Rare Songbird Sighting Delights Bird-watchers in Israel's South

Common grasshopper warbler spotted near Eilat - the first time in 30 years the small insect-eating bird has been spotted in Israel.

A common grasshopper warbler was spotted near Eilat early on Tuesday, the first time in 30 years one has been reported in Israel, says the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.

SPNI ornithologists placed a tag on the small insect-eating bird to make it easier for researchers to track its journey to other countries. The common grasshopper warbler can usually be found in Europe or Asia when the weather is warm, migrating to central Africa when it gets too cold on those continents.

The songbird was discovered at the Bird Watching Park north of Eilat by Yotam Lanrad, a volunteer with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, who found it in a net he was using to enable the birds to be tagged for research purposes.

When he realized he had accidentally bagged a bird rarely seen in the area, Lanrad reported the news to Itai Shanni, the Eilat and Arava regional coordinator for SPNI's Israel Ornithology Center, who took pictures of the songbird. It was released after being photographed and tagged.