Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Temperature jump

Lovely warm day in Jerusalem, Israel, Temp. range ~ 11-21 degrees C,
Heard the first birds at about 5.30 a.m. , a laughing dove cooing just outside the window, at about 5.40 a.m. an orange tufted sunbird chimed a few times, shortly followed by calls of white spectacled bulbul, hooded crow somewhere off in the distance and house sparrows.
Mid afternoon heard more house sparrows, hooded crows and jackdaws.
It was still about 20 degrees at 5 p.m. when we left the house,
clear view across the rift valley, sky mostly filled with beautiful high altitude cumulus types pushed into waves by the winds. Humidity just 23% and rising, wind SE and very light. Laughing doves and feral pigeons seen on top edges of buildings.
Several swifts flying over east valley, one chasing another, then one hawking for insects. Not calling though.

Chiffchaffs alarm calling and foraging in the pines. Snatches of song in the garden earlier? Small snatches of chiffchaff song can be easily mistaken for some house sparrow calls. Much thin black redstart type piping but none seen. Eurasian jays foraging between trees, hooded crows noticed in cypress tops, no doubt prospecting
for nesting places. No gazelle or hyrax seen but feral dog pack noisy somewhere behind the eastern pine grove, yipping and almost howling.
Chaffinch on top of a cypress eastern end of north valley woods. Other birds apparently prospecting for nesting sites today were a pair of collared dove up in a eucalyptus near look-out corner. Presently they broke out of cover and headed off toward the cistern. Another darker bird broke cover soon after and seemed to be in pursuit, only a brief glimpse but from what we could make out, likely 'Captain Jack' Sparrowhawk. Collared doves would be pretty big for him to take on but not impossible. The Syrian woodpeckers have started to drum, we heard a couple of drums today and another brief one a day or so ago. Brief Greenfinch twitters.

A short visit to Denbury Farm, Somerset, England at about 1.15 p.m. local time yielded busy feeders with plenty great tits, blue tits, green and chaffinches and house sparrows with brief visits by a European robin and a hen pheasant on the ground. 2 Grey squirrels and wild rabbit also seen.

Meanwhile at James Reserve, California there's still a little snow on the ground, much reduced over the week. Temperatures just a few degrees above freezing. It was 8 a.m.ish local time when I looked in and a mourning dove was on the table, closely followed by a white headed woodpecker come for the fat block. Pair of mourning dove keep returning or foraging for fallen food on the ground beneath. Oregon juncoes, mountain chickadees, and pygmy nuthatches visited soon after. At one point an American crow was at the fat block, perched up on the side of tree rather awkwardly. A short while after 3 Steller's jay appeared.

Below, screen shot of white headed woodpecker.
Picoides albolarvatus)

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