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Israel lies at the junction of three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. Its unique geographic position makes it a flash point of migration for birds that breed across more than half the Palearctic and winter in Africa. For a few months every spring, salt water and vast deserts funnel an inordinate number of these birds through southern Israel as they wing their way to the breeding grounds. Much of this migration is visible, and its hallmark is the world famous raptor show, which at this time of year will feature tens of thousands of Steppe Buzzards, hundreds upon hundreds of Black Kites and Steppe Eagles, and a good diversity of other migrant raptors. Despite raptors being the standard-bearers, the diurnal migrants can also consist of swifts (4 species!), swallows, wagtails, pipits, larks, buntings, and bee-eaters.
While the visible migration by itself would be draw enough for any birder to want to visit, that's not all that Israel boasts when it comes to avifauna. We will be combing the desert for such regional goodies as Macqueen's Bustard, Crowned Sandgrouse, Temminck's Larks, Greater Hoopoe-Larks, Palestine Sunbird, Arabian Babbler, and if we're lucky some scarcer species such as Sinai Rosefinch and Thick-billed Lark. Away from the desert, the Red Sea-endemic White-eyed Gull reaches the northernmost point in its range at Eilat. We stand a good chance of seeing 5 species of sandgrouse, at least 8 each of wheatears and larks, up to 10 species of Sylvia warblers, 25 species of shorebirds, and much, much more.
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