Spring is considered by many as the best time to visit Israel, and for good reason: hundreds of millions of birds pass through that tiny little strip of a country in the course of the great migration -- offering a most unique experience for birding aficionados and amateurs alike. To coincide with the best of Israel’s spring migration that occurs from mid-March to mid-May, when the variety of species and sheer numbers of birds are exceptional, Jewish National Fund is offering its first-ever Bird Watching and Nature Photography Mission.
Highlights of the tour include night safaris of the Israeli desert to watch the desert birds come alive; early morning tours of wildlife preserves in the Dead Sea, Arava Valley, and Negev Desert; visits to the world-renowned bird sanctuaries of the Hula Valley up north and Eilat in the south; observing millions of birds -- more than 390 species -- on their journey from Africa to Europe ; a stop at the Gamla Nature Reserve to observe a griffon vulture colony; a visit to Kibbutz Lotan, Israel’s first ecologically sustainable community, and more. Participants will also enjoy a nature photography workshop with professional photographer Eyal Bartov, a visit to the Arava Institute -- the leading environmental educational institute in the Middle East -- and trips to visit Jerusalem and Be’er Sheva. Israel is situated at an intercontinental junction -- a bottleneck for migration routes. An estimated 500 million birds pass through every spring and autumn. In the fall, they make their way south to Africa and in the spring they return to Europe to mate and reproduce. The tour is open to anyone, including those who have never been to Israel and seasoned travelers alike.