2nd International Ornithology Festival in the Galilee

image-pelicans-hula-lakeLooking for a cool eco-activity with the kids this Hanukkah vacation? This one is for the birds!

Until December 28th, you can visit nature reserves and parks in the  Galilee and Golan for a special bird-watching festival. The events will be held in six main sites: the Agamon Hula, the Gamla nature reserve, at the Sea of Galilee, Kfar Rupin, En Afek nature reserve and their area. Having reported on the  Kuwait’s Ornithological Society events last July, we wholeheartedly recommend the many interesting birdwatching activities offered in Israel this month.

En Afek Nature Reserve, Acre Valley:
The En Afek Nature Reserve is the last remnant of the Na‘aman Stream wetlands. In winter, when the water level rises, the reserve shelters pelicans, cranes, pygmy cormorants, gray herons and many other species of water fowl.

The hardy might enjoy watching birds at sunrise, while folks who prefer to sleep in might like a twilight tour where they can observe settling down for the night. Other events include a talk with an ornithologist and watching how birds are marked with rings before being released. For additional details and registration: 04-8778226, 04-8779992, [email protected]  The En Afek site

Hula Nature Reserve:
The Hula Valley is an important resting and “refueling” place for migrating birds on their annual trip from Europe to Africa and back. Tens of thousands of birds of over 200 species, including cranes, storks, pelicans, cormorants and egrets, stay in the reserve. Water buffalos graze in certain areas to preserve the open meadow environment. Water buffaloes are native to northern Israel, but became almost extinct. Only a few small herds are left in their natural environment.

Species that have become extinct in the wild, such as the white-tailed eagle, are also reintroduced in the reserve. Tour the reserve with a telescope to watch the birds.For details and registration: 04-6937069
Hula nature reserve

Gamla Nature Reserve, Central Golan Heights:
 Dozens of pairs of Griffon vultures nest in Gamla’s cliffs, the largest colony in the country. Visitors can view the vultures in flight from a cliff-edge observation station. There are guided tours to the Gamla waterfall, a dramatized tour in which you can experience the old city of Gamla and hear about the biggest vulture’s colony and the dangers that threaten it.
For more details: 04-6822282 Gamla nature reserve

The International Birdwatching Center of the Jordan Valley, Kibbutz Kfar Ruppin:
Situated alongside the Jordan River near the town of Beit Shean, the Center located near excellent birding sites in northern Israel.

Activities include a Kibbutz Shabat welcoming every Friday, a family nature and bird watching tour every Saturday morning, safari tours during twilight on 1.12 and 8.12. There will be  Hanukah celebrations of candles and birds.
For details and reservations: 04-6068396, 050-7565264, [email protected]
Kfar Rupin site

The Agamon Hula Tourism Park
The Agamon Hula is considered one of the world’s most prominent bird-watching sites. At the park you can follow and observe migrating, courting and nesting birds, as well as other animals. This site offers many creative opportunities for bird-watching and photography, like the photographers’ tour  during sunrise in a hidden wagon. This lets you get the closest look at the birds.

For more shooting (with a camera), there are a photographing workshop and a weekend photographing workshop, “Wild Land” with Yossi Eshbol. The weekend event features following the birds from sunrise to sunset. There is also a drawing in nature workshop.

Tours include a tour in the birds’ island, a tour of the birds of prey, a tour to the botanical garden and to the swamp plants and its animals.  There is an unusual race event: The Crane Race weekend. For details and reservations: 04-6817137, [email protected]
Agamon Hula site

More Environmental Education in the Middle East on Green Prophet:

:: GoGalilee Northern Tourism Center

Photo of pelicans at Hula Valley by Dror Feitelson via the PikiWiki

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