Eilat Weekly Updates

Shachar Shalev 18/06/2017 00:00







This week decidely unpleasant with a persistent strong northerly wind, dusty, hazy and a steady 43C. Fortunately by the weekend the skies had cleared, the wind was light with a nice southerly breeze Friday evening and the temperature dropped to a more manageable 42.9C.


Even the seabirds had disappeared off but by this evening quite a few had returned, 5 Bridled Terns turned up, 3 Lesser Crested Terns and good numbers of White-cheeked Terns. At the park the news was even better as I got a quick look at a young Rail who dropped in on the head of one of the adult birds.

There were also two Rails calling in the first hide while the adult birds were on the far side of the lake. Now we just need some pictures. The juvenile Little Bitterns are also out and about as are the Eastern Olivaceous Warblers and the Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters have also youngsters out around Kibbutz Grofit.

All in all a good year for birds that rarely breed here.


KM20 is back in business with a good number and variety of waders, terns etc. There was a Curlew, Gull-billed, Whiskered, Common, Little and Caspian Terns, Ruffs, Common Sandpipers, Green and Marsh Sandpipers, Redshanks and Greenshanks, Little Ringed, Ringed and Kentish Plovers and two very young Hoopoe Larks looking very shabby. One of them tried his hand as a wader running in the salt water and flew across the waterthen .

KM19 is also getting new birds with more Herons, Egrets, Spoonbills, Ducks and the Barn Swallows and Pale Crag Martins are back after a short absence.

Have a good week!





This week started hot, damn hot! People were melting in the street!

But interestingly at the same time we had 3 days of good southerly winds pushing seabirds up the gulf. We had Long-tailed, Pomarine and Arctic Skuas, at least 5 Bridled Terns, Lesser Crested Terns, big numbers of White-cheeked Terns and many Common Terns and White-eyed Gulls.

Hopes were high for Thursday's pelagic to the sea border between Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately the wind swung around to a very unhelpful westerly and some of the birds had disappeared back down the gulf. It was still a fun morning with a Cory's Shearwater coming in close, 5 Bridled Terns and a fantastic swordfish leaping out of the water on a number of occasions.


This morning I tried Taba and the new Katza beach beside the Dolphin reef. Nothing special but really good numbers of terns and gulls, both good alternatives to North Beach.


The bird park is very quiet but the young Namaqua Doves are out and about, some waders are arriving and the Rails are still strutting about.

KM20 is showing the first signs of autumn migration with some more Pintails and Shovellers arriving, more Redshanks and Greenshanks, some Green Sandpipers, 2 Common Sandpipers, a Little Ringed Plover and a strange Dunlin in perfect winter plumage!!?? He also looks (to me) a little longer billed and taller than the regular subspecies...?


K19 also has some new residents including 2 more Great Egrets, ducks and waders. While there are no great expectations for the coming week you just never know! Have a cool week!





With the temperatures heading into the mid-forties celsius this week I headed north for a Bat Mitzva on the northern border and a quick visit to Jerusalem.

Not too much happening in Eilat with the damn Water Rails fighting instead of breeding, maybe they're two males??

North Beach still has reasonable numbers of Common, White-cheeked and Little Terns with up to 3 Lesser Crested Terns occasionally gracing us with their presence.

The north of Israel wasn't much better, quick sea-watch off Rosh Hanikra turned up plenty of Common Terns and Yellow-legged Gulls but little else.

Around Hanita were some Red-rumped Swallows, regular breeders including Sardinian Warblers, Lesser Whitethroats, Great Tits etc while in Jerusalem there were some 200 Alpine Swifts migrating south over the Temple Mount, a few Spotted Flycatchers, a big group of Jackdaws doing a poor starling imitation and plenty of local birds.


This week a group of very optimistic birders will head out on the Eilat gulf and hopefully turn up a mega sea visitor… we certainly need something to brighten up this summer!





I'm beginning to enjoy my new sea watch spot on the pier just before the border crossing into Egypt.

There's a steady stream of birds which are mainly Common Terns, nice number of adult White-cheeked Terns, the odd Caspian Tern, a couple of Arctic Skuas and regular visits from Striated Herons.

I also had my first Cory's Shearwater for a couple years, a bird whose numbers appear to be dwindling in recent years.


There is also great fish action with big shoals of little fish attracting some big fish who come leaping out of the water at regular intervals. Also had a large sea-turtle come past for a look and a couple of dolphins streaming past in the distance.

Quite remarkably it was actually at North Beach early in the week where the Swinhoe’s Storm petrel turned up and came in as close as 200 metres from the beach.... and I think we're going to see more of them before the summer's over.


This evening at North Beach I had a Long-tailed Skua sitting out amongst the boats, plenty of regular Terns but also plenty of biting flies.

Elsewhere very little movement, some Greenshanks, Redshanks and a couple of Green Sandpipers moved in, still a few Sand Martins, House Martins and Barn Swallows moving in who knows which direction???

Next week is going to be hot but we'll still be hanging in there!




Shachar Shalev