Saturday, March 15, 2008

More spring flowers and grazers

Spanish/Rush broom, Spartium junceum

Jerusalem, Israel

~7.5 -~14 degrees C. Humidity ~40%-100%,
5 p.m. temp: ~12.5 degrees C, humidity ~55% and rising. Wind: W veering NW, ~ 5kt skies totally clear.

Given the number of people walking in the valley and a dirt buggy tearing up to the cistern and back we weren't expecting to see gazelle, but happily they felt safe enough way over at the north end of gazelle field. I soon noticed the adult male grazing off by himself just beyond the smaller almond trees and then a group of five females/immature off a few dozen yards to the west, also grazing quite peacefully.

Birds: orange tufted sunbird calling in the garden much of the day, the usual house sparrows and brief white wagtail call from somewhere off in the street. Hooded crows around, laughing doves and white spectacled bulbuls heard.

In the valley, greenfinches twittering in their groups in the pines, quite a bit of Eurasian jay activity in the woods and in the far field where the gazelle were, flying to and fro. Collared doves active and vocal, cooing. A European robin 'tick-ticking' near the east valley streambed, some blackbirds around. Still no luck on witnessing a stork flock but they can come over any time and we could miss them if we're busy inside at the time so we don't catch any of the migration every year unless someone notices and calls us outside. That's how it goes!

Along the stream bed path watching out for more flowers, still hoping to find cyclamen in our woods. No luck on that yet but did find some Pheasant's eye (Adonis) which look a little like very small versions of the red anemone. A wide variety of clover has also been coming into bloom lately, especially by gazelle field and in the old orchard, whose trees are also budding now. Various members of the carrot family, mostly very short and medium height types, are flowering, wild mustard is everywhere and asphodel is still doing well, some flower spikes as high as my nose. Some kind of small purple and white relative of savory amongst the clover.

Husband noticed a pair of kestrel Falco tinnunculus, mating on TV antenna on top of storey building in the middle of the neighbourhood (summit of the hill)

Denbury Farm, Somerset was a treat today. About 5 p.m. local time a grazing deer came on screen. From it's colouring and build I'd assume it's red deer, Cervus elaphus

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