Monday, July 14, 2008

A cricket and a lizard

A cricket (~4 cm long) we found on the valley road sun night, second one we've found within last few days. Note long antennae, (unlike grasshoppers which have very short antennae), and 'horn' tail. This sat quietly for a while, then became agitated and bit my son quite sharply on the palm of his hand when he was carrying it home to photograph, but didn't make him drop it. Just left a little pink mark.

Range: Temp at about 6.40 p.m. ~25.5 degrees C, humidity 63%. I was definitely ready for a shower on return! Wind WNW, not sure of wind speed, seems the station's anemometer broke yesterday in a strong gust.

This morning husband was at Neve Yaakov mercaz, shopping centre of neighbourhood, saw 5 Tristram's grackles moving as group to top of building there. Could this be the family from the quarry, come up to forage? Possible.

Today (Monday) Moshe came with us to the valley. We were delighted to see plenty bee-eaters today also, scores, hard to determine how many, they were quite scattered and many settling on the ground or just above on low scrubs and tree branches. A group settled on the path by the cistern, probably eating ants. Yesterday we saw about 150 birds over the eucalyptus grove and pistaccio orchard area.

Gazelles: Yesterday saw one hornless (or very small thin horns) in the pines just north of central trail, ran back towards gazelle field on sensing us. Today we saw one back west end of gazelle field, lower hill slopes.
hyrax: Plenty active around cypress slum colony. We searched for the carcass in vain, probably a fox took it.
dogs: feral dogs heard, a group of four seen a few days back, forgot to mention.
reptiles: Moshe found a small striped lizard by the saplings, looks like Lacerta laevis.

Just remember you're looking at the lizard, not Moshe's manicure;)

This we photographed right there in the field and released it about where it was found.

Turtle doves
, heard cooing along the dry creek trail.
Hobby: 1 seen flying north low over the valley at about sunset
House sparrows: laughing doves, cooing morning, both around street. Feral pigeons on the buildings and flock of them over Hizmeh. Hooded crows: foraging in small flock on ground, north gazelle field.
Eurasian Jays: Quite a number scattered, busy and active, woods and fields. Greenfinches: twittering, singing, pine woods.
: some song in various places. One has territory around the fig tree end of Shadiker.
Chukars: plenty chuckling up the hill just east of the bridge, sounded like a whole covey up there.
Collared doves: Cooing and flight calls, and active. Stone curlews: calling north gazelle field and tracks by the orchard.
: Calls along the dry creek trail. In the garden. We saw two, one in what looked like a threat display in the Bauhinia, fluttering wings like agitated butterfly while calling, warning other off its territory?
Graceful warblers: Plenty calls, Syrian woodpeckers: calls and active, Bulbuls: calls by valley road.

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