Monday, May 26, 2008

Life goes on despite the pyromaniacs.

Alcea (a kind of mallow) returns after the fire of the 6th. (by the east valley watercourse)
Pic taken 25th May. Fallen pine needles and eucalyptus leaves round about.

6.37 p.m. temp: 19.8 degrees C (range today- 13-22), humidity 61% WNW 9.6 kt.

Again today we stamped out another fire which the malicious vandals had started on the north facing slope of north valley. Some local boys including one of our sons made short work of the spread and we'd stopped it before the fire service arrived. The culprits had been sighted, a group of teenagers with a car, and we gave the details to the firemen, who, it turns out are already somewhat aware of the offenders. Hopefully they are close to getting caught now. All the local services will be on the alert for them.

We wanted to make sure the flames did not reach the grazing grounds at the foot of the hill. All that was left on the ground were pine-cones, each burning quite fiercely like little torches from the resins within, but the fire caused little damage to the trees themselves.

We checked over the ground in the central gazelle field which was burnt on May 22nd.
Mole rats have been busy burrowing underneath. Nothing growing up yet but some golden thistle plants, mostly sered, still had green buds here and there on the plants after four days. Question is, will these die or is the plant only superficially damaged? We'll soon find out. Golden thistle on the northern edge of the fire was undamaged. The far acacia was clearly hurt but not charred and may recover.

Meanwhile there's plenty recovery evident on older burnt patches and, assuming the gazelles are smart, they'll come back for this second growth, though I don't know how much they'd like the ragweed- probably not, cattle don't eat it. Still, grass and other shoots popping up. I'm sure the fire really does have a revitalizing effect in the long run. That's my main comfort.

Stone curlews heard as well as collared doves, some turtle doves, greenfinches, graceful warblers, Syrian woodpeckers and bee-eaters. Several hoopoes about gazelle field in flight between sections, hooded crows about including a flock of at least 20 on the lower slopes of the hill to the north. Jackdaws also foraging over there. No gazelle seen today. White (Pierid) butterflies and Satyrids still about. Sunbirds and white spectacled bulbuls in the garden.

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