Thursday, April 3, 2008

Contentment in Solitude

A burnet moth on a milk thistle bloom. Though this pic was taken last year, there are a lot of burnets active and mating now and the milk thistles are blooming- mostly purple but almost every stand has at least one perfectly white bloom.

Today my husband was with my youngest son on a school gaming tournament trip, playing the regionals so I was alone for our walk, which is fine by me once in a while. I enjoy the quiet solitude, doing things my own way. I love to just take a seat on the dry stone wall under the pines, near look-out corner and simply wait and listen for things to happen. I also like to linger past sunset and walk through the forest in the near dark, watching for owls and bats and simply absorbing the essence of the air. Husband loves to forge ahead.. which is one way we make discoveries, but sometimes the discoveries come to you.. there's not always a rush to meet them.
The sky was totally clear and the air cool/mild and pleasant, about 18 degrees C and falling, humidity was about 30% but rising rapidly. Winds westerly, about 12 kt.

I noticed the hawthorn Crataegus trees were now in white bloom across the fields.. we must get pictures of those soon. Almonds in full leaf, the acacias almost glowing bright yellow with pompoms. There was a gecko in the bunker ruins, I heard his 'tek tek' call.

Some hooded crows came over to the cistern for a drink and bee-eaters hawked for flying insects over the eucalyptus grove immediately east of me. I heard plenty coos and flight calls of collared doves, calls of Eurasian jays in the pines, the song of a blackbird. I scanned the fields and hillslopes repeatedly for gazelle but none seemed to be about. Stone curlew called from the distance and greenfinches twittered not far off in the pines. A Syrian woodpecker called behind me somewhere. At about sunset a black eared wheatear sang a few melodious notes beyond the cistern. An excited chatter in the Eucalyptus trees alerted me ... sounded like an upset sparrowhawk. The hobbies are due back from Africa soon, and I can't help wondering how that will affect the sparrowhawk's activities. Last summer he seemed to keep a very low profile while the hobbies ruled the area.. perhaps he'd moved off temporarily. Their calls are very similar, though the hobby's sounds a little higher and sharper. While looking for the sparrowhawk I also checked the east field and the stand of (about 25) olive trees over there for gazelle but no sign.

Even though I didn't see much I heard plenty and sensed a great deal.. enough to utterly fill me with contentment at the beauty and peace of the area, and I took my time returning home under the pines and the first stars.

At the house I'd heard a sunbird in the garden much of the day, calling in the Bauhinia, and house sparrows and laughing doves were vocal. Jackdaws also heard.

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