Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Unseasonably warm. Walk in the woods in harvest moon.

Unusually warm today considering there were very brief showers during last night.. I'm talking about a spattering of large drops each lasting just a minute or so. Much altocumulus of various types drifting in from the west.

Today temps reached *33 degrees C in the early afternoon.. yes you read that right. We were eating lunch in the Succah (on the patio) and heard an
orange tufted sunbird sing in the cape honeysuckle. As tropical birds they probably love this hot humid weather.
During our walk temps had fallen to about 28 degrees, humidity fast rising to 80% so rather muggy. Winds brisk, 6-12 knots, mostly westerly but also veering to WSW and NW at times.
Gazelles: 3 seen against the skyline just up the hill to the east of the stream trail late afternoon. One was grazing, head down mostly. An adult buck was following a female to and fro just behind, very interested, she's probably in oestrus.
hyrax: some activity lately by valley road and quite a lot at the colony just below houses up from north valley.
feral dogs: family encountered previous evening just up from the stream path.. we went for a walk in the light of the full moon some time late, not sure when now, around 11 p.m. Male (we think) kicked up barking and moved along rocks away from the female. She sat very still on a large flat rock, blending in very well with the limestone due to her very pale colouring, and her puppies close near by, out of sight under or round the back of same rock. They had moved out of sight at our initial approach and their father's alarm.

Woods lovely in the (full harvest) moonlight. Owl glade looked particularly enchanting as the spread of limestone on the surface gave the impression of a light cover of snow over that whole area.
We did hear an owl or something down in north valley not long after.
Sky had much patchy altocumulus but nothing to conceal the moon much or for long and lighting was very good.

reptiles: some geckoes on and by the road.
Still plenty cricket activity. At night the woods sound as if they're filled with abandonned cell phones and marakas.

Spitting cucumber still blooming and putting out pods, ragwort still flowering and going to seed, depending on which patch. Some common mallow sprouting up by valley road. Low broom continues to flower. Watching out for crocus now, none yet. Cape honeysuckle making new flowers lately. Eucalyptus by stream path raining down old dry seed pods like hail when the wind blows through tree.

*Redstart calls in the woods already? Not sure, not glimpsed. A few *white wagtails heard and seen flying over but no really good sightings of foraging birds yet.
Swallow: Hirundo rustica a few days ago just over the beginning, northerly stretch of valley road.
House sparrows: making much fuss as they begin arriving and settling into the cypress next door soon after 4 p.m.
Jackdaws: numerous calls, quite active and visiting rooftops of the neighbourhood again, possibly after pigeon eggs.
Eurasian Jays: vocal and active throughout the woods and over gazelle field as usual
Feral pigeons: winging their way home back to roost in the 'hood late afternoon.
Blackbirds: 'chack chack' alarm calls in the pines by centre trail as usual.
Collared doves: a few spotted flying in gazelle field area but quiet.
Syrian woodpeckers: some calls, brief sights
White spectacled Bulbuls: calls especially around the pumping station area.. also gardens.
Great tits:calls in pines just down from valley road.

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