Monday, March 17, 2008

Wild Cyclamens

March 16
In the forest: Eurasian Sparrowhawk sighted flying over central trail, several swifts on the wing over gazelle field, chiffchaffs seen foraging, chaffinch on top of cypress by central trail crossroads, I think they must have leased those tree tops for the season. Collared doves active and cooing, as were laughing doves around the buildings.
Also, Eurasian Jays, blackbirds, chukar partridge calls in the pine grove east of the cistern, graceful warblers. In the gardens, white spectacled bulbuls, sunbirds, house sparrows. Flock of about 20 or so hooded crows heading south to roost from foraging, probably this season's non breeding birds since pairs of breeding hoodies are dotted all over the forest and these seem to roost at their chosen nesting sites.

March 17
Range today ~13.5-~22.5 degrees C.
Not long after 5 p.m. temp. still 20.5 degrees C and falling. Humidity, 21% and falling, winds, ENE and very light, skies hazy with particles, you could almost taste the air but even through that the woods smelled lovely in the warm air.

Our best find today was (finally!) a nice crop of cyclamen Cyclamen persicum growing on the north facing slope of north valley. Lots growing everywhere on that trail, lovely! We took a bunch of pics with a cellphone camera as we'd forgotten the other camera at home, and lighting was beginning to fade. Our posted pic is far from the best and we may replace it but just about managed to capture the interesting form of the bloom, the gorgeous purple tint and the variegated leaves. Husband returned on March 18, pic replaced!

We spotted one gazelle in the new pine growth at the eastern end of north valley. I could almost sense her in there before we saw her.. perhaps I'd heard her.. then she broke cover and was sproinging away toward gazelle field under the pines.

Apart from that we noticed a pair of chukar partridges on the north facing slope, swift just above the buildings. They took off and landed on boulders clear across north valley. As dusk set in we heard stone curlews off somewhere to the east. Blackbirds were also around, we heard some alarm calls and some desultory song about dusk, vying with the crickets. Sunbird in the garden

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