The Levant has long been a crossroads for people of the Asian, African and European continents. It is therefore no surprise that it is also a crossroads for other species on the globe. In particular, a great many bird species cross this area regularly and use it as part of their migratory paths each year. As such, this is a wonderful place for those who love to watch not only people but also the creatures of the air. And indeed, the area’s reputation has been growing in that regard, which is why it is now becoming a popular tourist activity to go bird watching in Aqaba, one of the most picturesque and bio-diverse locations in the entirety of the Levant.
It is a pity bird watching in Aqaba or anywhere else in Jordan does not receive as much press as the other regular tourist activities here, for there is so much of it possible: no fewer than 17 Important Bird Areas or IBAs may be identified in the country, for example. Aqaba has a good number of them too because of its location near water and the wild diversity of terrain it boasts within its boundaries. With all sorts of terrain on its landscape from woodland brush to sandy deserts, it is the sort of place where different bird species with different needs and preferences can safely touch down and make themselves comfortable for a short respite in their long yearly migrations. Several hundred species pass by the region each year, and taken all together, well over a million specimens of these species make their trips through Aqaba’s territories.
You can find a great many species from the Southeastern Common Redstart to the Purple Swamphen. To up your chances of seeing something wonderful, it is probably best to head for the Aqaba Bird Observatory, which was established with the specific goal of both keeping an eye on the animals and ensuring that they are safe. There is a visitor’s centre where you can get vital information on the species that may be present at the usual bird watching haunts at the time of your visit, and you can also check out the observatory’s bird watching spot: the so-called bird’s hide.
Note that a great deal of your success in bird watching in Aqaba is dependent not just on your fortune but also in foresight. For example, you can hardly expect to get a good crop of bird species on your “spotted” list if you come to the country during a time when hardly any species are migrating. At such times, most of the species you shall see shall obviously be those found in the country at any time of the year, and thus considered common. While the best times for catching the creatures in their migration vary across species, the general consensus among bird watchers is that the ideal seasons, on the whole, would be those of spring and autumn. The former would be around April and the latter around March.