Birding in Jordan 14 days, 13 nights

(See also birding in Jordan 10 days, 9 nights, click here)

 

The habitats change from the open desert and its inhospitable wades to the pine and oak forests of the hills and down into the sub-tropical Jordan Valley. In each place there are birds that are adapted to their environment. As well as the resident species, the spring and autumn brings large numbers of birds that migrate along one of the major routes between Europe and Africa.   In this tour we will visit the different habitats, each set in impressive scenery as well as to visit some of the most memorable of the historic sites for which Jordan is famous for. There will also be time to relax and unwind including a swim in the Dead Sea.

 

Your Itinerary

 

Day 1: Arrival

Upon arrival at Queen Alia International Airport our representative will meet and assist you upon your disembarkation from aircraft holding a sign with your name on it. Proceed through customs and immigration. Transfer in private car to your hotel in Amman.

 

Day 2: Amman, Azraq, Shaumari and Wetland Reserves

An hour and a half drive east take us to Azraq. This is the most important oasis in the region, where birds of many species can be seen, particularly during the migration seasons. The Shaumari Reserve is the first wildlife reserve established in the area and is famous for its captive-breeding program of the Arabian Oryx. As well as these beautiful creatures we will see onager and ostriches. The afternoon will be spent in the ancient marshlands, which have always been used by both migrating and resident birds. During the winter there is a large seasonal lake that is home to many waterfowl and birds of prey.

Today we would expect to see large numbers of ducks such as garganey, mallards, pintails, shelduck, and teal. Waders for instance, black-winged stilts, plovers, redshanks and sandpipers as well as storks, cranes and egrets make use of the waters edge. Amongst the trees and shrubs there may be golden orioles, rollers, grey shrikes with buzzards, marsh harriers, and kestrels overhead.

At Shaumari you can find the most climax vegetation ever in the eastern desert dominated by Atriplex halimus.

Dinner and overnight in RSCN Lodge in Azraq.

 

Day 3: Azraq, Amra and the Surrounding Wadi el Butum

Today is devoted to birding in the semi-desert to spot birds adapted to arid environments, such as hoopoe larks, thick-billed larks and cream-colored coursers. This is an area of low hills with sparse vegetation cut through by occasional wadis that have bushes and pistachio trees. Among the usual residents are wheatears, crested larks, scrub and graceful warblers and we may be lucky and see some trumpeter finches or the little known black morph of the mourning wheatear.

At Wadi el Butum where you can see the last group of the Atlantic wild pistachio (Pistacia atlantica) in the desert which are the last group of old trees in the area.

At Azraq the only big water and saline vegetation in the eastern desert, it comprises more than 136 species of plants, some are rare, endemic and even newly recorded to Jordan's flora & to science.

Dinner and overnight at RSCN Lodge in Azraq.

 

Day 4: Azraq farmlands, Eagles Rest, Amman

In the extensive farms where olives and vines grow by irrigation, we can see varieties of doves, shrikes and possibly some owls and of course many smaller birds. An afternoon loop around the area brings us to the Eagles Rest, an area of beautiful cliffs which provide excellent nesting where we should be able to spot some golden eagles, before returning back to Amman.

 

Day 5: Amman, Jerash, Ajlun Forest, Zubia Nature Reserve, Amman

An hour’s drive north of Amman brings us into the hills of Gilead for a visit to the impressive Roman city of Jerash where one can catch a glimpse of the Palestinian sunbird amongst the other residents in the ruins. In contrast to the desert of the first days, the afternoon is spent in an area of oak forest offering excellent shelter for many birds. Some of these will be very familiar species like blue tits, jays, sparrows, blackbirds, redstart and wrens. Other birds will include warblers (blackcap, Cetti’s, graceful, lesser whitethroat, olivaceous, Sardinian, spectacled), blackstart, Calandra lark, hoopoe, palm dove, Syrian woodpecker, pipits and wheatears.

At Jerash, Dibbin forest is located near by which represent the last remaining pure Aleppo pine forest in the region. It is dominated by the Aleppo pine pinus haleppensis, arbuts and rachne, Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum), as well as some rarespecies such as different species of orchids and the pistachio lentiscus shrub.

The area represents the best evergreen Oak Forest in Jordan with more than 160 species of plants. The evergreen oak (Quercus Calliprinos) Palestine (Pistacia atlantica) dominates it. Cyclamen (Cyclamen Persicum and some other Mediterranean species, which of some are newly recorded in Jordan.

 

Day 6: Amman, Wadi Shueib, Dead Sea, Dana

Wadi Shueib is one of the main routes down from the hills to the Jordan Valley. It has a permanent flow of water and in spring is covered in a profusion of wild flowers, which in turn provide food for insects and birds. This area should be good for brown-necked raven, woodchat shrike, warblers, blue rock thrush, rufous bush-chat, red-romped swallow bee-eater, hoopoe and doves. The Jordan Rift Valley is a main route for birds migrating between Eurasia and Africa and huge flocks of storks and buzzards and smaller ones of black kites can often be seen passing overhead. There are also many interesting residents such as Smyrna kingfishers and Dead Sea sparrows.

Dead Sea the lowest part in the world, where you can see the tropical elements. Considered to be the best in Jordan as well as its rarity and it newly recording to the Jordan's flora such as the ophioglossum polyphyllum & Moringa aptera and the Dead Sea Orchid Epipactis veratifolia. A swim in the Dead Sea is an experience not to be missed and perhaps a mud bath too. After wadis leading down to the Dead Sea and the hot springs offer a beautiful setting to look for finches and warblers.

Along the shores of the Dead Sea passing by many unexpected springs in this otherwise barren but powerful landscape, and up to Dana.

Wadi shueib where we can find different vegetation types in one place, it is surrounded by med forest in the highlands dominated by the evergreen & dicedous oak (Quercus Calliprinos Q. aegilops) & Q. infectoria) then it changes into shrub veg. Of Retama (Retama raetam), Ferula Cmmunis, to herbs & bushes of Atriplex halimus, Salsola vermiclate and lower down by tropical species such as the ziziphs spinn.chist., Z. lotus.

Dinner and overnight at Rummana Campsite (Dana Nature Reserve).

 

Day 7: Dana Nature Reserve

Spend a day in the beautiful Dana Reserve, which encompasses a major wadi leading down from the hills to the Wadi Arabah (Jordan Rift Valley) more than 1000 meters below. Here we should spot a variety of birds including Steppe and Bonelli’s eagles, Griffon vulture, black kite, Steppe and long-legged buzzards, kestrels, lanner falcon, sand partridge, chukar, palid and alpine swift, rock martins, rock and palm doves, fan-tailed ravens, Tristram’s grackles, rock sparrows, blue rock thrush, house bunting and wheatears.

Dana where to find different veg. Types included in the medet Irano-tauranian, saharo Arabian & Sudanian. You can see more than 680 species of plants from forest trees like the cypress (cypressus sempervirens), Juniper (Juniper Phoemica) to Acacia trees (Acacia radiauna & A. trrtilis) as well as different trees, shrubs herbs & grasses three of them are new to science, Rubia danaensis, Micromeria danaensis & silene danaensis.

Dinner and overnight at Dana Guest House.

 

Day 8: Dana, Petra, Dana

A visit to Jordan is hardly complete without a day in Petra where, amongst the breath-taking testaments of man’s past, many birds live today. The only place in Jordan to see the wild Aloe (Aloe vera) as well as scutlered Juniper (Juniperm phoenica) trees, the oldest plants in Jordan and some Black Iris (Iris petrana).

Dinner and overnight at the Dana Guest House.

 

Day 9: Dana, Wadi Feinan

A walk down through the scenically beautiful, major wadi flowing from the rugged mountains at 1200 meters down to the rift valley floor at sea level. Birding in one of the most dramatic areas of the Great Rift Valley, and the earliest copper mines of the region. Feinan is a unique place to see some relect species of willow salix acmophyila as well as other important trees & shrubs such as Ziziphus spina. Christ Moringa optera, Acasia radianna & A. tortilis and the rare Carallum species.

Dinner and overnight at Feinan Campsite.

 

Day 10: Wadi Feinan, Wadi Araba, Aqaba

This day starts by discovering the beauty of Wadi Feinan, the ancient water system and the medicinal springs.

The tour will continue in the area providing opportunities to see numerous acacia trees and marvel at the wide-open views. Here we can see variety of birds Sand partridge, Griffon Vulture, Arabian Warbler, Egyptian Vulture. The area contains different veg types from Acacia stands dominated by acacia rodinunna & A. tortilis to sand dune veg dominated by Haloxylan persicum & mud flat dominated by saline vegetation.

 

Day 11: Aqaba

The day will end in Aqaba on the Red Sea coast. Jordan’s window to the sea,

Aqaba brings a refreshing release from the rose-colored to the north. Its sandy beaches and coral reefs are the most pristine on the Red Sea.

In Aqaba we can spot a variety of birds White-eyed Gull, Arabian Babbler, Hooded Wheatear, Lanner, Tristram’s Grackle. A unique place to see different species of plants such as the Palm (Phoenix dactylifera) some saline vegetation and the most important plant is the doum Palm (Hyphaene thebaica) which was found after being thought to be extinct from Jordan which forms the most northern wild stand in the world.

 

Day 12: Aqaba, Wadi Rum, Amman

North west into the sandstone deserts of the Wadi Rum area with its rock formations made famous by Lawrence of Arabia and that are home to a number of interesting birds. The Sinai rosefinch shows its special adaptation to the local environment with its rose breast blending into the red rocks of Rum. Other birds we might see are desert and trumpeter finches, house buntings, wheatears, larks, sparrows, fan-tailed and brown-necked ravens, Arabian babblers, rock dove, sand partridge, Tristram’s grackles, eagle owl, kestrels, long-legged buzzards, short-toed eagle.

A remarkable place to see different sand dune vegetation such as Haloxylon persicum Plantage sp Calligonumsp and some Cliff vegetation mainly by perrenials such as varthmica iphionoides, Ballota undulta and the rare Micromeria sinaica.

In the upper mountains some scattered trees of Juniper (Juniperus Phoenica) & Atlantic Pistacia (apistacia atlantica) are found. Ficus pseudo-sycomorus trees are found in most of the low narrow side wadies.

 

Day 13: Amman

Free day in Amman the capital of Jordan. It is the modern and ancient capital of Jordan, formerly the Ammonite capital city of Rabbath- Ammon, and later the Graeco-Roman city called Philadelphia.

 

Day 14: Departure

Depart from Queen Alia International airport.

 

Desert paramours Trek and Travel, Petra - Jordan

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