By Keith Marsh from Bird Forum, Great Britain.
Within easy reach of Eilat city, this area is best-known as a raptor migration watchpoint and most of the many species which pass through southern Israel can be seen in good numbers from various points in these hills. In addition the area has many of the desert specialities associated with the Eilat region including Sand Partridge, various larks and wheatears, Tristram's Starling and Brown-necked Raven. Scrub Warbler and Trumpeter Finch are present and in winter, Sinai Rosefinch is regular. Verreaux's Eagle has been seen in this area and may well be regular and Bateleur Eagle has been recorded. Hume's Owls may still be found in these mountains as well as Desert Eagle Owl.
Raptor watching is best from the higher areas and in particular on and near the 734m Mt Yoash, reached from the Ovda road west out of Eilat. Just prior to reaching the highest point of the road a track to the right leads to a tarmac road ending in a kind of car-park. From here there is a track up a nearby hill which overlooks the city. This area is considered by some to be one of the best in the world for spring raptor-watching.
Nubian Ibex Capra ibex nubiana can often be seen in these hills and Rock Hyrax Procavia capensis is common.
En Netaphim has a spring which attracts many of the typical desert species of southern Israel and they can often provide excellent views. The spring is signposted to the right from the Ovda road just past Mt Yoash on a rough track. This track leads steeply down into a wadi beyond which is a flat area where cars could once be left, then a drop into another wadi and the spring. However, the track is now probably impassable for most cars. There is a steep path down to it or a longer but easier path to the right of the "car-park".
BIRDS INCLUDE: Black Stork (PM), White Stork (PM), Honey Buzzard (PM), Black Kite (PM), Short-toed Eagle (PM), Eurasian Sparrowhawk (PM), Levant Sparrowhawk (PM), Long-legged Buzzard, Steppe Buzzard (PM), Lesser Spotted Eagle (PM), Steppe Eagle (PM), Eastern Imperial Eagle (PM), Lanner Falcon, Barbary Falcon, Sand Partridge, Common Crane (PM), Desert Eagle Owl, Hume's Owl (rare), Little Green Bee-eater, Desert Lark, Hooded Wheatear, White-crowned Black Wheatear, Scrub Warbler, Ruppell's Warbler (PM), Brown-necked Raven, Tristram's Starling, Trumpeter Finch, Sinai Rosefinch (W), House Bunting.