Saturday, May 10, 2008

Underneath a Rock

Watch out under large rocks! This pic was taken back on April 24th. My boys turned over a large rock just out of curiosity and found this nice black scorpion hunkered down in its cavity under the rock. It made no attempt to attack, no doubt it was just waiting for us to 'turn out the lights' and go away. It was only about 3" long. Of course, we didn't touch it! With those large size pincers it probably did not have a very dangerous sting. Delicate pincered scorpions, such as one of the local yellows, tend to be more dangerous, since they depend on their venom more than their pincers to catch prey, whereas heavy pincered scorpions rely more on brute strength and don't need so much poison to subdue their prey. Still, even this probably has a very painful sting.. not something we'd want to put to the test!

We have not YET had a scorpion in the house, though it could happen any time since we have a french door opening to our little garden. We have neighbours who had scorpions climb into the washing machine and our neighbour had a very small one, under two inches, on her bed! (third storey of an apartment building) I caught it very carefully with a glass and card, then husband stomped on it. Its skin was so leathery it took three good stomps. Not true for all scorpions.. husband killed a yellow with one good stomp and it proved to be quite brittle. We will only kill them if they pose a possible immediate danger to others in the neighbourhood .. that yellow was on a public footpath in summer where many wear open toed shoes (I almost walked into it wearing sandals myself) . If we see them in the forest we leave them alone.

Mostly clear skies, some cumulus off way east. Another quite cool day: range:11-21 degrees C. When we headed out about an hour before sunset it was ~18 degrees C, humidity at ~55%, wind westerly and 6-8 kt.

Usual four active in the garden early morning: house sparrows, white spectacled bulbuls vocal, sunbirds very vocal, laughing doves cooing. Jackdaws and hooded crows heard farther off.

Turtle doves visiting the cistern for water. Stone curlews very vocal towards sunset and nice view of one seen in flight, from somewhere by the east security fence, wheeled over gazelle field and finally came to rest on the ground at the northern end of field behind the almond trees.

Great tits heard vocal in east woods, probably feeding young. Collared doves, blackbirds also active and vocal. Some Buteo aloft over the north ridge. No gazelle or hyrax noticed today. Lots of Eurasian jay active, foraging. Turtle doves cooing, bee-eaters absent today

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