Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another lovely image from Ruthie Schueler. White wagtails Motacilla alba alba, winter in Israel in great numbers, arriving from their Asian breeding grounds at the beginning of the rainy season. They are familiar birds because they favour human habitation.. streets and rooftops are their usual foraging grounds for small insects. They run on the ground, wagging their tails distinctly at the moment they stop to rest, hence the name, have a distinct undulating flight and sharp 'chik chik!' which makes them easy to tell that they're around.

Thursday: temp range: 19.5 -21.5 degrees C, at time of walk about 18 degrees, humidity ~75%, winds W/NW 5-7 kt

Gazelles 2 heading up from north field up hill slope)
Thursday: 1 gazelle up on north hill skyline grazing along near the wall. Two running north by the fence, emerged from behind the east pine grove and making good speed along the bank there.

Most notable..
Bee-eaters Merops apiaster heard over bat cave area though not seen, musical prrp prrp calls known to us both. Probably a group on their way south.

White wagtails: heard from the house earlier by the street and also approaching sunset in flight over the neighbourhood, heading to roost, both days.
House sparrows: as usual, increasingly intense noise after 4 p.m. in gardens both days.
laughing doves, collared doves: very low profile lately.
Hooded crows: seen, heard over valley both days, particularly sharp caws today. Large vocab.
Jackdaws: calls heard
Eurasian Jays: heard, seen around woods both days quite active
Feral pigeons: around building rooftops as usual.
sunbirds: song in garden again. Also seen foraging in the cape honeysuckle
Syrian woodpeckers: calls.
Blackbirds: chak chak calls approaching dusk as usual.
glimpse of Eurasian sparrowhawk flying up north valley.

This stuff still in bloom by valley road. If anyone remembers we captured an image near the pumping station back at the end of July. It's not an obvious plant because each flower is tiny, barely half a cm across, but a delicate candy like yellow and pink. Still not sure what it is yet. Like a Limonium or some Heliotropium but have to get back to this.

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