EI­LAT, IS­RAEL

This re­sort is the gate­way for mil­lions of mi­grant birds so there’s plenty to see if you look up

Bird Watching (UK) - - Bird The World - WORDS: DAVID LINDO

Ebusy port and pop­u­lar hol­i­day re­sort nestling in south­ern Is­rael on the north­ern tip of the Red Sea. You would be for­given for con­jur­ing up im­ages of par­adise. In my view, it’s not quite like that. In­deed, ar­chi­tec­turally it’s a bit of a mess, rid­dled with un­sightly ho­tels that would not look out of place in Las Vegas. But what it lacks in ar­chi­tec­tural beauty, it more than makes up for in its bird­ing bril­liance. Among the world bird­ing fra­ter­nity, Is­rael has long been known as be­ing a bucket list lo­ca­tion you need to find your­self in dur­ing spring to wit­ness the leg­endary move­ments of rap­tors and falls of passer­ines. Ei­lat is the gate­way for mil­lions of mi­grant birds en route to Europe and western Asia in the spring and Africa dur­ing the au­tumn. De­spite the less than eye-catch­ing ur­ban ar­eas, Ei­lat is sur­rounded by great nat­u­ral beauty. The whole of the eastern field of view is dom­i­nated by the truly epic Edom Moun­tains in nearby Jor­dan and to the north and west be­fore you reach Egypt are the Ei­lat Moun­tains, the main site for the rap­tor counts, and the south­ern Negev Desert. Many peo­ple come to the re­gion to ex­plore out­side of the city look­ing for the dream birds that hith­erto were just illustrations in a field guide. In fact, the bird list from just this re­gion reads as the per­fect blend of Euro­pean, African and Asian birds. But the amaz­ing thing is that many of these species can be seen in and around the city.

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