Birds and Salt – A New Birding Center at the Dead Sea

Every spring and autumn the residents of the Dead Sea wake up to the sound of wings of half a billion birds who migrate north over the Great Syrian – African Valley, which is navaled by the Dead Sea.

The Large birds, who often land in private courtyards also rest on the banks of this great salty lake and stop here to rest and oases, after the arduous journey over the deserts, in flight from Africa to Europe and back.

The Dead Sea and Judean Desert are the most important birding areas in the area, and supply a vast and rich touchdown base for the flocks of birds. This is an extreme desert region with multiple oases, impressive cliffs, curved canyons, Highlands and extreme low lands.

The area has a wide range of habitats for birds, qualitative observations on the phenomenon of migratory birds that integrate research and the various habitats and conservation, and strengthening human ties to Industry and Environment.

These conditions make the Dead Sea and Judean Desert a unique center for research, education and tourism, particularly of migratory birds and desert bird watching.

A new Interdisciplinary study Center is now planned by several Dead Sea and the great rift research foundations.

The Dead Sea area in its various aspects has great importance of regional, national and international affairs. The Dead Sea and its surroundings are a unique phenomenon: Here, there is a rare combination of unique conditions and extreme geographical aspects – physical, aspects of geology, climate, animals, plants, mineral, cultural heritage and more. The area is part of the Great Divide (Great Rift Valley – African) – the cradle of civilization, and the longest geological phenomenon – 07,20 km across 22 countries.

"The Dead Sea Research Center for the Great Rift Valley is designed to be the focus of a unique multidisciplinary research, which examines, in an integrative, various aspects of existing rewarded relations between them, and the sea environment – the Dead Sea rift, in order to understand and preserve the singular natural resource, a manner that will grow development and prosperity of the region.

The Center is based on a cooperation between the two main factors: R & D of the Dead Sea (Dead Sea Institute of Research, development and learning) science center along with the Dead Sea and the Arava, which operates as part of a regional R & D s Ministry of Science and sponsored by an academic at the University of the Negev, in cooperation with Tel Aviv University, Dead Sea Research Center and various departments at the university.

Project aid and other partners: the Regional Council for the Tamar, the Negev and Galilee Development Ministry, Ministry of Science and Nature Protection Society.

Center activities will take place in close cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Nature and Parks Authority, and will be open for participation of various organizations, universities and research foundations in Israel and abroad. Special emphasis will be given to projects of cross border cooperation.

The center will be based in Masada and will include rooms for researchers, laboratories, computer rooms, study halls, auditorium, etc .. Meanwhile, we are also considering the establishment of a secondary school in Ein Gedi Field School, which will serve as a visitor center and observatory, as well as geophysical measurement center, with an emphasis on earth sciences, led by Prof. Zvi Ben – Avraham.

Ein Gedi Field School is situated north of the David river reserve overlooking the reserve and the Dead Sea, and is an ideal vantage point for bird migration research, as well as the great rift.

The center, located at Ein Gedi Field School and led by Dr. Yossi Leshem, is expected to be part of a national array of birding centers with 15 stations, and focus in research, educational and conservation of birds as well as growth, and open existing connections with parallels at the Palestinian Authority in Jericho and Wadi Mujib Jib in Jordan. The center should also focus on development of the migration observation by using satellite transmitters and enabling visitors to follow the migration from Europe and Asia through the Great Rift to South Africa.

The area is also home to many birds and animals who live here permanently, including the Arabian babbler bird song (scientific name: Turdoides squamiceps). Their uniqueness is the group life which is maintained throughout the year, including the exact same group of birds who protect their territory.

Social behavior of a population of babblers has been studied since the early 70s, and research led to the discovery of the "handicap principle," which explains evolutionary development of altruism and other social phenomena in animals and man: during the day, babblers guard the group from a high observation point with male and female leaders who reserve for the longest time (handicap principle). The entire group is bringing up babies, even not the biological parents. In many cases (unless this group has only one female or male), it is impossible to know for sure who the biological parents are.

This behavior resembles the life of groups around the Dead Sea for ages: the Judean Desert sect members, known as the Essenes lived at Qumran were having a life of sharing as a group, and most settlements in the vicinity today are either kibbutzim or cooperative unions . This cooperative behavior which is strengthened in the present, may be the result of the harsh physical conditions of the desert for those who want to live in it.

Bird ringing activities occur regularly for the permanent monitoring of the birds, including many species of desert birds like eagles, falcons and more.

Local residents are working to save the nature and the environment, protecting plant and animal population, research and data collection, Development and promotion of green activities, strengthening the relationship of man and nature, involvement of the local population hiker environmental-related activities, and education of the younger generation for love of land and nature, through special projects such as wetlands project working around AHAVA cosmetics factory in the Regional Council Dead Sea Scrolls.

AHAVA, the only cosmetics plant found in its natural environment – the dead sea, works to uncover the secret impacts of minerals on the skin. Consistent scientific approach that led to the AHAVA unparalleled expertise in the field, culminating in an international network development and ongoing academic research.

Loyal advocates of AHAVA philosophy protect the region's beauty and resources inherent in it, factory managers nurtured loving relationships and concern to the Dead Sea, which along its shores they work and live.

The company activities based on environmental and conservation concerns the delicate balance of pure elements in the Dead Sea. Crystalline mineral collection, the minerals of Dead Sea mud and desert plants growing in the clear air of this magical region, is in charge: the plant takes only the necessary to allowing nature to replenish effortlessly.

Production processes are not aware of the needs of environmental pollutants. The plant is not experimenting on animals, and products are packed handset, the recyclable bottles and jars.

The plant's location on the alluvial fan of Nahal degrees Vahccon, along the access road to Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem, Vgerevitadtibi topographical advantages of the innovative project for waste water purification using special vegetation.

The Purification process is carried out according to the principles of wetlands (wet lends) in which the water are passing through a few basins of water – each with different ingredients plants that get rid of waste as well as mosquito smells incubation effects.

Custom automotive chemical plants and waste water of the region's atmospheric conditions. At the end of the process was done in water used to irrigate local trees that are a collection of desert plants, ecological lung, bird attraction, the center of the base if the various activities related to nature, man and environment. Among others you may find here an extinct plant called "hairy stimulus" which has been extinct as a result of man-made activities, and efforts are being made to replace the "imported" vegetation to native vegetation.

Levy Kochav – project manager from Mitzpe Shalem, sees the new green lung and ecological bubble vegetation thickening has made the place suitable as parking spot for migrating birds.

The Dead Sea is always full of surprises, and the birds often show Venudyhen provide rare: during the Great Migration of May 2009, for example, on the shore cliffs Ayanot reserve's northern Dead Sea, was immortalized in a beautiful flamingo, probably breed "Flamingo is "rarely visiting Israel during his journey across continents.

Spectacular water bird, hiding between the feathers combination of bright pink and black colors, and therefore won the Flamingo special name ("burning flame" in Portuguese), has had a few visits to Israel, mainly in the Eilat salt ponds, and maybe he decided to deviate from his habit to recognize the invariant Sea – Dead Sea, which You can wade in natural mineral pools containing fresh water and catch a little oasis of peace and magic.

Shiran Ben Yaacov work INPA reserve Ayanot cliffs, managed to capture the flamingo moments of rest with his camera, even if you did it on one leg ..

Source by Michal Moreno

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