Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lilies growing out of mole rat mounds and other miscellanea

you can also see how charred the earth is just under the surface where the sprouts emerge. That was from the fire.. and can also be seen in the hue of the earth beyond the mound.

Today's range 13.5 -20 degrees C, time of walk, not long after 4 p.m. 17 degrees and falling.
Wind NW to W though had been easterlies most of the day and was just changing about then and picking up from 1-2 kt to about 5kt.. i.e. very similar to yesterday. Humidity rising quickly from about 35% to 60% plus over the next two hours or so.

Gazelles: none noticed today. hyrax: calls heard?. feral dogs: some barking.

I was amused to see a bunch of lily type sprouts poking out of a mole rat mound and wondered if perhaps mole rats had stored a bunch of bulbs in a cavity just under the ground there and forgotten about them. These are probably going to turn out to be asphodel and there were plenty more sprouting all over the open charred area just north of central trail and west of gazelle field, some others also growing out of mole rat mounds.

A lot of fresh stuff is sprouting up now in many places, charred and uncharred, both grass and dicots. Also good to see plenty green sprouting along the bed of the stream, which indicates the effluent is not toxic to quite a few local plants. More crocuses seen, the ragwort still persists and the spitting cucumbers by north end of valley road still going strong, making new pods all the time.

Approaching dusk we headed south along the lower valley trail and then heard the white breasted kingfisher call stridently again from the direction of gazelle fields or woods round about. I wanted to see if I could catch a glimpse while it was still just barely light enough. From its calls it had flown into the eucalyptus grove but when I heard it again it had retreated farther back beyond the cistern and towards the almond trees, unless there is more than one about. At that point the light was fading fast. I did hear some stonechats from that direction but no luck on the kingfisher.. but two days in a row is promising for a third...

Immature black redstart on a bare acacia busy foraging just like a spotted flycatcher where we'd seen it before a few days ago.. flying up and hawking though not so fancy in the air as a flycatcher and grey very smooth, almost like a blackstart. Another one by the rubble but left on our arrival, calls in the eucalyptus grove, no good sightings.
House sparrows: around the house as usual. laughing doves: cooing from the back porch roof area late morning
Hooded crows: ~30 flew down quietly from hoodie hill and settled in eucalyptus by the lower valley trail. We wondered if this was usual roosting area or if something had disturbed their roost around the hill because we hadn't noticed a group like this settle back into the woods after night.
Eurasian Jays: some calls, relatively low profile today.
Feral pigeons: some flying between buildings as usual.
Blackbirds: some alarm calls in woods just west of gazelle field, and also about the garden mid afternoon. Song from same woods at about 4.45 p.m
Syrian woodpeckers: some calls. white spectacled bulbuls :some calls.

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