Sunday, February 10, 2008


Mr. molerat (Spalax) was here. If you look carefully you can see the mounds extending all the way to the trees in a jagged line. They also extend a few dozen metres behind us.. He was busy! These excavations are already a few weeks old.

Absolutely gorgeous spring day today. Temperatures up, a slight haze and sun and a sense of burgeoning luminosity in the forest that really lifts the spirits, a sense of life happening, the earth quickening, a thrill in the air.

A blackbird was singing outside my window for much of the afternoon, light laughing dove coos heard, much house sparrow activity and some white spectacled bulbul vocalizations. Also to my delight the squeaky calls of a sunbird. Husband also saw a sunbird active on the cape honeysuckle. These delicate birds would probably have had the hardest time over the snow but they had evidently found a way to survive.

Range today 8-16 degrees C, at about 4.30 p.m. humidity 61% and rising, winds that had been light south easterly for much of day changed, picked up and became westerlies about 3 p.m. and onward.

Nature was not wasting any time getting moving. We found a caterpillar nest on the ground already with a small pile of scores of tiny larva under a gauze awning.

We took fresh photographs of red anemone and asphodel which I posted in relevant earlier entries, replacing the photographs I'd posted before. The asphodel flower spikes are generally about two and a half feet high growing from a radiating 'star' of long narrow green leaves typical of the onion/garlic/lily family. We're always on the look out for new flowers in bloom and the new one today was a small brilliant yellow six petalled flower growing close to the ground. The closest I find in my guide is Bongardia chrysogonum. Savyon are still everywhere and broom is still flowering by the roadside.

The bunker rubble was inhabited by at least one black redstart as well as a European robin, the two species briefly sharing the same rebar or very closely adjacent ones. No skirmish, looks like they have no territorial problems there even though they pretty much fill the same niche.. or do they? Any slight difference in food preferences would make tolerance more likely but perhaps there are so many invertebrates available right now it's not an issue. A robin would chase off another robin.

Husband briefly spotted a sparrowhawk fly behind the pine and eucalyptus groves to the east and I was delighted to notice again another cattle egret (3rd for the patch) pass over from north to south, quite a bit higher than canopy level but not very high. Then we noticed a small musical group of finches, probably linnets soon followed by a small flock of white wagtails. More groups of wagtails followed at intervals, all coming from forage in the north and heading south to roost, probably some nice warm big communal roost in the city.

Hooded crows, Syrian woodpeckers, great tits and feral pigeons were also active.

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