Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Gazelle, green meteor and other nice stuff.

Interesting shot. This is in the young pine grove at the east end of north valley. The unburnt path meandering through the wood is actually a dirt road taken by service vehicles on their way to the pylons at least twice a year. The ground there is very hard and compacted. Surface vegetation is pretty much the same as it was in the charred area but as you see the burning pretty much stops dead at the hard earth line. This shows me that the fire was propogating not just on the surface but through the top few inches of relatively loose dry humus. You can see where the fire managed to ignite the relatively looser earth between the tracks in one place. (This fire was on May 27th)

The other observation of interest today was a gorgeous meteor coming down about NNE in the northern sky roughly 10.15 p.m. It started white but burned a brilliant green before it burnt out, a phenomenon I've seen occasionally. This is usually due to nickel, occasionally copper in the meteorite. I've seen green meteors a couple of times before though most of those I've seen have been white. I have also occasionally seen reddish meteors, these coloured by iron, and high meteors with a faint but definite bluish hue.

Gazelle 5. An adult buck sighted on the skyline, first ridge to the north, grazing and keeping watch. Four adults without noticeable horns (but sadly no kids) slowly ascending toward the north west, grazing then moving on. Interesting that, they usually prefer the wind to their back but at that time it must have been pretty much blowing in their faces unless of course the shape of the valley swirled the wind around from the south, which it seems to do to some extent. We get two funnelling effects through the valleys, one from the south, one from the north west, usually prevailing, and what happens in gazelle field and the slopes of the hill just to the north of it can be unpredictable. Three ahead, one behind, the latter gradually caught up as they ascended.

falcon like sound heard from up north valley, one of the kestrels at the quarry? We didn't see it. Blackbird high pitch alarm call and song heard about sunset. Collared doves very active and vocal, dueling cooers and flight glides but not flight calls. Graceful warbler vocal. Plenty greenfinch twittering in pines around look-out corner towards sunset. Chukar partridge heard somewhere along north valley. Eurasian jays active and quite vocal, foraging individually in many parts of wood and field. Hooded crows also scattered about. Syrian woodpeckers very vocal and active today, some drumming heard in the pines by north valley. At least four hoopoes active around south gazelle field and eucalyptus grove area, more along north valley. Turtle doves cooing in the pines and eucalyptus. Bee-eaters swirling over look-out corner, orchard and eucalyptus grove, occasionally landing to deal with their prey. They were also using a dead small tree along the north valley watercourse for the same purpose.

Sunbird calling in Bauhinia in the garden. White spectacled bulbul (first heard about 4.55 a.m. in Bauhinia). Feral pigeons, laughing doves and house sparrows about the street as usual.

Yesterday's sightings very similar though we didn't see/hear kestrel, chukar or turtle doves then.

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