Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sapling field surprise

Bauhinia tree in in our garden in 'bean' phase... lots of pods visible, two already popped apart and seeds visible. Many leaves have also fallen lately while many others are still large and green.

We were delighted today to see that park authorities had come by and taken care of the dense thorns that had surrounded the saplings in the little field near the pumping station. The space between the saplings was nicely mown and the plastic sheaths generally tidied. We had a little discussion about whether this was actually permissible this year which is a 'shmitta' year, i.e. a year in which fields etc. are meant to lie fallow and not get special attention, though work may be done if survival of trees and crops depends on it- very possibly the case here. Since this area is not agricultural would that make the work less permissible or more permissible? Academically these were interesting questions of Jewish law but on the whole we were quite pleased to see that Yaar Mir is not at all forgotten but receiving ongoing care from the 'powers that be'.

Lots of hyraxes were out by valley road today at around 7.15 p.m. scores scampering about, whole families visible. One group took my attention on a boulder. A mother was crouched there, facing me and two young were busy nursing- there may have been more on her rear right side but couldn't see that angle. One was steadily nursing from her left while another was trying to get milk from the front, between her two front legs. There was room, she had them bowed somewhat apart, but seemed the trouble was supply up front had pretty much dried up for now. It was amusing and a little pathetic to see the youngster switch back and forth. left, right, left, right, repeatedly, clearly not getting that there was no point alternating two options that had already proved fruitless. I wanted to send a mental message, 'walk around and try one at the right back!'

I scanned the hillside and north gazelle field methodically from look-out corner but no gazelle today.

Lots of bee-eaters over gazelle field today, hunting very low over the ground and often stopping to perch so hard to see how many there were but probably at least our regular 20 or so.
A few hoopoes in the vicinity. Syrian woodpecker calls, some greenfinch twittering, some stone curlew vocalizations from farther off north and east. Collared dove coos and flight calls, turtle dove coos. A Tristram's grackle 3 tone whistle from somewhere along east valley, south of the pumping station. Interesting, we hadn't heard one from up there before. Could have been flying over but we didn't see it. Lots of graceful warblers in the grasses and scrub between sapling field and dry watercourse, at least one family busy foraging. A sunbird call from somewhere around look-out corner. White spectacled bulbul in our Bauhinia and by the sapling field, hooded crows about. Eurasian jays about, active foraging and some vocal.

Husband noticed a nice bunch of common swifts by our road this morning at about 9.30 a.m., 8-10 in the air at once in a small area.. fledged families from nests on local buildings? House sparrows as usual in the area.

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