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Ma'agan Mikhael - BirdForum Opus


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Overview

Within easy reach of Tel Aviv and with specialties such as Pallas's Gull and Armenian Gull, Ma'agan Mikhael is justifiably a very popular birding site for visitors to Israel.

An area of fish ponds close to the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean coast, this site attracts a wide range of seabirds, waders and other wetland birds. The ponds are situated in an area of orchards and scrubby fields which are home to another set of species.

Birds

Notable Species

Pallas's Gull and Armenian Gull are winter visitors, generally arriving in October-November and staying until April. Yellow-legged Gull and Slender-billed Gull can also be seen. Greater Sand Plover and Spur-winged Plover are other specialities of the area. Kittlitz's Sand Plover has occurred several times in winter in recent years, Greater Painted-snipe is a possiblity and Crab Plover has been recorded.

Regular passage waders include Temminck's Stint and Little Stint, Marsh Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper and Broad-billed Sandpiper and Ruff. Great White Pelican and both storks, Greater Flamingo, Glossy Ibis and Eurasian Spoonbill can be seen, herons include Squacco Heron and Black-crowned Night Heron and Great White Egret is a winter visitor. Various ducks occur on passage and in winter.

Common Kingfisher, White-breasted Kingfisher and Pied Kingfisher are all easy to find and Little Crake and Baillon's Crake are present. Passerines found around the ponds include Clamorous Reed Warbler and in winter, Moustached Warbler, Bluethroat and Penduline Tit.

The scrub and cultivated areas around the ponds hold Crested Lark, Graceful Warbler, and in summer, Ruppell's Warbler. Yelkouan Shearwater are common over the sea.

Rarities

Vagrants are frequently reported and even include Nearctic waders, White-rumped Sandpiper and Baird's Sandpiper being recent records.

Check-list

Birds you can see here include:

Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Yelkouan Shearwater, Northern Gannet, Great Cormorant, Great White Pelican, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Black Stork, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Ruddy Shelduck, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Short-toed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Steppe Buzzard, Greater Spotted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Chukar Partridge, Common Quail, Water Rail, Little Crake, Baillon's Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Spur-winged Plover, Northern Lapwing, Little Stint, Temminck's Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Arctic Skua, Great Black-headed Gull, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Heuglin's Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Armenian Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Little Swift, White-breasted Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Eurasian Hoopoe, Syrian Woodpecker, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Water Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Citrine Wagtail, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Common Wren, Eurasian Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, European Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Eurasian Blackbird, Song Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Graceful Warbler, Moustached Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Ruppell's Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Penduline Tit, Palestine Sunbird, Common Jay, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Linnet, Ortolan Bunting, Cretzschmar's Bunting, Reed Bunting

Other Wildlife

To do

Site Information

History and Use

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Areas of Interest

A short distance from the Ma'agan Mikhael turn-off is a football pitch, from here either turn north (right) towards a cemetery where Ruppell's Warbler occurs in nearby rocks, or, continue to a barrier from which the ponds and shore can be explored on foot.

There are further fish ponds to the north at Mayan Zevi and further north still is the beach resort of Nahsholim where seawatching from the rocky headlands can produce shearwaters and skuas.

Access and Facilities

Ma'agan Mikhael lies just north of Nasholim on either side of the Tel Aviv-Haifa motorway, about 50km north of Tel Aviv and 30km south of Haifa. Turn west (left) off the old Tel Aviv-Haifa road (Route 4, not the motorway) at the Ma'agan Mikhael signpost.

Contact Details

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External Links

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Content and images originally posted by Steve

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