Tag Archives: spring

Mayor Barkat welcomes swifts nesting at the Kotel – Jerusalem

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men stand on a balcony in the Jewish Quarter and view a welcoming ceremony for thousands of swifts returning from South Africa to nest in the Western Wall as spring and breeding season arrive. Jerusalem, Israel. 12-Mar-2012.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Mrs. Naomi Tsur, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Dr. Yossi Leshem, from the Tel-Aviv University and Society for the Protection of Nature and Amnonn Hahn, General Manager of “FRIENDS OF THE SWIFTS” Association in Israel take part in a welcoming ceremony for thousands of swifts returning from South Africa to nest in the Western Wall as spring and breeding season arrive.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat addresses guests at a welcoming ceremony for thousands of swifts returning from South Africa to nest in the Western Wall as spring and breeding season arrive. Jerusalem, Israel. 12-Mar-2012.

The Western Wall in Jerusalem serves as one of the oldest Common Swift nesting sites in the world. A special study to map the nests was conducted in 2002 by the researcher, Mr. Ulrich Tigges and by the late Prof. Mendelssohn during which 88 nests were noted. This study map served as a guideline during the work of strengthening the Western Wall, keeping the nests unblocked.

Jerusalem Mayor Mr. Nir Barkat and Deputy Mayor Ms. Naomi Tsur exchange words at a welcoming ceremony for thousands of swifts returning from South Africa to nest in the Western Wall as spring and breeding season arrive. Jerusalem, Israel. 12-Mar-2012.

However, the future of the Common Swift is not secure at all and their future is at risk. The FRIENDS OF THE SWIFTS Association, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and Tel-Aviv University are working together to promise the future of the Common Swift by all available means: saving existing nesting sites, designing and building new ones, special educational programs in schools, assisting Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers, and PR activities to increase public awareness of this special bird and the problems it faces.

Jerusalem Mayor Mr. Nir Barkat (C) and Deputy Mayor Ms. Naomi Tsur (R) receive a book on ornithology from Dr. Yossi Leshem (L), of the Tel-Aviv University and Society for the Protection of Nature. Jerusalem, Israel. 12-Mar-2012.

The Common Swift is a unique bird that spends most of its life on the wing. It feeds on flying insects, which it hunts in the air, it drinks while flying, it sleeps on the wing and it even mates on the wing at the beginning of the breeding season. The Common Swift spends most of the time living in South Africa in dense colonial groups and at the beginning of spring starts migrating north to its breeding sites. During mid-February it arrives in Israel, which is known to be one of its first breeding sites, and migrates back to Africa at the beginning of June, immediately after its nestlings have fledged. It is a small bird, weighing only 35 – 45 grams, but is a superior flier, an aerial acrobat. It has a thin, short body and impressive, long, scythe-like wings with an outstanding aspect ratio. Ever since humans have started building cities, the Common Swift has found our buildings perfect for nesting sites including ancient holy sites such as churches, synagogues, mosques and temples, and has become dependent on us.

Swifts begin to congregate above the Western Wall in the late hours of the afternoon in a brilliant aerobatic display of flight capabilities. The Western Wall in Jerusalem serves as one of the oldest Common Swift nesting sites in the world. Jerusalem, Israel. 12-Mar-2012.

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The Gospel Trail

Tourists from Germany traveling along the Gospel Trail rest atop Tel Kinrot, a hilltop located above the fertile Gennesaret and Tabgha Valleys. Tel Kinrot was once a fortified city, mentioned in ancient Egyptian sources. Lower Galilee, Israel. 29th November 2011.

Ein-Nun, the Spring of "Nun" ("fish" in Aramaic) along the Gospel Trail is a stone-lined pool bordered by huge eucalyptus trees, one of many springs along the western side of the Sea of Galilee. Lower Galilee, Israel. 29th November 2011.

The 380-meter-high Mount Arbel cliffs on the Gospel Trail overlook the Sea of Galilee. In Jesus' time this was the main route from Nazareth to the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee. The Gospels indicate that Jesus passed this way several times. Lower Galilee, Israel. 29th November 2011.

Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov prepares to lead a group of journalists horseback riding a section of the Gospel Trail on the day of its official inauguration. Lower Galilee, Israel. 29th November 2011.

Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov leads a group of journalists horseback riding a section of the Gospel Trail on the day of its official inauguration. The trail offers pilgrims and tourists the opportunity to discover the cradle of Christianity. Lower Galilee, Israel. 29th November 2011.

Two priests take part in a sail from Capernaum to Ginosar on the Sea of Galilee in celebration of the inauguration of the Gospel Trail, offering pilgrims and tourists the opportunity to discover the cradle of Christianity. Lower Galilee, Israel. 29th November 2011.

The sun sets on the Sea of Galilee, near Capernaum, the destination of the Gospel Trail. The trail was officially inaugurated today for the benefit of pilgrims and tourists visiting the holy land. Lower Galilee, Israel. 29th November 2011.

Ministry of Tourism press release, 17th November 2011: The Gospel Trail offers pilgrims and tourists, individuals and groups, the opportunity to discover the cradle of Christianity by experiencing – both physically and spiritually – the same biblical landscapes and sites of the Galilee where Jesus and his disciples once walked. The Gospel Trail incorporates over 60 kilometers of specially-signposted footpaths and roads which can be traveled on foot, by bicycle, on horseback and/or car, culminating in the spiritual highlight of sailing on the Sea of Galilee.

The modular trail, which the Ministry of Tourism has developed and renovated together with KKL-JNF in a joint investment of NIS 3 million (NIS 2 million from the Ministry of Tourism’s budget), follows the paths that Jesus is believed to have taken when he left Nazareth, the home of his childhood, for Capernaum on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, which became the center of his ministry. Luke 4: 29 -31: “And they led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, he went his way. Then he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee…”
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