Tuesday, August 12, 2008

'Hyrax path'

parent and young.. taken today by Akiva

Range ~21-29.5 degrees C today. At 7 p.m. 25 degrees and falling fast. Humidity 70%, wind pretty much westerly, ~ 8kt

Today we headed south again, turning south just past the pumping station, over the bridge.

I forgot to mention we've been hearing bee-eaters from the house past few days and today no exception, saw a flock of at least 30 over towards gazelle field.

We noticed many jackdaws take off from the sides of the hillside to the north, over 80 headed to our 'hood, some of those wheeled off and headed up towards Pisgat Ze'ev. Another 50 at least headed towards Hizmeh, all probably going off to roost after a day's forage on the hills. We saw a falcon flying over the hillside and up the valley in the direction of the quarry, a hobby?

After a few minutes we came across a trail we'd never seen before (since we don't normally go in that direction and the park authority has been developing here within the last year)- a winding path leading up through the pine and cypress to the east and marked 'shvil shafan hasela' שביל שפן הסלע
in English, 'hyrax path' . New! Of course we had to take it. It wound up the hillside between steps of limestone though we didn't notice one single hyrax, haha! (We did find them by the pumping station and at the top of that hill where the trail left the outer suburban road toward windsurfer hill. )

The path emerged onto the open hillside and to an area planted with saplings. We did notice a family of chukar partridges, maybe half a dozen, making their way up from boulder to boulder, single file, parents with well grown young in juvenile plumage. We finally gained the outer edges of Pisgat Ze'ev there, a neighbourhood of red roofed villas. From there we decided to strike north towards 'Windsurfer hill', cross over that and down to the valley but we'd have to make tracks because it was almost sunset.

We disturbed another family of chukar near the hilltop, at least 7 in that party. Heading down the hill, watching our footing due to many treacherous small stones on the surface, we spotted three well grown gazelle running swiftly cross country just east of us and shortly after that another one heading towards the pistaccio orchard. (4 gazelle in all today)

We reached look-out corner at almost 8 p.m. , light was fading fast and some stone curlew calls came to us from the north. Husband saw a bat. (We can't stop here, it's bat country!). The moon was up in a clear sky and just gibbous, which did not give the silvery light of full moon but a dim washed out muddy brown light which was just sufficient to make our way through central trail and up to valley road as dark fell.

Podonosma blooming blue and yellow bells again by a wall edge of 'hood, some fennel blooming right down in the dry watercourse, still plenty of that yellow low broom like plant out even though half the leaves dried out, but otherwise flowers pretty much done, though a white caper bud noticed.

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