Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cold and Wet

Here part of the water left the usual creek bed and coursed out over the surface of the fore part of gazelle field. It will rejoin the usual water courses further along. This will all be gone in a few hours and the stream bed itself will not be flowing tomorrow already. East end of north valley forest visible to the left, leaves of the pines by the bunker, upper right.

Jerusalem, Israel

Rained pretty much all night though in other parts of the city there was sleet, snow and ice. Temperatures were just above zero, just below taking into account chill factor. When I looked out there was no snow cover anywhere I could see but from reports some roads had ice problems and buses were delayed running a couple of hours (usually they start at about 6 a.m.)

Range today: -1 to 4 degrees C,

First bird I heard about dawn was a sunbird Nectarinia osea right outside bedroom window squeaking away. Later husband saw one sitting on the decorative iron bars outside his office window ruffling and whirring its bedraggled feathers repeatedly for several minutes as if trying to blow dry itself.

House sparrows and white spectacled bulbuls also vocal in the garden, hooded crow from farther off and brief blackbird calls. Laughing dove foraging on the ground just off the main street. (usual for them.. normally in pairs but this one was alone.. and startled into flight by a firework that must have been hundreds of feet off)

~4.30 p.m. temp. `3.2 degrees C, humidity 100%, wind WNW 8.7 kt

Stream was in full flow today, had to jump over the split courses twice approaching look-out corner.

Black redstart on rebar at the rubble, nice male stonechat on the scrub right next to it, first I've seen in days. Jay foraging in the woods, blackbirds also quite vocal in the woods, some song heard. Sparrowhawk glimpsed in the eucalyptus grove region. Graceful warblers heard calling and a few hooded crow around. Otherwise bird life was keeping a low profile as it was drizzling cold rain on and off.

Weather conditions were almost identical at James Reserve in California.

Steller's Jay gang at the James Reserve main feeder

So far the usual mountain chickadees have visited the feeder as well as a male purple finch and a pygmy nuthatch. Yesterday after my report there were also pygmy nuthatches as well as a pair of highly glossy American crows. Right now there's a white breasted nuthatch and more mountain chickadees, the latter by far the most frequent and numerous visitor, purple finches coming close behind. An American crow has just turned up, LOL this is becoming a running commentary! It's nearly 8.30 a.m. over there and already dark here in Jerusalem.... The crow has gone now but A Steller's Jay has just arrived, gorgeous violet/blue tones on wings and tail. Little family gangs of these dudes are common at James reserve.

At Denbury farm, SW England, approaching noon a little gang of great tits competed at the one feeder just one third full and two robins made an appearance, one dive bombing the other (ducked down just in time) which had landed on a squirrel feeder. A couple of wild rabbits foraged on the grass behind, one chasing the other briefly. A handsome male pheasant strolled by a few times times. A pair of charming long tailed tits came by as well as brief visits by both coal tits and marsh tits. The tits (chickadees) are very well represented in the UK! About noon the farmer came by to refill all the feeders. In less than a minute a blue tit, then great tits, then a whole gang of greenfinches descended on the feeders as well as a grey squirrel and a brief visit by a female blackbird followed by a number of chaffinches and brief house sparrow visits. This far into the country the sparrows have to compete with numbers of true finches! The feeders seem to be right by a rough public footpath since I've seen people walk their dogs right by it several times, but I've also seen red foxes and other delights on this webcam when people aren't around. I love this set of feeders, one of the busiest I've seen. This above was all within about half an hour.

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