Thursday, March 20, 2008

Do you know this tree?

Budding trees. Taken yesterday (by A.Atwood) at the small abandoned orchard at the bottom of east valley by the stream trail between the pine growth and the eucalyptus grove.. it definitely looks like a plantation rather than a natural stand but I've never noticed fruits on these trees, perhaps because they need to be tended to produce. The area is pretty much rectangular and the trees themselves are on average about 12 feet high. If these are familiar to you pls let us know, we'd really like to know what they are. We'll try to catch some flowers later in the season.

Gorgeous lush carpet of clover on the open ground between all the trees.

Temps, pretty much reaching ~20 C every day now, usually clear skies, last couple of days winds frequently easterly but it's been varying a lot, even within one day. No doubt the storks want the winds more SE. When the wind veers to westerlies (as today) that doesn't help them, unless they can catch a thermal earlier and glide down, which is an important technique for them. We keep looking out at the skies periodically through the day but no luck yet. A flock can pass in less than fifteen minutes. Cranes are a little more obvious when they pass since they have a beautiful carrying warbling honk and they go by in skeins as opposed to the high spread out silent stork flocks. White storks appear vivid white in the sky, cranes more of a dirty white.

Swifts noticed last few days.. group of about 10 in the centre of the neighbourhood, ones and twos and screaming at the edge of the neighbourhood and over the valley at about dusk.

Chukar partridge vocal and active in the east valley just down from the pumping station last couple of days.

In the gardens: white spectacled bulbuls, house sparrows, sunbirds, laughing dove coos.
In the woods: Chiffchaffs seen and heard foraging, blackbirds* vocal and some song, stone curlews vocal about dusk, Eurasian jays active, some calls, great tits and graceful warbler also about. Hooded crows about.
A couple of rock hyrax noticed on the bank by valley road just down from the school, the smallest colony, (unless they're from cypress slum and on a foray) .

*Just in case you were wondering, yes this is the same blackbird that in some sense inspired the Beatles song.
In the UK they're a very common thrush and well known songster, I've heard them many times singing in the dark before dawn there and Sir Paul McCartney would be familiar with them although the song is actually ABOUT the struggle for the rights of African Americans.

This evening Rabbi Goldwasser told me that he and his wife observed a cattle egret foraging on the ground a few weeks ago by the cistern, mid afternoon. We had seen one passing over back then but none on the ground.

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