A largely agricultural area (orchards, wheat, legumes, cotton), stretching from Karkur to Tira, c.10 km inland from Netanya near the Mediterranean coast. There are some fish-ponds and reservoirs scattered within the valley.
See box for key species. Three species of heron and egret breed, and non-breeding summer visitors include Casmerodius albus, Ardea cinerea, A. purpurea, Ardeola ralloides, Ciconia ciconia, Platalea leucorodia, Plegadis falcinellus and Fulica atra. Wintering numbers of Grus grus have fluctuated but have not been less than 100 since 1980. Other notable wintering species include Circus aeruginosus (25). Large flocks of Pelecanus onocrotalus occur on passage.
Most of the area is not protected. A new National Park (Hasharon, c.600 ha) is being developed, which will include Brehat Ya’ar (Birket Ata), a small wetland and proposed Nature Reserve (c.20 ha) holding the breeding waterbirds and non-breeding summer visitors mentioned above. There are local threats from urbanization, human disturbance, agricultural intensification and pollution.
Data-sheet compiled by S. Blitzblau, reviewed by R. Frumkin.