The ground is steaming all around me. Last night’s cooling thunderstorms have done nothing to quell yesterday’s high temperatures. At around 5 a.m. the stunning beauty of the natural world unfolds in the offshoots of the Rhine river.
I’m making my way through the waterways, forests and meadows to discover orchids, observe nature as it is roused from its slumber, and above all to capture magic images of birds using my new spotting scope, the ZEISS Conquest Gavia.
Champions of the Flyway is an international bird race for conservation. All teams are competing to raise the greatest amount of conservation funding. Its primary purpose is to celebrate the extraordinary miracle of bird migration. The teams arrive in Eilat a few days prior to the race day.
There is one full day of touring the best sites in the Negev and the Arava Valley enabling all participants to get a good feel of the “playing field” and practical and logistical issues, led by Israel’s top birders. The following days, the teams explore the field on their own to plan their route for the race day.
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.