Saturday, January 19, 2008

18th, 19th Jan Friday, Saturday

Creek trail facing south-ish, approaching the sapling field. Sunset

Heard on Friday from the house: house sparrows, white spectacled bulbuls, hooded crows and jackdaws.

Saturday 19th Jan
3-11 degrees C . ~4.30 p.m. 10.5 degrees C, humidity: ~27.5%, wind: ESE still
Skies quite clear, a few high altitude clouds.
Garden: House sparrows, Senegal dove/laughing dove cooing
Valley Road after 4 p.m. Rock hyrax quite active today, a few adults browsing on scrub on forest side of valley road. Up by pumping station a number of individuals moving over the boulders up high on the slope to the west. Several young. Interestingly, significantly lighter coloured fur on these winter born youngsters we saw in the summer of the same size. Summer youngsters seem to have a deep chocolate covered fur but these, just as small, had lighter greyish brown colouration like the adults.
Like the feral dogs it looks like these mammals also want to breed in the winter, perhaps taking advantage of the rainy season food opportunities.
The feral dog pack was heard over to the east barking somewhere by the security fence.
Feral pigeons were also in the mood to breed. I watched a male follow a female from balcony ledge to balcony ledge, going into his bowing and pacing routine the moment she seemed to be giving him the time of day. She did not seem to be interested though, and moved on.
Great tits singing near pumping station, two individuals or one with two songs (quite common in great tits). At dusk, just after 5 p.m. blackbird song heard from down in pines just north of the turn in valley road.
White spectacled bulbuls also active on the bank.. two in an acacia, flew up to another acacia by the buildings.. much vocalization in there. From the sound of it that tree was probably already occupied by a foraging bulbul pear.
Three male greenfinches noticed on top of a cypress just east of valley road.
White wagtails heard.
Falcon flew from hill to west across the valley and toward windsurfer hill, probably kestrel. As it approached the flock of hooded crows rose up from the hill, though that might have been coincidence as soon before husband had noticed people making their way up the tree so probably had nothing to do with the falcon. The crows were heading out in various directions, at least 75 birds. At least 30 birds joined them from the north in the course of the time we were there.
Look out corner quite quiet, no sign of gazelles, no sound of black redstart but a sharp tzip started up in the corner eucalyptus. Soon after a graceful warbler called from the scrub below and bird in the euc answered, from the location sounded likely same bird so it seems that call is another one of the graceful warbler repertoire. It seems that most birds have at least half a dozen calls apart from their song, and learning their variations can take quite some time and attention. Sometimes for fun we imagine the content of their dialogue. Perhaps this one went something like:
'alarm alarm humans with black tube objects!'
'nah it's those two dorks who always come down here!'
'oh yeah, didn't recognize them from this angle..'
Syrian woodpecker heard calling repeatedly in eucalyptus grove area.

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