Monday, June 30, 2008

Walk back down the upper valley (owl) road

Fennel/ Wild licorice flower head.

18.5-30 degrees C. ~6.30 p.m. ~27 degrees C, humidity:~60%, wind: W/WSW 6-9 kt

Today we headed to the centre of our neighbourhood to get a treat for Moshe and then headed down the hill by the public park to a road which heads back north to the lower part of our neighbourhood. This is the stretch where the Little Owl lives - pic back in the archives a couple of months ago.

Heading down the hill: plenty capers in bloom as well as some Echium and some pretty impressive wild licorice/fennel, some standing about 8 feet high, towering over husband! We've hardly seen any fennel below about 650 m altitude in the area. Moshe likes to break off the fresh pale green stems and suck the sap, tastes just like licorice.

Husband found a nice gazelle dropping site roughly half way down the hill, quite fresh, which is great news. Probably another territory holding male up this way, at least a half kilometer south of the gazelle field individual and roughly 100 m higher. This could expand population estimates of gazelle in the area if we assume that there are probably another half dozen females and young at least up that way in and around the forest south of the pumping station.

The owl was not in view anywhere along the bluff along the west side of that road, sadly, though we scanned for him and kept watch. We did get a nice view of a male kestrel fly up to some tall buildings up the hill, it wheeled round, almost settled on some window bars then took off and wheeled around again, female or young was somewhere around there and we heard some multinote cries. Greenfinches were around as well as a number of Eurasian jays, vocal and foraging, feral pigeons and hooded crows. House sparrows and Laughing doves around the buildings as usual.

On the road back Moshe found a nicely marked praying mantis.. seems there are quite a lot about right now, he's found a number in the last week or so, and they're quite camouflaged.
We also noticed hyraxes , various ages, foraging just down from a neighbourhood road, a different colony from any I've mentioned, this one is slightly higher elevation and a little farther south.

Praying mantis on Moshe's hand.

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