Eilat, Israel & Petra, Jordan Trip Report

December 24-31, 1996
Compiled by Pierre Unge, 6.1.1997

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 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 want 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.

Key to locations where birds were seen

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

Check List of Species Seen

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 border
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 (IBCE)
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, IBCE
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 Bulbul 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 Petra
Oenanthe monacha Hooded Wheatear IBCE, 1 male 1 and 1 f. at K20
Oenanthe leucopyga White-crowned Black Wheatear Cem, IBCE
Prinia gracilis Graceful Warbler NB, IBCE, K40
Scotocerca inquieta Scrub Warbler IBCE, Petra
Acrocephalus stentoreus Clamorous 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

Pierre Unge
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