Tour Guiding in Israel; It’s for the Birds

Tour Guiding in Israel; It’s for the Birds

onnie

Touring in Israel in November is a great time of year.  Hotels are not expensive, sites are not so crowded, and the temperatures are in the 60s and 70s!  Sound perfect?  Well, you’re right.  It is, especially if you’re a bird or a bird-lover.

Did you know that Israel sees 500,000,000 birds passing through every spring and fall?  We rest on the migratory path between Europe and Africa, and twice a year, we are treated to one of the best aviary shows in the world!  This time of year, schools of cormorants, cranes pelicans, seagulls and thousands of other species can be seen flying south as they head for warmer temperatures.

Because Israel is such a small country, incorporating bird-watching into your tour is an easy adjustment to make. So, where are the best places in Israel to view this semi-annual spectacular?

Israel with love has a few suggestions starting in the north and moving south.  The Hula Valley, separating the northern Galilee from the Golan Heights is probably the most famous spot in the country for watching the migratory process.  Hula Valley Birding Center offers trails, some of them wheelchair accessible, around swampland that provides nourishment for the birds on their journey. Their sunset tour is particularly spectacular as you watch the birds soar as the fiery sun makes its gentle descent below the Galilee Mountains. (https://www.birds.org.il/en/bird-center-page.aspx?centerId=30) The JNF Agmon HaHula Park offers bicycles for rent so you can enjoy the show on two wheels. (http://www.kkl-jnf.org/people-and-environment/sustainable-parks/hula-lake-park/)

And, if you find yourself touring near the Mediterranean, Kibbutz Maagan Michael, just south of Haifa is the perfect spot for bird-watching.  The kibbutz has several fish ponds attracting the birds and kibbutz members provide tours to enhance your enjoyment.

If you’re willing to drive off road, the hundreds of pelicans resting in the Kfar HaRoeh Lake provide an enchanting show, especially if you’re coming with young children.

And, of course, the birds make a last stop at the Red Sea before escaping to Africa for the winter.  So, if you make it to Israel’ southernmost city, you can look down to see some of the worlds most beautiful coral reefs and look up to see the vestiges of the Israeli migration experience.

So, no matter where you are in Israel in the fall or spring, make sure to look up when you’re touring.