Sunday, February 17, 2008

The smallest bird

Goldcrest, (Wikipedia) Tiny little bird ~9cm with very high pitched repeated calls,

Thursday(feb 14): Walk cancelled due to rain. Heard from the house, house sparrows, white spectacled bulbuls, laughing dove coos, hooded crows, brief great tit and plenty beautiful blackbird song. Often heavy cloud cover mimics dusk conditions, a blackbird's favourite singing time.

Friday (feb 15) : Heard from the house, house sparrows, laughing dove coos, blackbird, great tits and hooded crows. Regular blackbird song in the garden these days. Too busy with Shabbat for a walk.

Saturday(feb 16): afternoon before sunset: house sparrows, laughing dove, white spectacled bulbul, hooded crow, jackdaw, jay, (black redstarts?) graceful warblers, blackbirds (song), stone curlew, great tits and a very definite chukar partridge call just down from the pumping station, a clear rhythmic 'CHUCK-uk-kuk' that is probably a male's call.
In addition we saw an excited feral dog all by himself evidently on the trail of something. It was ranging down from east field, through the orchard, almost running, nose to the ground, then along the damp stream bed into gazelle field, going at quite some speed. We wondered what he was onto, perhaps a fox's trail? Was he just trying to pick up the trail of the other dogs, or perhaps a female?

Totally clear skies today(Sunday, Feb 17) though snow forecast for later in the week. Calm before the storm?
Today: Range 4-13 degrees C,
temp: 12.8 degrees C and falling, humidity 40% and rising, wind WSW very light house sparrow and hooded crow, though window closed much of the day. (Combination of reasons, pollution from a diesel engine across the road, fireworks, etc)
Heading down to the valley in the afternoon:
Group of 7 gazelles grazing in north east corner of gazelle field, they moved over to the northern area by the pylon, their favourite spot, and grazed there for a happy while

Apart from the (always welcome) gazelle, best sighting, or rather, hearing, of the day was the call of a goldcrest Regulus regulus high in the pines near the middle of east valley, just off central trail. These are occasional winter visitors but this habitat is perfect for them. I was used to seeing them in South Wales where they were regular winter visitors but have had very little experience of them in Israel.

At the bottom of the valley we heard black redstart calls but the bird/s themselves were elusive, the regular did not make an appearance on the bunker ruins. However, numbers of Eurasian jay were active and foraging, a few vocal. Husband spotted a brownish plumaged falcon fly from the eucalyptus grove over gazelle field and into the north valley woods. I caught only a brief glimpse of it. Great tits and graceful warblers also busy and active, foraging and singing. Feral pigeons and jackdaws about. Other various small jobs brief calls heard and glimpsed, probably greenfinches, linnets, chiffchaffs and white wagtails.

Sitting here, just after 6.00 p.m. I just heard the sound of a stone curlew coming from over east valley somewhere.

No comments: