Sunday, January 27, 2008

The seven 'dwarfs'

Today's range 6-9 degrees C

From the house: house sparrows, white spectacled bulbuls, orange tufted sunbird squeaky calls, greenfinch twitters in the garden, jackdaws briefly, laughing dove coo.

~ 4.30 p.m. 6.5 degrees C, humidity 86%, NW 7 kt
Heading down into the valley, great tits in the pines, calls of black redstarts. It was already getting quite dim when we were out, much already returned to roost. We did see some hooded crows on their way. Some blackbirds heard in song or alarm calls.

Our nicest treat was a whole troupe of gazelles under the pines just north of the saplings field. Seven of them, most with itsy bitsy thin horns, no more than 4 inches at most I'd guess, perhaps one or two with larger horns up ahead) and most did not seem quite full grown. The largest led them across the creek and creek trail (not flowing, merely damp with the tiniest trickle) and then on up the slope to the east, the wooded lower slopes of 'windsurfer hill'. They had apparently been grazing in the lush grassy flat area just west of the stream They went pretty much in single file up the slope at a leisurely place and stopped a little short of the tree line to graze in a grassy area on the slopes. This is the largest group we've seen together in a long time.

Our next treat was the call of stone curlews as the valley became dark, at least two individuals answering each other. Not the longer warbling we heard from them back in the breeding season but just a couple of carrying clear notes each call.

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