Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The old cisterns by gazelle field, now full.

Mon 7th Jan:

blackbird song at dawn barely light, it was in the Bauhinia or the willow. Near.
Also heard from indoors, from garden and street:
house sparrows, hooded crows, jackdaws, white wagtails, laughing doves (cooing, full but quiet), white spectacled bulbuls.
Temp range 5-11 degrees C. ~4.30 p.m. 8 degrees C and falling. Humidity 80% and rising. Wind WSW 11 + kt

hooded crows seemed very interested in something on the bank between valley road and the buildings. One alighted in a cypress tree there, another on a post at the top. One flew down briefly and seemed to be trying to get something, fluttering, almost hovering, but appeared to give up and retreat to the tree. Looking, we noticed two pretty feral cats of a variety common here.. black/grey mackerel striped upper body, pure white underbody. They rubbed their glands against the scrub and played a little, then both retreated up the slope, looking back. We went to the boulders under the cypress to see if there was, as we strongly suspected, a den of kittens there. The crows were still watching and both cats paused at the top of the bank and watched us. They seemed too young to have their own kittens. Older siblings or just precocious? At any rate the jumble of boulders around those cypresses was too extensive for us to search with the fading light and other things to see, we decided to leave them in peace.

Tues 8th Jan:

Temp range 7-12 degrees C. Just after 4 p.m. 8.7 degrees C, humidity 99%, wind westerly 6+ kt

From the house:
House sparrows, white spectacled bulbuls, sunbird, great tit, hooded crows, a brief twitter, sounded like a greenfinch. Two fighting sunbirds flying fast and with agitated twittering from the buildings over the bank and valley road to the pines. Territorial dispute no doubt. Row of feral pigeons hunched the length of a roof rail, a laughing dove not far away.

gazelle grazing in the east valley pines just north of the saplings field, several hundred metres south of gazelle field. They bounded toward the east, across the valley trail and up the hill slope to the east. They appeared to be young individuals though pretty much fully grown.

The stream has a light trickle of water, which was handy since my boots were getting quite caked with reddish mud, and the trail at the bottom of the valley was heavy, humid and laden with the aroma of eucalyptus and pine. Who needs a humidifier, anyone with chest complaints should just take that walk there a few times a day, it wasn't too cold to be beneficial at that time.

We heard black redstarts but 'Blackjack' was not around the rubble, perhaps had already retired for the day.

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