several sites on passage including the Eilat Date Palms and mountains.
  114. Pallid Swift: Seen around the Date Palms on 26/3.
  115. Ring-necked Parakeet: Three over the Date palms on 26/3.
  116. Smyrna Kingfisher: Two on a sewage pond on the way the En Gedi on 5/4.
  117. Kingfisher: One on a couple of dates around the sewage canal and North beach.
  118. Pied Kingfisher: Up to three around the North beach throughout.
  119. Bee-eater: Seen at several sites but most reliable around the poly tunnels at the North Res.
  120. Blue-cheeked Bee-eater: A tatty single at the North Res on a couple of dates. A single at Yotvata on 6/4.
  121. Little Green Bee-eater: Present at most Arava Valley sites and seen daily.
  122. Hoopoe: Seen daily in Date Palms and at the North Res.
  123. Wryneck: Seen at Shulamit Park on all visits with up to ten birds present some days. Very tame.
  124. Bar-tailed Desert Lark: Rather elusive and only seen twice at Km33.
  125. Desert Lark: Common in most mountain Wadis, especially around picnic areas.
  126. Hoopoe Lark: Three individuals seen at Km33 but became more elusive in early April.
  127. Bimaculated Lark: One at Km40 on 4/4 with c150 Short-toeds took about five visits to see!
  128. Short-toed Lark: Common and seen daily at most Arava Valley sites. Common at Nizzana.
  129. Lesser Short-toed Lark: Seen at Nizzana on 1/4 and near Mizpe Ramon n 1/4 and 6/4.
  130. Crested Lark: Fairly common.
  131. Skylark: Seen only at Nizzana on 1/4.
  132. Temminck's Horned Lark: Five birds at Nizzana on 1/4 were the first there for four years.
  133. Sand Martin: Common as a passage migrant.
  134. Rock Martin: Seen around most sewage ponds/canals daily.
  135. Crag Martin: Seen in mountains and occasionally around some sewage ponds.
  136. Red-rumped Swallow: Common on passage.
  137. Barn Swallow: Common on passage.
  138. House Martin: Not very common but present most days on passage.
  139. Tawny Pipit: One at Yotvata on 28/3 looked 'normal'. One at Km40 on 3/4 was of the race griseus. This race is very greyish and long billed and may have been the one claimed as a Long-billed Pipit at the North Res on the same date.
  140. Red-throated Pipit: Very common (and tame). Seen daily at most wet or green sites. Shulamit park usually had twenty or so and the North Res and North Sewage always had good numbers.
  141. Richard's Pipit: Single in the Date Palms on 27/3. Another by Eilat Airport on 2/4.
  142. Meadow Pipit: Odd singles around the Date Palms, Shulamit Park and North Sewage.
  143. Buff-bellied Pipit: One in Shulamit park on 27/3. One at North Sewage on same date.
  144. Water Pipit: Several around North Res and North Sewage on most days.
  145. Tree Pipit: Common. Birds in Shulamit Park approachable to within two feet!
  146. White Wagtail: Common at most sites.
  147. Citrine Wagtail: A male and female at North Sewage on 27/3. A male at Shizzafon 28/3. A male at Nizzana on 1/4. A female at Qetura sewage canal on 3/4.
  148. Yellow Wagtail: Common, especially in Shulamit Park with Black-headed, Grey-headed and Blue-headed all seen plus variations on the theme.
  149. Yellow-vented Bulbul: Common everywhere.
  150. Rufous Bushchat: Twitched at Yotvata on the last morning (8/4) when a male sang and displayed just to the right of the sewage pond gate.
  151. Thrush Nightingale: One seen well in Shulamit Park on 4/4.
  152. Nightingale: Heard calling a couple of times in Shulamit Park but finally seen on 4/4 there.
  153. Bluethroat: Fairly common with birds adopting puddles in the Date Palms and remaining faithful to them for several days. Also seen in Shulamit Park and on most sewage ponds and dung heaps.
  154. Black Redstart: Scarce, just a couple of males seen in the Date Palms.
  155. Redstart: Common in the Date Palms and other areas with cover. Race phoenicurus the commoner but c20+ samamisicus also seen.
  156. Stonechat: Two eastern types. One around the Date Palms on 27/3, another feeding on the ground wheatear-like at the North Res on 7/4.
  157. Blackstart: Common in all Wadis.
  158. Desert Wheatear: A single female at Km33 on 28/3.
  159. Black-eared Wheatear: Very common at the end of March with up to 30 a day. Later birds moved on with 1-3 only. Seen in all areas.
  160. Isabelline Wheatear: Trip total of c25 with birds seen around Eilat, at Km40, at Nizzana and south of Mizpe Ramon. Also at Shizzafon and Qetura.
  161. White-crowned Black Wheatear: Common in all Wadis.
  162. Mourning Wheatear: Present in some Wadis and breeding on the ruin at Avdat. Wadi Eteq which is between Km32-33 on the Ovda road was a good site.
  163. Hooded Wheatear: Five birds, all males. Seemed to like sewage farm fences and birds at North Sewage and Shizzafon always seemed present.
  164. Wheatear: Common.
  165. Pied Wheatear: A male was around the building site by the Red Sea Hotel and was the third bird species we saw. Little did we know that Pied Wheatear is a local rarity.
  166. Rock Thrush: A male on the dung heap at Km40 on 27/4 remained for about a week.
  167. Blackbird: Seen only in the picnic/tea shop near Sede Boquer.
  168. Graceful Warbler: Common in all wetlands with grassy cover.
  169. Scrub Warbler: Present in most Wadis but can be elusive.
  170. Savi's Warbler: One in Shulamit Park favoured a drain on the south side. What was presumably the same bird (but you never know) was later seen walking around on the grass like an arthritic plain pipit.
  171. Sedge Warbler: Odd singles in Shulamit Park and in the sewage canal.
  172. Reed Warbler: Two in the Shulamit Park throughout.
  173. Olivaceous Warbler: Fairly common and seen regularly at most sites with cover. The Shulamit Park usually had a couple on each visit.
  174. Blackcap: Dirt common.
  175. Garden Warbler: Only odd singles seen mainly in Shulamit Park.
  176. Whitethroat: As with the previous species, just odd birds.
  177. Lesser Whitethroat: Ten times commoner than Blackcap in solitary desert bushes.
  178. Spectacled Warbler: Four birds seen on two dates south of Mizpe Ramon.
  179. Orphean Warbler: A single in the poly tunnels at the North Res on 26/3.
  180. Arabian Warbler: Awkward. Female seen just before Yotvata on 28/3. A male by the Yotvata sewage pond on 3/4. A male in a Kibbutz on 5/4.
  181. Sardinian Warbler: Seen only in the City Park Wadi on 2/4.
  182. Desert Warbler: One at the reedy pool at North Res on 7/4.
  183. Rüppell's Warbler: seen daily at the end of March with Shulamit Park and many trees in Eilat holding birds. In all around 30 seen.
  184. Bonelli's Warbler: Very common and present in all vegetation. Most birds seemed to be typical Bonelli's and called very much like European birds.
  185. Eastern Bonelli's Warbler: Though not (yet) a full species, the chip chip weak Crossbill type call drew our attention to one bird in Eilat town centre on 8/4. The bird itself seemed browner than other Bonelli's seen. Once the call had been traced to a bird it was clear that several had been heard previously.
  186. Chiffchaff: Not very common but small numbers in the Date Palms and reedy pools at the North Res.
  187. Willow Warbler: A couple of birds seen in Shulamit Park but generally uncommon and lost in the large numbers of Bonelli's, i.e., you stop looking at every small Phyllosc
  188. Spotted Flycatcher: Singles seen at Yotvata and Eilat.
  189. Semi-collared Flycatcher: An excellent and instructive female at the garage near Nizzana on 1/4. Hadoram found this bird while we refuelled the car!
  190. Arabian Babbler: Common in most sites with cover. One bird tends to mean anything from 5 to 15 are nearby.
  191. Palestine Sunbird: Easy to see in the Eilat Cemetery and at Yotvata. Others were present elsewhere.
  192. Great Grey Shrike: Lots of aucheri birds with residents at Km33 and c15 seen en-route to Nizzana.
  193. Lesser Grey Shrike: One at Km33 on 3/4 was very early and resulted in a UK vs Denmark argument as to the ID. In the end I agreed with their Lesser Grey ID only because they had a scope view!
  194. Masked Shrike: Common with most Date Palms holding 3-5 birds. Numbers petered out in early April but birds could still be found for a day list.
  195. Woodchat Shrike: Slightly less common than Masked but still seen daily.
  196. Hooded Crow: Two seen near Nizzana on 1/4.
  197. Fan-tailed Raven: Seen only at Massada on 5/4.
  198. Brown-necked Raven: Common in both mountains and desert.
  199. Indian House Crow: Present around Eilat only. Nesting in a pylon on the North Beach fence.
  200. Tristram's Grackle: Seen most days around Eilat when between 10-50 birds would whistle overhead. At Massada they are very common and tame.
  201. House Sparrow: Common.
  202. Spanish Sparrow: Common and seen daily in good numbers.
  203. Dead Sea Sparrow: Seen on each visit to the North Res but nervous and best observed from a parked car. Females easy to pick out from the House and Spanish Sparrows by small size and rust undertail coverts. Other birds were more elusive but a grassy area on the Jordanian border at the back of the Date Palms usually had a few.
  204. Indian Silverbill: Seen in the Date Palms on two dates.
  205. Goldfinch: Seen at Sede Boquer and on North Sewage.
  206. Greenfinch: Seen only at Sede Boquer.
  207. Trumpeter Finch: Seen in the Cemetery on 29/3 feeding amongst the gravestones or displaying (4 birds) on the adjacent hillsides.
  208. Desert Finch: Seen at Sede Boquer where two birds gave brief views on 1/4. At Hazeva common in Kibbutz with c150 on 5/4
  209. Sinai Rosefinch: Just lucky I think, four birds, all females, at Amrans Pillars on 26/3 but despite repeat trips no more seen. (A male was seen at Wadi Eteq in early April by other birders).
  210. Cretzschmar's Bunting: Common until early April when numbers declined. North Res and the Camel pens always held a few.
  211. Ortolan: Not many seen, odd birds, mainly males were at Km40, North Res, Aqaba crossing and Date Palms.
  212. House Bunting: Seen well drinking at the Sandgrouse 'pool' at Eilat on 29/3. Two birds were nest building in City park Wadi on 2/4.

Missed (but not complaining): Hobby, Caspian Plover, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Scops Owl, Dunn's Lark, Cyprus Warbler, Collared Flycatcher, Starling, Syrian Serin, Cinereous Bunting

Also seen:

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This page served with permission of the author by Urs Geiser;; March 17, 1999; corrected March 31, 1999