The Hula Festival brings you to the heart of autumn birding in Israel.
The Valley is famous worldwide especially as a stop-over and winter site for up to 40,000 Eurasian Cranes. The roost gathering of the cranes is indeed a multi-sensual experience to remember, but the Hula valley in November offers so much more.
Birding combines huge numbers of migrants and winter visitors, with quality species for the savoury birders. The Hula Valley is globally important for several endangered species of raptors. Greater Spotted Eagles and Eastern Imperial Eagles are often seen feeding on cranes that didn't make it through the night...
Also the endangered Pallid Harrier is seen hunting over the lush meadows and fields. Black-winged Kites started breeding in Israel only in 2011, but by now they have become a prominent and graceful feature of the Hula Valley. Driving around the valley, we normally encounter Black Francolins, Pygmy Cormorants and Namaqua Doves.
In November scarce migrants such as Caspian Stonechat, Daurian Shrike and Citrine Wagtail are seen in good numbers in the valley. A trip up to Mt. Hermon focuses on the local specialties there, notably the globally threatened Syrian Serin, and also Western Rock Nuthatch, Asian Crimson-winged Finch and Sombre Tit.
In the nearby fishponds and reservoir we look for three globally endangered waterfowl species: Marbled, Ferruginous and White-headed Ducks. Other short trips from the Hula Valley bring chances for regular rarities such as Oriental Skylark, Siberian Buff-bellied Pipit and Pine Bunting.