Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Dark Fox

The sapling field near the pumping station, freshly mown. Approx. 100 plastic tubes with Ailanthus, Bauhinia, Pistaccio and some cypress emerging from many of them. The planted area is on the eastern side of the field close to the dry water course. The rest of the field between the saplings and valley road is still good habitat for wheatear, chukar, hyrax and hoopoe though it seems the wheatear did not breed here this year, sadly.

Range today: 18 (this evening)-31 degrees C. When we headed out shortly after 6.30 p.m. ~27 degrees C. humidity ~30%, winds westerly 10-12 kt increasing through the evening. Easterlies much of the morning.

The most exciting sighting today was a really good view of a
patchy dark fox, this time sighted in the new pine grove at the eastern end of north valley but too far for a good pic with our digital. Much of its flanks were so dark they were pretty much mat black. The rest of the flanks were dark brown with not the slightest hint of the russet of a red fox. The face and inside of the large ears were also very dark though the edges of the ears were slightly lighter and the muzzle was lighter still. His tail was longish and bushy, dark brown with a dirty pale tip and the face was foxish rather than doggish. He did remind me of pics of jackals but the tail and head were those of a fox and it was smaller. As far as I've found there's no known hybridization of foxes and jackals.

Turtle doves and collared doves cooing. Pairs of each visited the cistern. Several hoopoes around south part of gazelle field. Nice view of stone curlew flying low over the field and landing on a charred area close to the north valley pines. Quite a few bee-eaters hunting over gazelle field. Blackbirds in song. Syrian woodpeckers active and calling, flying about . Also seen and/or heard, feral pigeons, hooded crows, jackdaws(just heard), house sparrows, white spectacled bulbuls and greenfinches. Our local sunbirds have not been heard lately, I suspect they've moved on to other gardens with nectar bearing flowers since the cape honeysuckle is not blooming right now.

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