Viker Lookout (Mishmar Hasharon Reservoir) in Emek Hefer is one of the best places in Israel to see pelican migration.
Note: for additional info about animals and wildlife, check out Zoos and Aquariums in Israel.
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Viker Lookout is situated in Emek Hefer, between Beit HaLevi and Olesh. It is also not far from Agamon Hefer.
Some access roads can be closed from time to time. Thus the easiest way to reach this lookout is by using this Link to Waze.
Note: any car can reach Viker Lookout, but the dirt roads leading to this place are not in good condition.
Interactive map of the area:
- Hotels, hostels, and appartments in this area:
Usually, Waze takes me along road #5711. And before turning to Haniel, I continue straight on the dirt road until I reach a three-way junction. At the T intersection, turn left, and after about 1 km, you will see the lookout to your right.
There are no limitations regarding opening hours. But since there is no artificial light and the roads are not that good, visit only during daylight. Moreover, since the main goal is to see pelicans (who stay for the night), it is best to visit in the morning or about one hour before sunset. From my experience, there are more chances to see pelicans in the mornings. Thus, visit before 10:00 and preferably before 9:00.
Are there Migrating Pelicans Now?
Let’s start with the most common question: when and where can we see migrating birds? Bird migration occurs during fall and spring (usually March – April and October – November). And the best way to find out whether pelicans are visiting is by checking Birdsbase.com. Using this link, you can see the list of recent pelican observations.
For more info about pelican migration and pelicans, see Pelican Migration in Emek Hefer.
At Viker Lookout
Viker Lookout is named after the Viker family that donated the money. It is a lookout point at Emek Hefer and one of the best places in Israel to watch pelican migration. And I found out about it only in 2017 through social media. Since then, I have visited this area many times, and now I will share my findings.
My first visit was in the middle of October 2017. We arrived around 9:30 am, quite late, but there were still many pelicans.
As you can see, there is no big parking lot. Thus, people park cars along the roads. Therefore if you arrive late, there is a big chance there will be no nearby parking. Moreover, most pelicans that stay here for the night will leave in the morning. Therefore, I suggest visiting early.
If you come during migration peak, you will see thousands of pelicans after climbing to the lookout.
Many of them were already leaving on their way to Africa.
And many people enjoyed the view:
Of course, there are many photographers 🙂
There is a viewpoint on the other side of the pool. And what I found during all my visits is that you will be closer to the pelicans on the other side. You can either walk there or drive there.
The view from the other side:
The other side is covered with a wired fence, with half a dozen holes you can photograph through.
The second visit in 2017 was at the beginning of November. And there were much fewer pelicans. As you can see, there are about the same number of cormorants as pelicans.
Another shot from the other side:
I visited on the 13 of October 2018, and there were many pelicans. But it was not the peak.
And here are several photos from October 2022:
Pelicans were closer to the viewpoint on the other side of the pool. Thus I took all photos from there. Also, if you visit in the morning (like I usually do), the further lookout is the best spot to photograph. On the lookout on the other side, in the morning, the sun will be at your back, and it will light the pelicans and give you good colors of the birds and the sky.
Mid-October seems like the best time to visit, but this can be affected by climate and other factors.
Note: I took all the photos above with Tamron 200-500 mm on Nikon D610.
Additional Birdwatching Places
If you love birds, check out the following places:
- My favorite places to see bird migration:
- Lovely short family hikes to see birds:
- Agamon Poleg – Short Birding Family Trip around Lake Udim
- Agamon Hefer – Visitors Guide – Bird Watching Park near Netanya
- Hod HaSharon Park – Park by Ecological Lake
- Taninim Stream Nature Reserve
- Hula Nature Reserve and Agamon Hula versus Hula Nature Reserve – Which one is Better?
- Rosh Tzipor Birdwatching Center
- Ein Afek Nature Reserve and Bird Ringing at Ein Afek Nature Reserve
- For people who love parrots:
Additionally, see Zoos and Aquariums in Israel – Full Review (Overview of 30+ places)
If you are looking for a place to eat, there are two popular nearby places. They are Jacobs Dairy Farm and Agadat Lechem, and Arthura Cafe in Ruppin Academic Center.
Viker lookout is one of the best places in Israel to watch pelican migration. And it is free. The only downside is the road. Or actually, the lack of road. My tip would be not to wash the car before visiting. Because of the dirt, you will need to wash it after your visit.
Have you ever been to the Viker lookout? And what about Agamon Hefer? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
Additional ResourcesHere are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.