A 20-km-strip along the Mediterranean coast, from Atlit south to the Taninim River Nature Reserve. The site includes the Atlit saltpans (8 km south of Haifa) and a large complex of fish-ponds at Ma'agan Mikhael and Ma'ayan Zvi, c.25 km north of Netanya, as well as some small islands off Ma'agan Mikhael.
See boxes for key species. Breeding birds include five species of heron and egret and Plegadis falcinellus. The Atlit saltpans hold the only colony of Sterna albifrons in Israel. Good numbers of many waterbird species winter, when up to 55 Circus aeruginosus are also present. Large flocks of Pelecanus onocrotalus occur on passage.
Most ornithological sites within the area are protected as Nature Reserves, e.g. the fish-ponds at Ma'agan Mikhael and Ma'ayan Zvi, and three areas are designated as Mediterranean Specially Protected Areas (Taninim River, 5.5 ha; Dor--HaBonim, 113 ha; Ma'agan Mikhael Islands, 2 ha). Breeding birds at the Atlit saltpans (c.250 ha) are protected by the owner. Part of the protected area includes a proposed marine reserve (450 ha) with a few small islets and rocky shores, used by breeding terns and gulls.
Data-sheet compiled by S. Blitzblau, reviewed by R. Frumkin.