The Zeiss Arctic Redpolls was one of the three teams sponsored by Zeiss Sports Optics in the famous Champions of the Flyway bird race and conservation event, on 29th March in southern Israel. Our team of four enthusiast birders and ornithologists (team captain Roni Väisänen, Jarkko Santaharju, William Velmala and Vilppu Välimäki) from Finland,
at the northern end of the Eurasian–African flyway, hooked up for the second time in this year’s race. With silver medals in our pocket from last year, some pressure for winning was put on our shoulders by other contestants.
The Zeiss/Bird Watcher’s Digest Way-Off Coursers came back to the Champions of the Flyway after a year’s hiatus. But this year we had a new strategy in mind: less driving, more birding. After being the only team to do a north-to-south route for the 2014 race—a strategy which won the
2015 Champions event for the Leica/Cape May Bird Observatory American Dippers—the Coursers, with a revised line-up, decided to do a green big day at the Eilat Birdwatching Park, also known as the International Birding & Research Centre, Eilat.