The Palestine Sunbirders

The Palestine Sundbirders are back! You better watch your score 😉

mahmiyat-logoEven better, we are a team of four this year, supported by the new Palestinian nature parks and nature conservation website www.mahmiyat.ps and the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

Noam and Saed participated in the Champions of the Flyway together in 2014 and you might remember that the Palestinian team had the highest score that year. This year we are a team of two birdwatchers (Noam and Saed), one bird photographer (Sultan) who will spot just everything there is to spot and one nature tour guide (Khaled) whose specialty is to find wildlife for tourists. So we are prepared to take the title back!

HSSWatching and photographing birds is one of the fun things we like to do in our free time and this is also what brings us together and made us meet in the first place. We envy the freedom of birds a bit, crossing countries with no permits, visas or passports necessary. For us this is so much more difficult but it will not stop us to do what we love.

All of us are in love with nature and bird conservation; hence, we want to contribute to BirdLife Turkey’s efforts to protect birds from illegal killing. However, we need your help to raise as much money as possible for this good cause. So please support our team and we do our best to support bird conservation in any country, as these birds belong to all of us or better to say, all these countries where they migrate through belong to them. Birds do not know borders and we do not know borders when it comes to their protection.

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Meet the Team

Sultan Sa’dy

Sultan Sa’dy

Sultan Sa’dy from the city of Jenin in Palestine is a wildlife photographer since already ten years. His strong interest in nature and wildlife brought him to wildlife photography. One of his greatest passions is photographing birds, which took him to the journey of learning about bird behavior and migration. Sultan likes to observe birds in the IBA’s close to his city and in other Palestinian areas. Birds are wonderful and gentle creatures, seeing them flying freely in the skies is just a victory for his beliefs against illegal killing wildlife. Sultan likes to share his bird pictures to inspire appreciation and understanding for these creatures. As every year the migratory birds visit Jenin twice, in spring and autumn, he will give all his time to document them through his camera and show their beauty to others. It makes Sultan happy, when they travel back safely to where they came from and when he can meet them again next year. This year he decided to race for their conservation and to support the conservation efforts in Turkey against the human activities that kill birds.

Saed Shomaly

Saed Shomaly from Bethlehem is a member of the Palestine Wildlife Society since 2002. In 2014, Saed and his team members won the “champions of the flyway” race, hence he knows the game and he is very motivated to take the title back. He is a birdwatcher and finds peace in watching birds, so he decided to help them. For this cause, he is participating in workshops to raise awareness for bird conservation in schools and universities both in Palestine and abroad especially about the illegal hunting and caging of songbirds like the goldfinches. Saed took some training courses in bird taxonomy and ringing and he is trained in helping wounded birds of prey that suffered from hunter attacks. He met Khaled in an eco-tourism course in which Saed trained the participants in birdwatching and bird identification. Noam and Saed met in a bird ringing course in Jordan, where Noam was the trainer, many years ago and they are friends ever since. Saed enjoys what he is doing for bird protection, so this year he wants to race again for their conservation.

Saed Shomaly

Khaled Khlaif

Khaled Khlaif

Khaled Khlaif from Betlehem is a tour guide, specializing on natural sites all over Palestine. It is his first time to take part in the Champions of the Flyway but he is very excited about it. Khaled is highly interested in nature and wildlife and recently graduated from a training course for ecotourism. When he guides eco-tours, he uses his guiding as a tool to create awareness for nature conservation goals. While specializing in eco-tourism and learning about nature and wildlife, Khaled was fascinated from the beauty and gentleness of birds, hence he especially enjoyed the training in bird watching and identification. For Khaled birds are gifts of God and he is concerned that they will be able to continue their way to and through Palestine every year on their migration route. Khaled and Saed are enjoying birdwatching together in the natural areas around Betlehem and you can find them spending most of their free time outside in the field. Khaled decided to help the birds and through racing for these gorgeous feathered creatures, he can be actively engaged in the conservation efforts against their illegal killing in Turkey.

Noam Weiss

Noam Weiss from Beer Ora in Israel works for the SPNI and is the manager of the IBRCE in Eilat. Noam is a birdwatcher since he was 10 years old and he is very passionate about his work and hobby. He already took part twice in the Champions of the Flyway race and, together with Saed, came back with the highest score in 2014. Noam loves birds and his main goal is to protect them and make sure they will have a save journey on their migration. Hence, the IBRCE is not just a place for people to enjoy watching birds or to collect data for research but first it is a sanctuary for migratory and local birds to refill their energy reserves. Noam and the whole IBRCE team, armed with state of the art Zeiss optics, are constantly working on enhancing the site for the birds. Another big challenge Noam is facing every day is the negative impact humans can have on birds by destroying their habitats, hunting them or building wind parks in their main migration route. Hence, Noam is guiding groups to create awareness and he is fighting against negative human impacts directly. Racing for a good cause, to protect birds from illegal hunting just combines his passions for birdwatching and bird conservation.

Noam Weiss