Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cooler spell continues

Yellow millfoil Achillea (?)

One of the many beautiful eucalyptus trees planted in many places along the valley especially near the orchard, which, by the way, we agree is of Pistaccio trees. These are now in full leaf.

Sky was quite clear today, temperatures 12-21.3 degrees C. The Jordanian escarpment was visible with the help of binoculars.
At about 6.20 p.m. when we headed out, temp. was about 15.5 degrees C, humidity 66% and winds WNW 11.3 - cool enough to wear a light sweater again.

Around the buildings white spectacled bulbuls, sunbirds, house sparrows, laughing doves and jackdaws were quite vocal today. The bulbuls' repeated rough call was heard quite a lot in the willow or somewhere else nearby, perhaps taking care of young.

Along valley road rock hyraxes were quite active down on the east side of the road, great tits quite vocal. A Buteo was spotted high over gazelle field to the north. Soon after, collared doves coos, greenfinch twitters and blackbird song were heard.. graceful warblers heard, pretty much the usual residents. Nice stone curlew calls at sunset from the fields round about. Turtle doves and bee-eaters keeping a low profile today.

I was delighted to find a great site for flowers of Israel at
which covers many more species than my guide and has already been very useful in IDing some of the plants we've already noticed, such as one of the orchids, Ophrys lutea, the beautiful purple Alcea I'd noticed turned out to be Alcea acualis, (Stemless hollyhock) and the prolific yellow small thistle like flower in flower all over the place now is Centaurea procurrens. The 'Pompom trees' (wattle trees) which I knew were some kind of acacia are Acacia saligna (though my husband said he prefers 'pompom trees' . These, like the eucalyptus over much of the valley, were introduced from Western Australia. This site I book-marked since I'm sure I'll be using it a lot!

Today I decided on a typical eucalyptus trunk and a brilliant yellow umbellifer like plant which has been in flower in open spaces in many locations. It's like fennel (which is also in flower here and there, though much more common at higher elevations on our neighbourhood hill) but the florets are brighter and more densely packed and the leaves are pale and hairy. This seems to be a kind of millfoil, Achillea biebersteinii though I'm not totally happy with this ID and intend to keep looking for a plant that looks closer. I did manage to ID a common borage with hair leaves and purple and pink-purple bells in flower now. This is Echium angustifolium. These form low lying dense 'cushions'. One such cushion' of it we found must have been at least 5 feet across.

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