Thursday, December 11, 2008

Easterlies blow again

Today the weather has reverted to mostly light easterly winds most of the day with totally clear skies, temperatures dropped to 7 to just over 13 degrees C range. About 12.5 degrees during our walk. 7 degrees is the usual minimum in Jerusalem though it does occasionally drop lower.
Humidity just over 50%

House sparrow calls in the garden, jackdaws and hooded crows also heard from inside, white wagtails and feral pigeons also about the tops of the buildings. A few white spectacled bulbul calls in the garden as well as some blackbird tzeets , latter also chakking in the woods at dusk as usual. (in pines near the kingfisher's haunts .. there's one there that seems actually confused by the will respond to the kingfisher's call with chaks of its own. Does it think it's ansering to some mega blackbird?

Nice view of a small gazelle herd, nine individuals perhaps more, no adult males noticed so they'd be females and juveniles, making its way east at a good pace over the north of gazelle field to the main easterly water course at which point they dipped out of sight. They re-emerged near the large pine behind the cistern and made their way up toward the fence and behind the pine plantation. Some time later we spotted them emerging behind the orchard, making their way south to the olive trees or windsurfer hill.

Pair of stonechats hawking for flying insects at the far end of the rubble again shortly before sunset, probably the same pair we've seen before. Nice to see how regular they are, and today a beautiful male black redstart put in an appearance, hunting not far from them.

That white breasted kingfisher is such a tease! Shortly after sunset, after scanning the eucalyptus for it, we headed south along the lower valley trail by the pistaccio orchard and no sooner had we pretty much given up on a sighting we heard it cackle stridently like a mad witch from the eucs, now on the other side of a stand of pines. Again it had eluded our view. Of course it wasn't doing it on purpose but it was funny... especially the way the call sounds so much like a laugh! I don't mind if we don't see it, hearing it is enough for a record but I always enjoy a glimpse of this gorgeous bird.

More cleaning up. Next stage in the city's development of this park MUST be garbage containers, especially by the usual BBQing sites, sadly some cannot be trusted to take their disposables home. My love for a clean environment sometimes encounters my disinclination to be some stranger's post facto maid! I remember to wash my hands well after! The city or Keren Kayemet (Jewish National Fund) have been maintaining the saplings and did put up new direction signs in the spring, always heart warming signs of attention in our direction. As their budget allows...
Stuff we find (usually soft drink bottles, plastic plates and cups, discarded cigarette cartons and plastic bags) we take up to the garbage containers by the pumping station or all the way up into the neighbourhood. If the bottles are relatively new and in good condition we put them in the cage for recycling.

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