Monday, July 21, 2008

North trail stroll

Spitting cucumber seed pods, almost ready to fire. At least one already had, was already small, hard and shriveled, reminded me of a corpus luteum!

Range today in Jerusalem: 21-33 degrees C, time of our walk: ~28 and falling. Humidity: ~45% and rising, winds westerly, 6-9 kt.

Took shortcut down to north valley, connecting with the dirt road that leads round to the quarry. Soon saw a small group of gazelle, a nice adult buck and two others, one with very thin horns and another not fully grown. The buck was some distance from the other two but not far away. Then the buck emerged into the sunlight between the eucalyptus by the watercourse and the pine and cypress beyond and gave us a gorgeous view for a while. (Moshe had to express his admiration 'his horns are so *curvey*!!') We wondered if this might be the same trio we'd seen in the Pistaccio orchard a few days ago. Some time later I spotted a group of six grazing and making their way slowly up the hillside from the north end of gazelle field. Looks like now the mothers and new young are all joining up again.

Husband spotted mammal up on the skyline, I looked up and saw the dark fox, nice and clear. I saw what I think was it on the skyline for a fraction of a second then it went down and I picked it up again farther down, nice view, could see dark edges of his ears and his long bushy tail his patches blended into the hillside perfectly. He looked so dark and rangy I wondered if he could possibly have any jackal in him but as far as I've seen foxes cannot hybridize w jackals. I gave binocs to Moshe to see, but though he saw it move with naked eye it must have gone between/behind rocks because it was already out of view. I figured it probably went for cover in upper part of secret valley, was unable to find it again when I got binocs back.

The most stone curlew I've seen at once.. two flew from lower end of north valley watercourse over to the hillslopes to north, followed by group of TEN more. From the calls there were still more individuals down to the south east, somewhere over by the young pine grove east end of north valley. Later more calls between the two groups, seemed to be calling and answering. They were quite active around sunset.

Syrian woodpeckers, seen and heard calling, hoopoe seen in that pine grove just around dusk, collared doves heard, chukar partridge heard somewhere to north west along north valley just after sunset and Tristram's grackle also heard from that direction when we first went down there, blackbird alarm calls heard. Bee-eaters over north end of gazelle field, hard to tell how many, dozens, using lines, some landed, some in flight. Great tits calling.

Flocks of jackdaw and hooded crows foraging north end of gazelle field/lower slopes, just up from the pylons, at least 70 of each.

In the last few days also seen and heard in the valley: greenfinches, turtle doves, graceful warblers. Sunbirds in garden and various places in the forest, house sparrows, feral pigeons and laughing doves around the houses,

This spider made its home in a tube of web in one of the aromatic bushes. Moshe enticed it up by tossing an old berry at its web. The spider ran up and caught the berry neatly. (you can zoom a bit further by clicking on the pic till it fills your screen)

1 comment:

Paul Kiler said...

I'd like to know about this and other aromatic bushes...In the picture of the spider you mention that the spider built their nest in an aromatic bush. I am trying to develop a line of Biblical Perfumes.

Paul Kiler