Thursday, January 31, 2008

Snow in Jerusalem

East Valley and Mir Forest.. taken about 9 a.m. Arab town of Hizmeh on opposite hilltop

Tuesday night shortly before the clouds opened seriously we took a walk down valley road.. about 10.10 p.m. spotted two gazelle barely visible in the shadows of the pines just down from the road a few dozen metres.

Tuesday night and Wednesday night snow fell over the neighbourhood, a little more heavily on wednesday night. Part of the time this was rain, sleet or hail and with thunder, but there was enough snow to leave up to four inches in the garden. We're only barely a quarter of the way up the eastern slopes of the hill on which our neighbourhood stands. Closer to the top of the hill the snow was at least eight inches deep.

Thursday: Range 0-4 degrees C

~4.30 p.m. ~3.5 degrees C, 77% humidity, wind W 6.1 kt
By the time we went out much of the snow was already melted and the stream in the valley was rushing with meltwater. There were still patches at higher elevations and partially shaded areas in the flat little 'meadows' by the stream. Many people and children have been walking and playing in the valley much of the day enjoying the snow on the ground and admiring the rushing brook and the little waterfall since we only have a snowfall once every several years.

The presence of people would keep the gazelle away and I'm eager to see that they survived. Rock hyrax were busy by valley road climbing into the lower branches of cypress trees and nibbling away. It's much easier for them than for the gazelle as they can huddle in their family groups under the boulders.

We did hear Syrian woodpecker and blackbird alarm calls as well as numerous black redstart 'seeps'. Small bands of chaffinches were roaming around, alighting on tops of cypresses. Feral pigeons were lined up back on the roof rails and house sparrows were heard. Yesterday a great tit was singing briefly in the garden in the early afternoon.

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