This part of the Negev Desert, between Urim in the north and Ze'elim in the south, is probably the best area for wintering raptors in Israel.
Eastern Imperial Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle and Steppe Eagle, Common Buzzard and Long-legged Buzzard and Black Kite, Hen Harrier and Pallid Harrier are all present and falcons include Merlin and Peregrine Falcon, Lanner Falcon and Saker Falcon.
As well as raptors there is a wide range of typical desert birds such as Cream-coloured Courser and two species of sandgrouse, and wintering Sociable Plover is regular. Larks are very common, mainly Eurasian Skylark but also Greater Short-toed Lark, Bimaculated Lark and Calandra Lark.
Other species present in late autumn / winter (the best time for raptors) include Chukar Partridge, Eurasian Dotterel and Spur-winged Plover, Red-throated Pipit and Tawny Pipit. Cranes occur over the area on passage. .
Birds you can see here include:
White Stork, European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Buzzard, Greater Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Lanner Falcon, Saker Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar Partridge, Common Quail, Common Crane, Stone Curlew, Cream-coloured Courser, Eurasian Dotterel, Spur-winged Plover, Sociable Plover, Northern Lapwing, Spotted Sandgrouse, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Feral Pigeon, Eurasian Scops Owl, Desert Eagle Owl, Syrian Woodpecker, Calandra Lark, Bimaculated Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Tawny Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Common Starling, Eurasian Linnet, European Goldfinch
Areas of Interest
Nearby is Wadi Besor, another site worthy of exploration. Return to Route 241 and head west for a few km and the road crosses the wadi. Walk down the left side of the wadi to Tel Sharuhen, a small rounded hill.
Access and Facilities
To reach Urim take Route 34 from Beer Sheva then turn off to the west on Route 24. After 10km turn left towards Urim and left again heading south towards Ze'elim. A line of electricity pylons crosses this road and this is the best area for the raptors.
All the open land around here can be productive and various tracks can be followed to explore off-road.
Content and images originally posted by Steve
john barclay's review