Tuesday, July 8, 2008

North valley Upper pine grove

The upper pine grove, northern slopes of the north valley. A little under 700 m elevation. Provides shelter above the valley for the gazelle, they clearly come up here judging by trails, droppings, sightings.

Tues: Gazelles
: 4 well grown without horns in far north east corner of gazelle field, grazing on old charred patch.

Bee-eaters: Hawking in group of at least 20 especially over Pistaccio orchard and around.
Turtle doves: heard cooing, Hobbies: chasing something psittacine.. a ring necked? Tail was shortish but could be in moult. Hoopoes seen.

Hooded crows: about, and foraging upper north gazelle field
Jays: Numerous scattered and about, woods, field, foraging.
Feral pigeons: small flock returning to neighbourhood from the north,
Greenfinches: small groups moving about between trees by look-out corner
Blackbirds: quite a few vocal and singing, Collared doves, Stone curlew calls:
Graceful warblers, heard: Syrian woodpeckers & Great tits heard:

House sparrows, laughing doves: street, Sunbirds, heard in the garden

That night a bigger scorpion on valley road, 4cm from head to beginning of tail, tail itself 3-4 cm long, curled over, pincers a bit heavier and each at least 3 cm long. Very dark and legs darker than the one we photographed. A little later we found a pale cricket, back legs crouched high, very long extremely slender antennae hardly visible.

Wed: Temp range ~20-30.5 at about 6.30 p.m. ~27 degrees C. humidity 36%, wind WNW ~9kt

As we were descending into north valley we heard a cacophony of hyraxes, many 'schshhhiu!' sounds, over and over across the hillside. All the sentries were calling the alarm and all other hyraxes were quickly under cover amongst the boulders. We soon saw the trouble. 5 feral dogs had shown up down below. As soon as they arrived at the edge of the colony there was nothing at all to be seen but rocks.. by then all the sentries had also gone down. The dogs stared around for a while, then headed back down to the quarry path, disappointed.

We headed up to the grove of pine trees on the northern slopes of north valley. Truly enchanting up there, great chunks and shelves of limestone with interspersed trees in the late afternoon sun. Lovely!

Gazelles: Several about, 2 handsome bucks with fine horns broke out below us and ran along a trail toward the west, barely 50 feet ahead and below. They looped down to the path to the quarry and then headed up the opposite slope. Their speed and stamina on those treacherous slopes never ceases to amaze me. Several more individuals seen, two more at a gallop eastward down the trail.

Bee-eaters: heard. Hobbies: heard and seen briefly circling over north valley
Hooded crows: about, Eurasian Jays: Numerous active and about.
Greenfinches: heard. Blackbirds: a number about, active and vocal, some song.
Chukars: heard in north valley, Collared doves: heard cooing, some flight calls
Sunbirds: calls in garden, Graceful warblers, Syrian woodpeckers, bulbuls : active and vocal

House sparrows, laughing doves: street

No comments: