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.

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