Readers’ wildlife photos

May 11, 2023 • 8:15 am

Today’s photos come from Israel and the camera of Scott Goeppner, a postdoctoral researcher at the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR), Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology. His narrative and captions are indented, and you can enlarge his photos by clicking on them.

Here are some pictures from around the town of Midreshet Ben-Gurion, which is located in the Negev desert of southern Israel:

First, a Nubian Ibex (Capra nubiana), which are common in the town. This one was taken by the cliffs on the southern edge of the town. Ibex are excellent climbers and they like to hang out on the cliffs which provide safety from predators.

Next, the gravesite of David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel and the namesake of Ben-Gurion University. Ben-Gurion led efforts to settle the Negev desert, and moved to Sde Boker, just north of Midreshet Ben-Gurion, after his retirement. He is buried with his wife Paula at the edge of a cliff overlooking the Zin valley.

Behind Ben-Gurion’s grave is a lush park, where the ibex also like to spend time. Here are some more ibex in the park:

Next, a panorama of the desert:

Next, some invertebrates from the area, including:

A Mediterranean red bug (Scantius aegyptius):

A harvestman (Order Opiliones, species unknown):

A cool beetle (Sepidium tricuspidatum):

A terrestrial snail (I’m not sure of the species). The Negev desert does not get much rain, but it does get a fair amount of dew. The dew is enough to support the growth of lichen and algae which the snails pop out and eat during the rainy season:

And a scorpion (Buthus israelis). Probably would not be pleasant to be stung by this!:

Next, some photos from Ein Avdat, an oasis with permanent spring fed pools about 2.5 miles from town.

The waterfall in Ein Avdat:

An Atlantic Terebinth tree (Pistacia atlantica):

On December 25th and 26th, there was an intense rainstorm over the desert that temporarily refilled many of the dry riverbeds near the town. Here is a photo of one of the waterfalls that formed as a result:

9 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. All of these entries are lovely. The Ibex made me wonder what it eats in such a harsh environment. What an environment in which biological evolution has worked its formidable powers.


  2. I don’t think we’ve had a RWP from Israel. These were a real treat. Stark beauty. Those Ibex horns are magnificent.

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