A Guide to the Birding Hotspots of Israel
Israel is one of the most exciting and accessible regions for birdwatching in the whole of the Western Palearctic, with over 400 of the c.500 species recorded occurring annually, including raptors, storks and pelicans, egrets, herons, wildfowl and shorebirds, warblers, wheatears and buntings. Many Middle Eastern specialties such as Black Francolin, Spur-winged Plover, White-breasted and Pied Kingfishers, Clamorous Reed Warbler and many raptors can be seen with relative ease year-round. In the southern part of the country the Eilat hinterland is a migration highway that has ranked among the top five foreign destinations for British and European birders for many years.
This magnificent birding guide for Israel, published in two volumes, will be indispensable to all visitors to the country. 23 main sites are covered in detail, with additional notes on over 100 sub-sites. Nearly 150 colour photographs (by Hadoram Shirihai, Dick Forsman, Klaus Bijere, Huub Huneker, Rene Pop, Jan Schram and Bernard Thies) add a field-guide dimension to aid identification.
Each guide provides background information on visiting Israel, followed by a concise introduction to birding in the area covered, plus notes on habitat, climate and timing of visits. Extensive coverage of the main sites (10 in the northern guide, 13 in the southern,) forms the main part of each volume. Site descriptions cover rare and common species alike, and are complemented by the excellent colour maps and colour photographs. Each volume concludes with a full checklist for the entire country (including notes on seasonal status).
Published in a portable field guide size, A Guide to the Birding Hot-Spots of Israel is a pioneering work that redefines the possibilities of site guides through its unique integration of text, species and site information.
About the authors
Hadoram Shirihai is the foremost Middle Eastern ornithologist. Following many seminal identification papers and co-authorship of several larger works related to the region, in particular The Macmillan Birder's Guide to European and Middle Eastern Birds, Raptor Migration in Israel and the Middle East: a summary of 30 years of field research&o; and the highly acclaimed The Birds of Israel which was awarded 'Best Bird Book of the Year' by British Birds and Birdwatch. His (and his co-authors') long-awaited monograph of the genus Sylvia is approaching completion, and recently he has gained a new fascination, as co-author of a monograph to the albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels, with exploring the world's southern oceans. In addition, together with Cees Roselaar, he has commenced another mammoth project, The Handbook of Geographical Variation in Palearctic Birds. Nevertheless, his heart remains in the Middle East, and birders visiting Eilat during spring migration are still likely to meet him there.
James Smith is originally from Sheffield, UK, and currently divides his time between southern Israel, where he has fast gained a reputation as one of the most competent local guides, the USA, another region in which he has considerable bird-guiding experience, and Scotland, where he works on the developing tour programme of Speyside Wildlife Holidays. James is also an accomplished artist, who has worked on a diverse number of illustrative projects since achieving the runners-up position in the coveted British Birds Bird Illustrator of the Year award in 1992.
Following a degree in History and English, Guy Kirwan finally discovered a career, in ornithological editing, which fused his interests and academic training. He currently manages the production of three peer-reviewed journals, has been closely involved in the gestation of a number of recent field guides and other works, served in both editorial and authorial capacities for the universally acclaimed Handbook of the Birds of the World series, and, in 1996, was one of a small team responsible for updating Sibley & Monroe's Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World. A regular contributor to the popular and more technical literature on birds, he has travelled widely in South America and the Old World, where his particular interests include Brazil, Cuba and Turkey.
Dan Alon is currently Director of the Israel Ornithological Center, in Tel Aviv, where he is also working on his MSc thesis on the ecology of the Common Crane in Israel. He has been actively involved in many conservation programmes in the country since 1987. These include managing the autumn soaring-bird migration survey, the Israeli air force bird and flight safety project, the national Lesser Kestrel Action Plan, studies of wintering Greater Spotted and Imperial Eagles populations, plans for agriculture and bird conservation co-existence in the Hula Valley, as well as being responsible for the overall development of eco-tourism and birding in Israel.