Friday, April 26, 2019

Israel 2019, day fourteen - Jerusalem

One of many Lesser Spotted Eagles we encountered on the way there (bless Yoav for pulling over on the busy highway so we could enjoy the spectacle)
As our time ticked away and with Jerusalem within striking distance, we were very keen to squeeze in a trip, and we stole a day with both Yoav and Adva to do so. With so many friends and associations connected to it - as well as it basically representing a venn diagram of everything I love about cities, conservation and outreach - the Bird Observatory was very much top of the priority list, and what an unsurprisingly and wholly inspiring time we had there.

What a place - a lush oasis smack bang in the middle of the city, bustling with avian and community activity, where flycatchers and warblers rub shoulders with schoolkids and volunteers. The work done here is genuinely inspirational, across cultural, religious and political barriers - a lesson to us all.

In the JBO visitor centre and gift shop
Great to see the wonderful Alen and her team, who showed us around and made us feel as welcome and at ease as she always does. Great also to bump into our Swiss birding friend Sophie, who ended up spending the day with us, as we tackled the markets (one word - falafel) and the sights, the latter including the Western Wall. The latter was especially interesting, not only for its cultural significance, but its abundant birdlife - Tristram's Starlings, Mynas, Swifts, House Sparrows and Laughing Doves all calling it home.

Eastern Orphean - phwoaarh
The pond - where the magic happens
The outdoor ringing lab / classroom - where the magic also happens
Comb-over Jay

birding in the middle of Jerusalem (pic courtesy of Yoav)
Praying for east coast rares (pic courtesy of Yoav)