Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Turtle doves are back:)

Perhaps not the most pleasant image but zoologically significant nevertheless.. gazelle dung. This was photographed close to the quarry but we also found fresh scat like this in the sapling field today.

A common composite in open areas at the moment. Also A.Atwood CC

Temps have dropped quite a bit since yesterday- 16.5-21 degrees C. today. When we went out, at about 6 p.m. temp was ~17.3 degrees C, humidity 59%, wind WSW ~7kt (sunset, 7.15 p.m.)

Delighted to hear that the turtle doves Streptopelia turtur have returned from Africa on schedule. . they usually get back just before Pesach (Passover). We heard their purring coo up in the eucalyptus a little behind 'lookout corner at about sunset. This is the first record of this season, 'shehechyanu!'

All the other representatives of the dove family are also active and busy, feral pigeons and laughing doves cooing and busy around the houses, collared doves also very active and cooing down in the valley. I wonder what happened to that barbary dove that we heard a couple of days last summer?

Husband spotted another swallow Hirundo rustica over the neighbourhood today.

Bee-eaters: about 20 over fields and woods today.

Two apparently somewhat immature great spotted cuckoos in a dead tree close to the north valley streambed.. calling intermittently, and from the direction of calls seemed there was another one off farther east in the direction of the cistern. After a little time these two birds headed 'upstream' to the west, over the north side as yesterday, probably same two.

Also active, vocal and around in their usual places: Hooded crows, jackdaws, greenfinches, Syrian woodpecker, house sparrows, sunbirds, white spectacled bulbuls, graceful warblers, Eurasian Jays, blackbirds (some song again from the individual holding territory around the turn off from central trail to north valley).

Since it's vacation there's plenty human activity in the woods lately, kids and teens, which make it not worthwhile to linger by the old bunker.. nothing will visit the cistern while any young folk are around there, but this doesn't usually stop activity in north valley or up at canopy level. Several dragonflies noticed along north valley in last week.

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