Sunday, 2 April 2017
Yesterday a visit to the Jerusalem Bird Observatory was suggested. To be honest I wasn't aware that there was one but as my daughter, Rebecca, was at a synagogue for Shabbatt, I took the opportunity to visit.
Situated within a large parkland area west of the Old City, the observatory was easy to find and after stopping to look at a few terrapins in a nearby pool, I entered the Observatory's reserve.
Immediately it became apparent that this was no ordinary bird observatory. To the right beside an open hatched building a group of around thirty people, obviously not birders, were seated watching Observatory staff members ring a procession of various passerine birds.
Sitting with them, listening to the commentary given as bird after bird was processed and handed to to a young girl to release, was fabulous as the visitors were obviously massively enjoying the ringing and the close views of such incredible small migrants.
The talk was prolonged and by the visitors' reactions, must have contained amazing facts about the birds' journeys and humour too for they responded with laughter and exclamations of surprise and shock. Questions were asked and answered. All of this was in Hebrew and I didn't understand a word but really didn't need to.
Lesser Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Eastern Olivaceous Warblers, they all came one by one to be measured, rung and released.
Meeting with one of the birders met at The Champions of The Flyway, Ron and on receiving a wave from another net there also, the Dougal carrier from when our team, The SpokesFolks, was filmed at KM20, I was introduced to Gideon, the wonderful bird ringing man and his delightful eight year old daughter, Shira.
Given a Jerusalem Bird Observatory t-shirt, I became a member and went birding.
A superb two hour visit to an incredible place, the thrill of being there was in witnessing the visitors to this urban reserve obviously enjoying their close to nature encounter and one can see how the vitality of the staff engages the visitors so completely.
Thanks to everyone there.