(Communicated by the Israel Ministry of Tourism)
It is common knowledge among bird lovers that the Hula Valley in northern
Israel is one of the most important stopover and wintering
sites for southbound migrants through the Great Rift Valley. It is here
that complete populations of birds stop to "refuel" before reaching the desert
strip to the south.
The Hula Valley is at its best in late autumn as tens of thousands of Common
Cranes and Pelicans are present as well as over 25 species of raptors. The
region serves as a migration flyway for thousands of Common Cranes, White
Pelicans, Ducks, Waders and Passerines every year. Over 300 species are
seen here annually including some of the rarest European birds of prey.
Species like Greater Spotted and Eastern Imperial Eagles, Pallid Harrier,
Long-legged Buzzard and more winter in the valley. In addition, local species
such as the Black Francolin, Pygmy Cormorant and three species of Kingfishers
offer extraordinary viewing and photo opportunities.
Cranes over the Hula Valley (Photo courtesy Ministry of Tourism)
After last year's success, the Second International Hula Valley Bird
Festival is scheduled for November 11-18, 2012.
Festival participants will enjoy tours led by the leading birders and tour
guides in the country, all of them specialists with intimate knowledge of the
area and the birds. Highlights will include mobile tours and ringing
The festival is a joint initiative between the Israel Ornithological Center
of the SPNI, the Israel Ministry
of Tourism, the International Center for the Study of Bird Migration
in Latrun, and the Hoopoe Foundation. (The Hoopoe was voted Israel's national
bird in 2008).