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

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