Sunday, September 28, 2008

Nightjar, chukars, grackles and others

16.5-23.5 degrees C, time of walk (about 5.30 p.m.) just under 21 degrees and falling, humidity: ~70% and rising, wind westerly/north westerly 5-10 kt

Today we headed up north valley towards the quarry.

Bird of the day was a nightjar, (European, Caprimulgus europaeus
Best sighting I ever had! We were making our way down a trail from the end of the buildings down into the valley when we surprised the bird from a rock along the way. It flew with remarkable silence and stealth and landed very obligingly atop another boulder under the pines by the path. We tried to get shots. (one cropped above, just about discernible) Not the best, we don't have the zoom lens for it yet, but through binoculars the bird was beautiful, like a huge moth or strip of tree bark and very clear. This bird was probably on its way south to Africa and stopped over for a refuel.

No gazelles spotted. Falcon calls heard many times but did not come into view. We looked out for the little owl on approach to the quarry but were unable to find him. We did startle a covey of chukar partridges, or rather they startled me! In the entrance to the first, smaller excavation just south of the path and east of the quarry buildings. Perhaps eight birds or more, a few took off noisily and headed across the valley north east, the others scattered silently south east, a much shorter distance. Seemed organized, the louder birds (probably including the parents) distracting us while the others took cover with more stealth. Clever.

We were happy to find Tristram's grackles at the quarry still, first appearing at the old buildings, then flying down to the rocks to the north of the path, near the quarry rim and calling. One fanned its wings down, showing the orange patch in clear display, probably from excitement. Four were in view and whistle calls of a fifth, (perhaps also a sixth) came to us from across the larger quarry.

On the way we heard a number of great tits in the acacias by the watercourse as well as warblers which managed to hide well in the foliage. From the calls sounds like we already have chiffchaffs here (Phylloscopus collybita) but very possibly other stuff. Collared doves about, briefly sighted, graceful warblers, white spectacled bulbuls very vocal, (those, sunbirds and house sparrows also heard in the garden)

Eurasian jays about the pines as usual, hooded crows and jackdaws at the top of the hill,

I haven't discovered what flower this is yet but it was blooming in many places along the path to the quarry. I'm calling it 'yellow star' for the time being. Yet another yellow one, seems the colour of the season. At first I took it for ragwort which are still in bloom in many places but did a double take because it really is quite different.. leaves much shorter and slightly succulent and petals narrower.

Berries of hawthorn (Crataegus )

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saturday 27

First rain of the season fell!: On friday 26th. Large drops spattered down so hard I thought they were hail! They had probably formed around dust in the air. No thunder or lightning, intermittent rain over the following twenty four hours and cumulus drifting over from the west like galleons. Even so, the stream was not flowing when we reached it late saturday afternoon, merely damp.

Saturday: 17-22 degrees C, We headed out about 5.30 p.m. when the temp. was ~20 degrees. During the time of our walk humidity ascended to 80% then 85%, wind westerly with minor changes and ~6-8 kt.
Birds definitely up and about foraging hard in the pre-dusk shift.

Gazelles: 6 today. Two heading up the slope east of stream forest path through the pines and cypress, at least four more north west end of gazelle field, not far from the pylon. There may have been more blocked from line of sight by an almond, and this was just after sunset, light growing dim.

hyrax: Active along valley road, old blonde sentry on a rock by cypress.
dogs: feral dogs active and a puppy seen just below valley road not far from hyrax dens.

Warblers on valley road apart from the graceful warblers, not good sightings to be sure which though. Whitethroat (Sylvia communis) possible, but not definite.

: 2 active and circling over lower valley road near the pistaccio orchard.
Falcon flying over north east area of gazelle field, over road, by Hizmeh hill.. Kestrel in this case I think from flight style and general impression, but didn't see top of bird in flight so well.

Hoopoe on the path by the orchard, haven't seen one of those in a while!
Hooded crows: about singly and in pairs, flying over the area, some cawing.
Jackdaws: A lot of calls heard
Eurasian Jays: much activity in the woods, calls and seen foraging singly.
Blackbirds: alarm calls and some SONG from one on upper part of bank, (was in an acacia tree I think)
Collared doves: Glimpsed but quiet.
Stone curlews: some calls from north west end of gazelle field or beyond, just after dark.
Graceful warblers:Much activity and foraging along valley road
Syrian woodpeckers: active and calling esp. by pistaccio orchard
White spectacled Bulbuls: calls in pines here and there
Great tits: some calls in the pines.
Masked shrike heard calling from east end north valley pines.

House sparrows:around the gardens, roost in next door's cypress, much activity there from about 5.10 p.m. on and more birds arriving in small groups. Feral pigeons on top of buildings as usual. Some sunbird calls, bulbul calls.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nightingale, swifts and the dark fox

Our treat today was the discovery of a nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos foraging in the dry stream bed by the beginning of the sapling field just a few yards away from us. They are extraordinarily drab and furtive birds and finding it at all was a stroke of luck as it hunted in the rocks and on the bank, every so often flicking its rufous tail up and whistling a surprisingly loud plain call. Presently it left the bank and foraged around a fallen eucalyptus. No doubt this one is stopping by for a refuel on its way south. Husband got close enough to see central dark tail feathers but regrettably we didn't manage to get a good enough pic.

The other passage migrant today was some kind of swift, not obvious which, clearly smaller than common swifts (ours already headed south months ago), we watched at least a dozen individuals in very loose association hunt over the valley and slowly make their way south. It occurred to me that they might be (crag) martins but their wing shape and flight style was definitely swift like, tails short though undersides pale, upper dark, not black. Strange. Only swift all pale underparts is alpine swift and they didn't seem anywhere near big enough for those.

Brief sighting of the dark fox crossing dry stream path trail across from the pistaccio orchard. It quickly made its way across the pine grove there (no underbrush in that section at all) and then disappeared into the stream bed, and was out of view.

Also collared dove in eucalyptus near look out corner, quiet, Eurasian jays, quite a few singles seen about the woods as usual, some screeches. Jackdaw flock about and heard, hooded crows about though quiet. Masked shrike heard from down in north valley, graceful warblers from around valley road, blackbirds in middle of the pines area. White spectacled bulbuls also heard especially near the pumping station. Hyrax screech alarm also heard from that area. Falcon over, heading towards neighbourhood. Kestrel?

North west gazelle field, two gazelles, grazing just beyond the almond tree line, adult male and another, the buck was plainly interested and following the other, which ran a little way, buck also accelerated as they moved back towards the pines.

House sparrows around the garden and sunbird heard, feral pigeons aloft,

Wednesday's walk

Moshe came with us yesterday. We took a shortcut down into north valley and headed down the trail to the east. Syrian woodpeckers were calling and very soon we spotted a falcon flying over the valley, circling then gliding up west. From the brownish red I glimpsed on the wings I'd say common kestrel. Soon after two more falcons came into view flying together, hobbies this time, circling and ascending over the east end of north valley. Then they headed off south and east.

Nice male adult gazelle sighted ahead of us in the pines, made his way through, partly walking, stopping now and again to look in our direction, a few paces running, he did not feel too threatened, knew we were there.. we were upwind and probably audible too. He ran out of the pines, stopped a few times to look at us, and then headed at a somewhat leisurely pace up the hill, stopping now and again to look at us. He was about 100 metres off at least. We did get a few pics but none significantly better than the one we got a few days ago. Day before, two gazelles in gazelle field, one just beyond the hawthorn and another was in one of the old dry water channels, (parallel to the almond tree row) jumped out when husband advanced to photograph the first and headed east, seeking cover in the channel again. The other headed quickly north to the hill.

Jackdaws and hooded crows about, jackdaws very vocal lately as are the Eurasian jays, foraging all over woods and fields singly as usual. Some collared doves about but quiet. Masked shrike calling in eucalyptus grove area of east north valley. Wheatears melodious calls heard in the north stony area lower part of northern water course, from call and memory, more black eared.

Sunbirds song and white spectacled bulbuls in the garden, house sparrows esp, in the cypresses next door, flock settling to roost, feral pigeons on building top esp, across street (10 storey), laughing doves by the road near garbage scavenging for crumbs as usual.

Moshe took another pic of a funnel web spider in an aromatic bush and also caught a nice size praying mantis, which scampered back into the bush before we had chance to take a decent pic. As result, no pics I'm particularly happy with this time for publication, that's the way it can go!

What else was around? Blackbirds, graceful warblers also heard in last couple of days. Oh yes, pipit/wagtail like bird flew over us yesterday but couldn't get focus in time to see tail. Call and mode of flight told me one of that family though. Call not quite sharp enough to be white wagtail but could not be sure.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New camera debut

Today husband's new Nikon D 40 single lens digital reflex arrived, Hurray! Now we can take pics again! Today we had some fun getting used to the settings etc.

This beautiful little pink flower was the only flower we found blooming on the south facing slope of north hill, every thing else was dry and gone to seed. It's a member of the pink family, Caryophyllaceae, one of the Dianthus I'd guess, flowers which bloom in high summer, but didn't ID it closer than that. Called 'tziporen' in Hebrew.

There was still some ragwort in bloom by valley road as well as the low broom like plant and spitting cucumber still making flowers and pods.

We spotted this handsome buck gazelle in the flat eastern area of the north watercourse - a little blurred, had to zoom in on the pic here, but you can just see his horns.

Range today 20 to just over 30 degrees C, at time of walk ~28 degrees C, at that time humidity rising from 27 to 37%, wind ENE and very light.

Flock of 70-80 jackdaws way up on the wall /fence near to A Ram, apparently foraging up on the hill there, toward sunset, as well as a few hoodies on the line. A number of wheatears foraging and occasionally calling on the hill crest amongst the rocks and in the scrub. Based on the pale buff and white plumage and dark mark through the eye I'd say they were Isabelline Wheatears, Oenanthe isabellina, fairly common passage migrants. Farther down the slope we spotted a pair of pipits foraging along the ground but I could not get enough detail to I.D. them unfortunately.

Eurasian Jays foraging in woods, fields and north watercourse eucalyptus grove, Syrian woodpeckers about, masked shrike heard.

We headed over north into the olive grove and there, while admiring the spreading surface roots of an old olive found a wild tortoise nestled into a nook! I didn't want to disturb it, it looked so comfortable so we just took a pic (below). You can just see the two back legs and triangular shaped tail

Altogether a delightful outing for the new camera and ourselves!

Small flock of house sparrows by our street, several pairs of laughing doves at crumb corner, feral pigeons on top of buildings. Sunbird heard singing in the cape honeysuckle

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday report

17.5 -26 degrees C, time of walk:20-21 degrees, just over 75% humidity and rising, wind W/NW 5-9 kt, plenty small cumulus lately though pretty clear today.

: 2 well grown gazelles right by the pines NE corner by north gazelle field, one was adult buck, could just make out his horns, just after sunset and light fading, could have been more gazelle over there but could hardly make out. one was sproinging a little earlier, the male.. stotting behaviour?
hyrax: Plenty active by valley road
reptiles: geckoes.

Hobbies: brief glimpse, and repeated calls just west of the bat cave.
Masked shrike glimpsed in pines just east of valley road, before central trail turn-off.. the giveaway stoop and rise.

Hooded crows: small windsurfing up by windsurfer hill, just west of it as usual, looked quite challenging today
Jackdaws: calls
Eurasian Jays: calls in the woods
Feral pigeons: buildings and over
Greenfinches: some calls in Pistaccio orchard area
Blackbirds:alarm calls in the woods
Collared doves: some sighted but quiet. (We did hear a little cooing in north valley last week)
Graceful warblers:vocal in pine forest just east of valley road

House sparrows, active in the gardens, white spectacled bulbul, beautifully vocal in the Bauhinia accompanied by a singing sunbird early afternoon, sang at some length.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Miscellaneous observations

19-28 degrees C, during our walk: betw. 22 and 23 degrees C, W-NW 6-10 kt

Looked for Gazelles on our afternoon walk in vain but yesterday did see some fresh droppings on the north valley hillside. On our evening walk after 10 p.m. a gazelle ran across valley road in front of us and then down the hillside through the pines toward north valley.
hyrax some active lately along valley road.
gecko on our evening walk, almost totally white, but for the black eyes to camouflage with the white limestone ashlars of a low wall

Hobbies, pair up above windsurfer hill flying together for the most part, dodging a rather half hearted attack by a small group of crows, flew higher, just north of Pisgat Zeev and one of them dipped down, feint attack at the crows

Brief sighting of
sparrowhawk pair fly from pine grove just east of cistern over to pines of north valley, quite low.
Masked shrike calls coming from same pine grove at about sunset.

Forgot to mention.. a few days ago on rebars of the bunker rubble, an immature
wheatear, probably black eared.
Hooded crows: Jackdaws: Up on windsurfer hill, small flocks.
Eurasian Jays: active singles and small groups throughout the woods and crossing fields.
Blackbirds: some alarm calls in woods past couple of days
Collared doves: brief in flight between trees but not cooing
Sunbirds: calls in the Bauhinia tree in the garden, brief song, also calls in Eucalyptus grove near cistern
Syrian woodpeckers: many calls from pines esp. pine grove just west of gazelle field
Bulbuls: harsh alarm calls and some musical notes from Bauhinia in the garden, also seen in Pistaccio orchard

House sparrows: definitely increased activity around the houses late afternoon. Apart from bulbul and sunbird activity, also heard some coos of laughing doves in Bauhinia.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

late night gazelle and miscellaneous

Range today: 21-32 degrees C, time of our walk, ~27 degrees C, wind NW -W 2-8 kt 60% humidity

- 2: one going down into north valley from valley road north bend last night after 10 p.m., husband had impression it was adult buck, glimpsed horns. (Crickets particularly active and vocal last night. )
Today a well grown immature or female just beyond acacia, north gazelle field, grazing and heading slowly north east. Are the rest over to the north by the figs and almond trees? Plenty food there for them. Could also be up north valley or anywhere in pine tree cover. No others visible out in east field or north field lately

: some activity on valley road yesterday late afternoon, some shriek like alarm calls.

Hobbies: two in flight high over east valley toward east side... circling but not aggressive, mates? Repeated calls. Reinforcing pair bond? One came up earlier from just south of pumping station. Wonderful to watch.
Masked shrike : calls heard from a few places in east valley pines near the shepherd path up the hill and the mysterious wood piles.
Hooded crows:Flock up on windsurfer hill, active, vocal, flying about
Jackdaws: Calls up from windsurfer hill area, active
Eurasian Jays: calls from woods especially just south of pumping station, perhaps some bird of prey in there had disturbed both them and the hobby
Blackbirds: calls yesterday
Graceful warblers: calls esp. yesterday
Collared doves: some spooked out of trees as we passed but no coos
Syrian woodpeckers: calls

House sparrows:active and vocal late afternoon, about 5.45 p.m. ish in gardens.
laughing doves, Feral pigeons : around buildings as usual. Sunbird calls from Bauhinia tree, high pitched but not quite song today. 3.15 p.m heard chirp particularly sharp which sounded *white wagtailish* , early for them but not out of the question... had husband on alert when he went out up neighbourhood an hour later but none spotted.
(When they first touch down on return they are most likely to be seen on roofs and streets. )

Sunday, September 14, 2008


We headed out not long before sunset and light was already growing dim. There was plenty of activity of hyraxes down near the end of valley road, pump house colony, including young.

Several masked shrikes around the loop, calls heard from at least three different directions between the pumphouse and the bridge. A nice one seen yesterday by the pistaccio orchard.

As we headed north along the dry stream trail, heard strange kind of honk a couple of times from above, then sighted flock, skeined crescent shape, quite high but distinct and heading south east-ish toward Dead Sea. Given shape of flock and that call I'd say they were common cranes and at least thirty of them in formation, probably more but sighting was poor due to light conditions.

Today quick sighting of nightjar from the large pine by the bunker rubble, headed into the eucalyptus grove- already getting dark at that point.

Spooked a couple more buzzards accidentally lately, had already settled to roost. Ring necked parakeet flying quite high betw neighbourhood and some other place. Collared doves about, Hobbies several brief sightings. One apparently harassing another briefly just south of the pumphouse, territorial or just a family squabble, sibling rivalry? The harassed bird settled on power line pylon, keeping a 'low profile' to avoid being attacked in the air again.

Graceful warblers very vocal, jackdaws also vocal up on hill and a flock up at top end of pumphouse colony rocks a couple of days ago foraging intently on the ground.. something was attracting them but we could not find what definitely unless they like the pods of a common plant which was growing plentifully there. (A white/green delicate flowering spike we photographed on the north hill a couple of months back but didn't ID) More likely some kind of larvae just below the surface.

Hooded crows and feral pigeons about, laughing doves on the street as usual, house sparrows, sunbird singing in the Bauhinia again today. Blackbird alarm calls, Syrian woodpecker calls.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Storks and miscellaneous

Exciting news of storks came to us from neighbours, B Goldwasser and D Weiss, two of a number of witnesses to a beautiful passage back on the 6th of September. From their descriptions I think we can reasonably identify them as White storks, Ciconia ciconia estimate at something around 200 in number and quite high, climbing on thermals, around 4 p.m.

~17.5 degrees C to 28 degrees C again, humidity rising towards 70% and continuing to climb, winds westerly, around 8 kt.

Today hobby heard and briefly sighted flying from new pine grove (by gazelle field) towards pines and cypress high on south facing slope of north valley farther 'upstream'

Otherwise a rather uneventful walk, graceful warblers quite vocal, some blackbird alarms heard, shrike in the trees immediately west of gazelle field, near central trail. Bat over valley road corner, near the picnic spot. Sunbird singing in the Bauhinia again mid/late afternoon, some white spectacled bulbul calls and house sparrow activity. Feral pigeons and Hooded crows about.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hobby Drama

Today's range 17.5-28 degrees C, At time of walk ~23 degrees, humidity ~70%, wind W-WSW, 9,10 kt.

Today we headed down a trail which leads into north valley and very quickly found hobby action. Some repeated aggressive aerial chase behaviour over east end of north valley and gazelle field, husband saw four birds up at once at one point, I didn't but saw 3 up several times and two up most of the time. We also heard calls of a fifth bird from farther west up the valley.

This is really neat because it confirms that not one but two families of hobbies have been breeding in the area, one pair in east valley producing two young (as seen by Susan) and a further different pair up north valley producing at least one chick.

What we saw was a territorial dispute, two birds of the east valley territory family had strayed a little too far into the north valley territory and were being seen off by the pair there.
Implies at least 7 individual hobbies in the whole area by now.

These are called in Hebrew 'Baz Etzim' בז עצים 'Tree falcon', as they nest in high trees as opposed to kestrels (Baz Matzui = common falcon בז מצוי) which generally nest on cliffs or high buildings.

We also heard some cooing of collared doves in the pines of north valley, a number of Eurasian jays about though quiet, calls of shrike in the north valley eucalyptus grove by the dry water course. There was also a relatively new charred patch by the path there, within the last few days and already had fresh mole rat excavations. Why do they love digging through charred areas?

We also noticed a small dark bird with a robin like jizz on a rock under the pines in north valley. Dunnock Prunella modularis popped into my mind immediately, but unfortunately I couldn't get close enough to confirm for sure. Dunnocks do overwinter here and I thought this might be a little early for them but not out of the question. I haven't seen these birds since my U.K. watching and would be neat to see again as this species would be a first for me for my patch.

Hooded crows seen about, Feral pigeons around the houses, sunbird singing in our Bauhinia mid afternoon

Monday, September 8, 2008

Raptor Drama

hyrax: Plenty activity especially the cypress slum colony.. sentry adults ranged on rocks on east side of valley road
reptiles: Gecko last night by the road. No gazelle
Masked shrike also heard yesterday from pines just north of central trail

Most dramatic event of the late afternoon toward sunset were the appearance of at least 40 big brown jobs, Buteo types, very dark, not black kites though, look too dark for honey buzzards (?)unless they're immatures, possible. This caused a furore amongst the local birds particularly hooded crows, jackdaws and the hobbies. The buzzards steadily dropped altitude and were clearly wanting to settle down to roost in the pines but the crows had other ideas.

We watched one crow attempt to take on a raptor but the latter easily dodged it in flight, it can turn and bank with a nifty flick of a pinion with hardly any apparent effort at all while the crow flaps and struggles to gain altitude and reach it for some kind of attack. The crow gave up pretty soon. The falcons tend to try to dive bomb them, working in pairs, taking turns but they don't seem to inflict significant damage either, it's hard to tell. Perhaps they do get injuries, scratches we don't see. Birds can't afford to lose much blood, they are quite delicate in that respect.

When the first buzzards appeared we noticed some smaller birds flying amongst them.. pretty far but definitely hirundines from the mode of flight, probably common swallows from what I could make out, also in passage and apparently using the same thermal for their own purposes.

The flock of about 70-80 jackdaws split, most heading south toward Pisgat Zeev, over the southern woods and about 25 over the middle woods in an attempt to prevent touchdown but because they were clearly afraid of coming really close they did not succeed, it was inevitable the larger birds would find roost. Meanwhile the hobbies continued their fuss over the woods beyond the pumping station.

Hobbies: At least two or three up and taking on the passage migrants, calling many times, aggravated, excited, they didn't like the presence of the larger raptors in their territory at all! Susan (across the valley) confirmed the presence of a fourth hobby, (comments last entry) which is awesome since to date we'd only suspected four birds from calls this year, but not managed to see them all in flight. This also confirms successful breeding this year.. two of the birds are almost definitely the young of this season.

Eurasian Jays: Also making some fuss as the raptors settled in the pines to roost, nasal squawking, could have been their usual squabbling too.
Blackbirds: Some calls, Collared doves: about but relatively quiet, Great tits, some calls.
Stone curlews: Some calls lately. Graceful warblers:Quite vocal lately, Syrian woodpeckers: some calls

House sparrows, Feral pigeons, laughing doves: around houses. Sunbirds singing and calling in Bauhinia. White spectacled bulbul musical calling almost song quality also in there,

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Saturday Night Round Up

Gazelles: none in the last few days though fresh droppings seen in various places.
hyrax: Plenty activity above ground today inluding lots of babies, and they were climbing into cypress tree lower branches and nibbling in them, sentries on guard on various rocks by valley road
reptiles: large tortoise spotted plodding quite quickly across valley road towards forest, stopped by the aromatic scrub. I showed it to a group of girls that happened to be passing and they were instantly highly intrigued!

Most notable bird today,
masked shrike, Lanius nubicus one sighted on a branch just across path from the cistern but calls heard from four different directions at once so quite a few about apart from at least two other birds heard along the dry stream trail
Bee-eaters- not for a few days, Turtle doves- quiet
Hobbies- nice view of one soaring up on a thermal high over the valley, shortly after we saw one messing with the jackdaws again above windsurfer hill, is this aggressive behaviour or are they all just playing?
House sparrows:chirping more about the houses, flock in some trees settling down to roost, much contact calls.
laughing doves: picking on the ground in crumb corner by our street
Hooded crows: heard calling, and some seen about, over windsurfer hill
Jackdaws: heard calling, flock up on windsurfer hill
Eurasian Jays: calls and singles seen throughout the pine woods
Feral pigeons: in flight and around buildings
Greenfinches: Foraging in the branches of pines by bunker rubble
Blackbirds: some mild alarm calls in the pines more towards valley road
Collared doves: quiet but heard clapping wings up in eucalyptus and other trees along the dry stream trail
Stone curlews: vocal just beyond north end of trees as dark began to fall
Sunbirds: song in Bauhinia mid day, squeaky calls. Also calls in various places in the woods.
Graceful warblers:some calls.
Syrian woodpeckers: Quiet today
White spectacled Bulbuls: Heard near pumping station
Great tits:heard in pines just off valley road by sapling field.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The big boys are back!

Always worth blogging soon after a hike so that the info stays fresh.. now it's a day later and I may miss a few details but here we go with Monday's walk- mainly just down valley road and along the east valley lower trail by the dry stream which is messed up with effluent from the pumping station at the moment. Looks like a layer of papier mache! Not toxic I don't think though I sometimes wonder how that affects the eucalyptus trees.

I also noticed a white water line on my skirt from the wadi Qelt water (farther 'downstream' )- husband reckons it's just pure calcium (carbonate) from groundwater though I didn't have that at all last time we were there

Most notable observation yesterday were at least half a dozen buzzards (we may have seen same individual twice, or 7) at about sunset, they'd probably come down to roost on passage and we spooked them from their resting places in various pines.. they just flew up, wheeled around and found another place to settle, at this time of year most likely honey buzzards, Pernis apivorus but light dim, hard to tell. Likely there were quite a few more about settled that we didn't spook.

Hyrax: Many active in cypress slum colony.. including many young, often run across road as we approach, since safe dens under boulders on the forest side of the road as opposed to mostly exposed bank on the other side. chittering calls heard quite a lot.

Hobbies: dramatically tried to divebomb a jackdaw.. jackdaw tried to reach it but both stand off last moment in mid air as neither wants to get damaged in flight. Lots of jackdaws about up on the hill, at least 70,80

Jays: calls, foraging in the pines
Greenfinches: small groups in pines
Blackbirds: some vocalizations
Sunbirds: In Bauhinia tree, squeak calls, male
Graceful warblers:Very vocal in pines near valley road
Syrian woodpeckers: calls
Bulbuls: calls near valley road, around pumping station
Great tits:calls
White spectacled bulbul - calling musically in the Bauhinia outside my window as I write

Up to 3 ring necked parakeets also about lately, between our neighbourhood and Pisgat Zev's 'villa hill' , they've learned to appreciate suburban gardens over woodland- more water amongst other benefits.