Times indicate time of arrival in local WINTER TIME
Sunrise on these days at 6.50 and sunset at 16.30
29.12 10.50-15.20 Maga'an Michael, 16.15-17.20 Tishlovit Reservoir 30.12-1.1 Tel Aviv University, attending a meeting 2.1 07.00-12.00 Mount Arbel, 12.30-13.40 Nahal (Wadi) Ammud 14.30-17.00 Hula (14.30-16.30 Private Fishing ponds and 16.40-17.00 Cotton plant road) 3.1 07.00-12.30 Hula (Cotton plant road + fields only) 14.30-16.00 Tishlovit Reservoir
Temp wind clouds visibility 29.12 - 13.00 12C->18C 12m/sW 7/8 Cb 2km ->10km 13.00 - 24C->20C 3m/sW 1-3/8 Cu,Cb 10km ->25km 2.1 all day 13C- 20C 0bf 0-1/8 Cu 20km ->50km 3.1 - 09.30 10C->17C 0bf 0/8 surface fog 100m ->1km 10.30 - 18C- 21C 0bf 0/8 >50km 15.30 - 18C->15C 6m/sW 0/8 >50km
Five main areas were visited during this short trip. For each site an approximate position (Northing and Easting) within 1km in the coordinate grid in the Survey of Israel is given (e.g. Ben Gurion Airport (156, 139)).
The sites visited are all located North of Tel Aviv. Of my March 1996 itineraries only one site, Ma'agan Michael, was revisited. This time the access to the coast was slightly different and the gate was open, enabling birding of all the ponds North of the Kibbutz by the car.
Continue west towards the coast along pavement following the power line just right of the greenhouses. The fields on the right side just before the railroad crossing had about 65 Black Kites. The ponds between the railroad and the bridge over the highway had good numbers of Gulls and Herons, as well as all three Kingfisher species. The gate just after the bridge was open this time, so I was able to drive into the "fish pond area". Water was being pumped out the ponds, so they had they had very little or no water, but a good bunch of happy gulls and herons. Ducks were almost absent. I checked every pool North of the Kibbutz.
If you are coming from direction of Haifa (or Ma'agan Michael) on Rte 75, you shouldn't be able to miss Rte 73, because it is the first traffic light intersection for over 10 km. Turn right towards Afula on Rte 73. About 5km along this road you'll see an intersection posted to Kefar-Barukh on your right side.
If you are coming from Afula try to find your way to Rte 60 towards Nazareth. At the last traffic lights continue North on 60 for 4.6 km and take a left onto Rte 73 towards Haifa. Continue West for 5.3 km and turn South towards Kefar-Barukh.
At the Kefar-Barukh intersection on Rte 73, you'll see three major power lines going over the intersection to Southerly Directions. The dirt road following the leftmost one is the one you want to follow. To get there drive 0.15km towards Kefar Barukh, turn left into a truck depot, and following the pylons take a right after 50m just before the gate. During the next 2.6km the road bends slowly left, then turns sharply left following the power lines and continues East. After a further 1.6km you'll arrive to a small factory area. Take the rightmost dirt road just right of an embankment. Continue 250m and make a right turn South leaving the power lines. Continue for 900m. Park your car BEFORE the canal and the gate, even if it is open. If it has been raining a lot, you may want to park your car closer to the factory. The last kilometer can be muddy. Don't block the road. 50 meters after the gate there a telephone pole. Just left of it there is a hole in the fence. From hereon you can walk up to the embankment. The local warden told me that it is OK to bird and photograph birds in the reservoir area despite of a large number of warning signs, just don't go in the water.
There are actually two reservoirs. If it is early morning walk left (east) and if it is afternoon walk right (west) until you reach the second pond. The first reservoir is dirty waste water and the second one is "cleaner" water according to the warden, and that's where all the ducks are. DON'T SCARE THE BIRDS. Note that I did not find a single Marbled Duck (Ana ang), but that White-headed Ducks and Ferruginous Ducks were plentiful among the thousands of Shovelers and other ducks.
I did not visit the other reserve (Kefar Barukh) in the area.
To mark the intersections to the bird sites I have used the Kilometer system of Route 90 (if you have been in Eilat you know what I mean by K 33 -- the same system is valid up here). The kilometer signs are on the right side of the road when driving North. They are small black numbers on a white base. The Tiberias intersection mentioned in previous two sites is about K415.0 on this system.
I found roosting eagles in the poplar woods in the North and North East end of the fields. Later some eagles were also seen soaring above the fields at various locations.
Plowing tractors attract good numbers of Black Kites and Cattle Egrets.
From this road one can access the large fields North of the Hula reserve all the way to the Kefar Blum Road.
I rented a car from Hertz through an Israeli Travel Agent for 1+2 days with unlimited mileage for a special price of 66+132 USD. The car was supposed to be the smallest size, but I ended up getting a Suzuki minijeep for the first day, and a 4 door Mazda for the latter two days. The Suzuki was a little bit shaky, and unlockable, but otherwise fine. The Mazda had one of these antistealing devices (not a proper alarm), which made a beeping sound EVERY time the engine was turned off or on. Birds clearly were afraid of this sound.
I drove about 280km + 540km. All roads were in excellent condition, but quite often rampacked with traffic, even roads that I thought would be quiet back country highways. General speed limit is 90km/h. Traffic flow followed usually the speed limit, and only one operating radar was noted. I was stopped once because of not having my headlights on. Gasoline price was on average 3.2NIS (=1$/liter), a slightly over a 10% rise in 9 months time.
The maps I used were excellent 1:400 000 maps using the base of the Israel Survey maps, but with Hertz written at various locations.
During my trip the exchange rate in the hotel was 2.95NIS/USD. I did not look for alternative means of exchange. The official rate was 3.22NIS/USD (excluding commission). The cab drivers used 3NIS/USD.
NO problems what so ever.
I stayed two nights at a friend's place in Tiberias and all other nights in a hotel in Tel Aviv.
Other information regarding car rentals and about entering and leaving Israel, see my previous trip report (March 1996).
MM = Ma'agan Michael, *= Birds seen en route to/from the site, TA= TelAviv, AR = Mount Arbel, NA =Nahal Ammud,
HU= Hula region - note that on Jan 2, I visited the private fishing ponds and had views over the actual reserve and the fields, whereas on the 3rd of January I birded only the fields.
TR= Tishlovit Reservoir - number refers to the count on Jan 3, unless
marked an "a"
a= Tishlovit Reservoir - species recorded only on 29.12.96
b= Tishlovit Reservoir - species recorded only on 3.1.97
sp = unidentified to species, s = sound, += present, but no number estimate.
* = species seen only en route to or from the bird site.
cy = calendar year, male/female , e.g. 1/2 = one male, 2 females.
DATE 29 2 2 2 3 3(&29) MM TA MA WA HU HU TR Little Grebe Tac ruf 9 - - - 40 10 40 Black-N. Grebe Pod nig - - - - - - 80 Slavonian Grebe Pod aur - - - - - - 1b Cormorant Pha car 800 - 30* - 1K 100 4b White Pelican Pel ono 3 - - - 100 25 - Night Heron Nyc nyc - - - - 100 - - One flock, private ponds Cattle Egret Bub ibi 35* - - - 50 80 4 Little Egret Egr gar 110 - - - 100 70 4 Great Egret Egr alb 120 - - - 150 250 2 Grey Heron Ard cin 280 - - - 300 120 18 Black Stork Cic nig - - - - 2 2 - White Stork Cic cic - - - - - 8 - Glossy Ibis Ple fal - - - - 2 - - Spoonbill Pla leu 95 - - - - - - Shelduck Tad tad - - - - - - 15b Gadwall Ana str - - - - - - 10b Common Teal Ana cre 50 - - - 80 + 500 Mallard Ana pla 2 - - - 250 + 300 Pintail Ana acu - - - - - - 3b Wigeon Ana pen 10 - - - 50 - 60 Northern ShovelerAna cly - - - - 1000 - 8000 Pochard Ayt fer - - - - - - 350 Tufted Duck Ayt ful - - - - 50 - 120 Ferruginous Duck Ayt nyr - - - - - - 15b White-head. Duck Oxy leu - - - - - - 68 Black Kite Mil mig 90 - - - 800 1000 3a Marsh Harrier Cir aer 15 - - - 40 20 - Hen Harrier Cir cya - - - - 1/1 1/1 - Pallid Harrier Cir mac - - 1/ - 5/ 1/ - Sparrowhawk Acc nis 1* - - 1 2 1 - (Steppe+)Buzzard But but - - - 5 50 40 - L. Spotted Eagle Aqu pom - - - - - 1+1sp- 3.1: 1ad+one possible 2cy Spotted Eagle Aqu cla - - - - 2(2cy)5 - 3.1:(1ad, 2subad, 2-2cy) Imperial Eagle Aqu hel - - - - - 1 - 3.1: 2cy plumage Eurasian Kestrel Fal tin 3 4 2 2 8 25 20* 16 between MM and TR Peregrine Fal per - - - - - 1 - on 29.12 Chukar Ale chu - - 4+2s s - - - Moorhen Gal chl 6 - - - 120 40 2a Eurasian Coot Ful atr 40 - - - 170 60 500 Common Crane Gru gru - - - - 1500 1500 - Black-wi. Stilt Him him - - - - 2 - - Avocet Rec avo - - - - 50 - - Stone-curlew Bur oed - - - - - - 1s Ringed Plover Cha hia 12 - - - - - - Kentish Plover Cha ale 4 - - - - - - Spur-winged Plov.Van spi 40 - - - - 30 20 Lapwing Van van 45 - - - 8 20 - Temminck's Stint Cal tem 50 - - - - - - Dunlin Cal alp 35 - - - - - - Snipe Cap gal 5 - - - - 1 - Curlew Num arq - - - - - - 1 Spotted Redshank Tri ery 1 - - - - - - Redshank Tri tot 6 - - - 1 1 2 Green Sandpiper Tri och 2 - - - - - 8 Common Sandpiper Act hyp 10 - - - 2 - 1 Gr.Black-Headed Lar ich 12 - - - - - - Black-head. Gull Lar rid 900 200 150* - 150 10 >50a Lesser BB Gull Lar fus 3 - - - - - - Armenian Gull Lar arm 450 50 10* - 80 20 - Rock Dove Col liv 40 200 8 15 20 200* - Collared Dove Str dec 35 10 30* 50* 50 80 20* +250 between MM and TR Laughing Dove Str sen - 20 20* 10 15 15 10* on 29.12 Little Owl Ath noc - - - - - - 2 WB Kingfisher Hal smy 6 2 - - 6 5 2a Kingfisher Alc att 6 - - - 4 3 - Pied Kingfisher Cer rud 12 2 - - 6 6 2 Hoopoe Upu epo 3 3 - - - - - Syrian Woodpeck. Den syr - 1 - - - - - University Campus Crested Lark Gal cri 4 - - - 5 200 30 Skylark Ala arv - - - - 8 40 - Crag Martin Pty rup - - 25 2 - - - Barn Swallow Hir rus 30 - 20* 20 - - - Meadow Pipit Ant pra 4 - 6 - 2 20 6 Red- thr.Pipit Ant cer 9 - - - - 4 - Water Pipit Ant spi 3 - - - - - - White Wagtail Mot alb 8 8 - - 5 8 5 White- sp.Bulbul Pyn xan 1 30 8* 15 10 15 4 Wren Tro tro - - 6 - 1 1 - European Robin Eri rub 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 Bluethroat Lus sve - - - - 1 4 - Black Redstart Pho och - 2 30 15 20 - - Redstart Pho pho - - - 2 - - - Stonechat Sax tor 6 2 20 10 15 - - Blue Rock Thrush Mon sol - - 1 - - - - Blackbird Tur mer - - 1 - - - - Cetti's Warbler Cet cet 2 - - 1 2 2 2 Graceful Prinia Pri gra 8 - 10 30 15 20 10 Sardinian Warb. Syl mel - - 2 2 1 - - Chiffchaff Phy col 2 - 3 2 4 2 - Great Tit Par maj - 10 15 4 4 2 - Penduline Tit Rem pen 2s - - - 1s 3s - Palestine Sunbi. Nec ose - 20 20 15 8 4 - Starling Stu vul - - - - 400 250 50 GreatGrey Shrike Lan exc - - 1 - 2 - - Jay Gar gla 2* - - - - - - Jackdaw Cor mon - - - - 700 50 - Hooded Crow Cor nix 15 50 4 2 150 30 10 House Sparrow Pas dom 20 50 3 - 100 20 - Spanish Sparrow Pas his - - 8 - - - - Chaffinch Fri coe 6 50 50 80 150 80 30 Serin Ser ser - - - 4 - - - Greenfinch Chl chl 4 - - - - - - Goldfinch Car car 2 - 3 2 2 3 2 Linnet Car can - - - - - - - Reed Bunting Emb sch 2 - - - - - - Corn Bunting Mil cal - - 2 2 - 2 2a
SLAVONIAN GREBE: A winter plumaged bird among the ducks at Tishlovit Reservoir. Direct comparison to Black-necked grebe revealed
BUZZARD: One very pale individual reminiscent of North American species Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis). Underside very light (wings, belly, head), with dark at wing bend and tips of flight feathers. Detailed coloration to be confirmed from photographs. Upperside: Tail light buff and wing coverts light. Flight feathers darker.
BLACK-HEADED + ARMENIAN GULL in Tel Aviv. BH Gulls were flying South along the shore every morning while the Armenian Gulls headed SE over Northern TelAviv.
COLLARED DOVE/LAUGHING DOVE. Collared Doves were often in large flocks, where as Laughing Doves trended to be single birds.
BLUETHROAT: One white and one red-spotted bird identified with certainty. Former possible cyanecula and the latter appeared quite bright, could have been svecica.
GREAT GREY SHRIKE: In appearance quite similar to the Northern races. Possibly L.e. elegans.
JAY: Race: G g. atricapillus.
Mongoose Spec. 2 --- Ma'agan Michael
Rock Hyrax 10 (I guess they are these) --- Nahal Ammud
Magaan Michael: Anemone coronaria, Iris sp.
Mount Arbel: Asphodelus lutea, Asphodelus sp, Cyclamen persicum
for providing useful info for this and future trips or giving critical assistance: Gilles Balanca, Jean Bickal, Richard Billington, Annika Forsten, Risto Juvaste, Heikki Karhu, Jarmo Komi, Henry Lehto, Matikka Family, Matti Pajunen, Meeri Pallasrinne, Juha Piipponen, Visa Rauste, Liisa Sutinen, Pierre Unge and anybody else, who I left out unintentionally.
Return to trip reports.