Thursday, June 19, 2008

Globe thistle near the north valley watercourse. Moshe noticed plenty greenish beetles as well as the red ones we'd also noticed on the globe thistle by the pumping station.

Range today (Wednesday) 20-31 degrees C. When we went out at about 6.30 p.m. ~27 degrees C, just over 50% humidity, winds westerly 7-10 kt though felt considerably brisker up on the hill!

Moshe, our 12 yr old son, came with us today. At first he wanted to go to the quarry but when we mentioned the bat cave we headed up there instead. We had wanted to go up there originally to check if we could see any gazelle esp. this years' young down in the Jerusalem sage/olive tree vale just beyond the first north ridge. Much mole-rat activity on the hill, mounds everywhere and some new vegetation, a delicate spike like plant and a mat like low lying borage, small blue and purple flowers and dense hairy leaves. We did find some gazelle droppings (and had seen a few hoof prints yesterday in dusty earth near look-out corner) but no fresh sightings.

At the bat cave Moshe found some bones (hyrax thigh bone?) and we theorized that a fox may use the cave as a lair. (The dark one?) There were two places within the cave that may extend down to an earth. He was keen to find any animal remains and by keeping a sharp eye managed to find a couple of pieces of wild tortoise carapace on top of north ridge.

Up there were also black eared wheatear, some young families about up there, juveniles sighted. (We also found a wheatear family where the dry north watercourse enters gazelle field yesterday, as well as a young shrike, probably masked) . At the top of the ridge we heard some melodious whistles and spotted a lark on the ground, probably crested. In the air, in flight to and fro from time to time, were collared doves, feral pigeons, hooded crows and bee-eaters hawking and calling melodiously.. seems to be the regular flock of two dozen individuals, also seen yesterday. Stone curlews were also vocal.

Also active and vocal: blackbirds (song), Eurasian jays, greenfinches, Syrian woodpeckers, hoopoes (not vocal but several seen between north ridge and the new pines east end of north valley. where we also heard turtle doves and great tits yesterday)

Today around the houses: white spectacled bulbuls, laughing doves, house sparrow,
Spikes of these delicate greenish white flowers were in bloom along limestone 'steps' in many places on the south facing hillside.

This dense hairy plant with borage like flowers was also found on the south facing hillside.

No comments: