Birdwatching in the stony deserts of southern Israel

The desert of Israel with its vast landscapes initially seems very barren and empty, but if you learn to understand it and follow its rules, all of its diversity is revealed. Bird watchers especially get their money's worth.

They will encounter many unusual and mysterious animal species. They can observe that each bird species follows its own rituals. Noam Weiss gives us an insight into a very special habitat for birds.

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Waiting for Spring? This would be indeed a pity.

True, birdwatching in winter is just for hardened nature and bird lovers. While we freeze on the northern hemisphere and only the resident birds like robin, blackcap, blackbird, thrush, tit, starling or Golcrest stay, most bird species are in Africa, Latin America or in South East Asia. It is tempting to just follow them or directly travel to the north to watch Gyrfalcons or Whiskered Auklet in Alaska, a Snow Goose or a Tow-barred Crossbill on Iceland or a Ross’ Gull and a Siberian Rubythroat in Siberia.

Unfortunately, we do not travel as climate-friendly and cost neutral like migrating birds. So, we have to put two layers of outdoor clothing on, take our optics around our neck, the spotting scope on the back and then set out for the next lake or woods. Everywhere in the northern world there are many interesting species to find with enough patience, which we only in winter get in front of our optics.

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A stretch of wilderness

Koji Nagano is a passionate bird watcher and photographer. Since his first trip to Hokkaidos 30 years ago, he has returned to this region again and again. The natural landscape is one of the most important bird watching areas in Japan.

Hokkaidos is known for a wide variety of different natural habitats. Birdwatchers get their money's worth in both summer and winter.

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A great birding destination for new and veteran birders

The Lower Rio Grande Valley holds a special place in the hearts of US birders and is surely one of the top five places to visit in the country for birds. The combination of great winter weather and a wealth of bird species that can only be found in the ABA area in this corner of southern Texas is a big draw for the new birder. For the veteran birder, the chance of wandering vagrant bird species from Mexico (especially during winter) is what keeps people coming back time after time.

As an example in one of the tour vans I was driving at this year’s event I had a woman visiting for the first time who had already added 48 life birds to her life list in the previous three days and a couple of friends who had first visited the festival over 25 years ago and were back for their tenth visit.

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Instead of throwing the spare pumpkin seeds on the compost, consider turning them into bird feed.

Halloween season is getting close. Soon you can go out to the pumpkin patches, pick your pumpkin and carve a scary jack-o'-lantern. After you are done carving, you will end up with a lot of spare pumpkin seeds.

Instead of throwing them on the compost, consider turning them into bird feed. Birds love chowing down on pumpkin seeds. But before putting them out for the birds, make sure that you prepare them accordingly.

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About the rescue of the snow leopard and the black rhino

For years, ZEISS follows its mission to serve international animal and environmental protection. To save the snow leopard, the most endangered big cat in the world, ZEISS donated spotting scopes and telescopes to Conservation Officer Mr. Norbu and his team at Kaalifa Camp to observe these animals.

In addition, the annual "Rhino Conservation Award", which deals with the protection of the South African black rhinoceros and pays tribute to the corresponding efforts of individuals and organizations, has been sponsored by ZEISS since 2015. Their activities already show great success, for example, a decline in rhino poaching of 25 percent recorded in 2018.

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A new, first-rate scope

The telescope of the New Thuringia Chalet tells the story of the high mountain in the Habach valley as well as those of the Second World War and the post-war period. After a long time, the old telescope is now in need of renovation.

Therefore, ZEISS presented the German Alpine Association with a new spotting scope for their chalet, which now allows visitors to observe the impressive nature even over long distances.

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Saved from extinction

The Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita), one of the world’s rarest, most distinctive and gregarious avian species, was extinct in central Europe for over 400 years. Intensive measures on the part of BirdLife International and other conservationists are now showing the first signs of success in the colonies of birds living in the wild in Morocco.

ZEISS is supporting the BirdLife activities together with the foundation of Prince Albert II of Monaco. Learn more about the impressive history of the Northern Bald Ibis and the conservation projects that aim to resettle this species even in Europe.

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Memorable moments from a birding expedition!

Sally and Stephanie are proud to have participated in the Grand Iberian Bird Tour 2018-2019. In this article they talk about things that went wrong. But above all, many grateful moments.

They saw a lot of interesting birds from all over Europe, for example little Egrets flying over their heads, a flock of Whimbrels and another flock of Black-tailed Godwits.

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