Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Frisky Gazelles

Cape honeysuckle over our entrance way, flower much loved by the sunbirds for their nectar. Photo taken this morning.

Dec 24th, mon.
6-13 degrees C, ~4 p.m. ~10 degrees C; humidity: 65% plus and rising; wind: west ~7 kt for a few hours in the late afternoon, early evening, but light easterlies most of the rest of the day.
Group of 4 gazelle in valley same place as yesterday, entering the dry stone wall enclosed fields area by the pylon then they spread out to graze under and around the almond trees. Stonechats on the scrub and black redstart on one of the dry stone walls near them, made a delightful panorama over there, we just didn't have a zoom powerful enough to capture that.
25 crows made a fly by again from northern foraging grounds to windsurfer hill. I've been hearing jackdaws and hooded crows for most of the day from my room, as well as house sparrows, white spectacled bulbuls and a sunbird sounding anxious in the garden.
Eurasian jays also busy and about foraging in the valley and have been noticed in the garden areas of the neighbourhood though quiet today. Syrian woodpeckers very quiet lately and no sign of the collared doves. They may have moved down to the Jordan valley when the nights got colder, we noticed a LOT already down there on our last trip north a few weeks ago.
Blackbirds , some calling around dusk. A Eurasian sparrowhawk flew over gazelle field area from north to south, probably to roost.

Dec 25th, tues.
Range: 7-14 degrees C, ~4 p.m. 10.7 degrees C and falling, humidity 66.6% and rising, wind WNW 4.3 kt
Tues: Heard in full song:great tit, garden mid aft, Blackbird, pinewoods. Also seen and/or heard: stonechats, black redstarts, hooded crows, jackdaws, Eurasian Jays, White spectacled bulbuls, house sparrows, sparrowhawk, graceful warblers, feral pigeons, sunbird in our garden
We walked down to the short concrete pilings where the stream approaches the security fence. Nice walk, plenty mole rat activity down there. Stonechats by the pilings. Strange low owl like calls from the rocks across the stream but light too dim to make out anything there esp something camouflaged as an owl.

Dec 26th Wed
Range 7-14 degrees C, ~4 p.m. 11.9 degrees C, humidity 58% and rising, wind ESE and quite still.
From garden: House sparrows, great tit, bulbuls, white wagtail, jackdaws, hooded crows, laughing dove coos.

Frisky gazelle! Male chasing female from hillside just north of east end of north valley all the way across the north end of gazelle field to behind the cistern. At that point seemed each in turn became aware of our presence. They paused briefly then continued their chase back across the field again to the woods. They were not the only ones in a frisky mood, two hornless gazelles also had a little chase across north field a few minutes later.

The security fence was hopping with stonechats today, using the barbed wire both levels and scrub for look out perches. A smallish/medium sized raptor passed over us to the east, flapping vigorously since the air was so still. Probably a kestrel but we got no more than a silhouette back view. Black redstart on his favourite arched rebar in the bunker ruins again. Others around, one calling insistently from the eucalyptus grove.

Eurasian Jay flew over field but generally woods quite quiet today, not even a blackbird 'chack' or woodpecker call.

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