Israel: Birds, History & Culture in the Holy Land: Nov 05—17, 2017
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Timeless Israel is the venue for a multi-themed program rich in birds, history, and culture.
Perched on the far edge of the Mediterranean Sea, Israel exists as a modern and safe travel destination brimming with history, culture, and nature. Positioned at the interface of three continents—Europe, Asia, and Africa—Israel sits at a geographic crossroads that has attracted both people and birds since time immemorial. From the age of the Old Testament to the present, the history of this ancient land, this Holy Land, is inscribed in the sands that blow across its fabled deserts.
We are thrilled to present a Birds, History & Culture tour that visits Israel’s most important birding areas, landscapes, and historical attractions. Our trip is timed for the end of fall migration and the onset of the winter season. Superb birding is virtually guaranteed, and we anticipate encounters with a wonderful variety of birds including year-round residents, passage migrants, and an array of African, Asian, and Mediterranean species at the edges of their range.
From the capital city of Tel Aviv, we’ll travel north along the coast to Ma’agan Michael and the Hula Valley to witness the spectacular seasonal gathering of 40,000 Common Cranes, Greater Spotted Eagle, and a marvelous variety of other birds. We’ll then head to the Golan Heights and the canyon at Gamla, home to Eurasian Griffon, Bonelli’s Eagle, Blue Rock-Thrush, and Finsch’s Wheatear. Between the Sea of Galilee and Jerusalem we’ll seek Pygmy Cormorant, Great White Pelican, and White and Black storks. Our exploration of the Dead Sea area will produce a variety of localized birds including Brown-necked Raven, Tristram’s Starling, and Sand Partridge, and mammals such as Nubian Ibex and Rock Hyrax. Farther south we’ll explore the wonderful Negev Desert, home to a fine variety of specialty birds including Macqueen’s Bustard, Lanner and Barbary falcons, Arabian Babbler, Sinai Rosefinch, and thousands of wintering Eurasian Skylarks and birds of prey. Other highlights are visits to roosts of Black Kites containing thousands of invididuals, and seeking the rare White-headed Duck on the Plains of Judea.
Blending with our natural history pursuits will be an emphasis on Israel’s extraordinary history. At various times we’ll engage with local guides for interpretive discussions, and join a day-tour dedicated to the exploration of historic Jerusalem.
An optional one-day extension will be available for those who would like to spend a day sightseeing in Tel Aviv, the dynamic Israeli capital.
Good to very good accommodations and food; birding activities intermingled with historical interpretation, visits to historic sites, and at least one walking tour; moderate physical demands; cool to warm conditions expected, but rain is possible.