Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Happy Fledging day!

Ground cover damage by the east valley water course, caused by the fire on May 6th. Casualties include one clutch of at least a dozen chukar partridge eggs. Most plant roots would not have been damaged and we're going to be watching the green sprout up again in its time. The trees did not burn.

Right after we found that nest the little ones were already ready to leave! This morning at about 8 a.m, just after seeing off the boys to school, husband noticed a crowd of kids around the seat just outside our entrance. They were looking at a little fledgeling, which my husband could immediately tell was a sunbird from its slender curved bill. It was fully feathered and pale grey in colour, and opened its bill repeatedly to squeak. Husband put it on a safe high place near the nest and went to get his camera but within thirty seconds the tiny youngster flew across and into the hedge of cape honeysuckle and other plants where he was no doubt reunited with its parents. Later in the day there was plenty activity in the hedge, parents and hard to tell how many young flittering around. A successful sunbird family so far, yay!

Range 15-26 degrees C, about 18.6 degrees when we headed out at around 5.50 p.m. (earlier than usual, husband had errand at 7 p.m. ) Humidity was down to 29%, wind almost still (NNW but barely noticeable)

Turtle doves cooing in various places and a pair by the cistern. A pair of collared doves landed there, a male landing shortly after a flight call. He was clearly interested in the female and went into a puffed neck bowing routine typical of his family but she was plainly not interested. He quickly got the hint and flew off to forage farther north in gazelle field while she remained by the cistern.

Greenfinches weren't twittering yet, we were early for their chorus, but one was calling repeatedly in alarm from a cypress. There was a Eurasian jay in there and perhaps the parents were anxious for their young. It's really quite impressive if you think about it, how the greenfinches are able to rear young every season in trees inhabited by jays which would just love to eat the eggs and perhaps young. They must have really perfected nest camouflage, diversionary tactics and other tricks. No doubt they lose a percentage but enough survive.

Blackbird heard singing in the heart of the pines, swifts heard, bee-eaters seen and heard over gazelle field to the north. Unsuccessful spotting gazelle today and we didn't stay late enough to hear stone curlew. Jackdaws, hooded crows, house sparrows and feral pigeons about, including a house sparrow foraging at the bunker ruins where Agama lizard basked in the sun. Geckoes seen and heard later, former running across valley road after 10 p.m. (we've noticed this a few times lately, tiny ones) and heard from a building. Syrian woodpeckers active and female seen, perched on a large pine cone, preening. White spectacled bulbul also preening near the bridge in east valley.

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