Saturday, December 27, 2008

easterlies, gazelle

Sky didn't seem to make up it's mind today, sometimes clear, sometimes high altitude clouds.
Temp: range, just over 7 degrees C up to 10.5 degrees. Time of walk, just after 4 p.m. a little under 10 degrees, ~65% humidity, winds ENE, very light, up to 2.5 knots.

At about sunset a group of gazelle seen at the north east end of the gazelle field, by the almond trees, perhaps grazing or picking up fallen nuts or both. They milled to and fro for a while.. at first could only see three individuals then rather abruptly they turned east and headed for the water course and the bank below the fence at a light run and then they came out of the woodwork as it were.. typical, they can be so well hidden by their camouflage you don't know how many are out there till they get moving, and some could have been concealed by the dry stone wall or in the stream bed, but now there were clearly at least seven of them. Seemed something spooked them but I looked behind them to the west and saw no dogs, foxes, people or anything. Certainly not picked up by the wind since that was blowing in their faces at that time, unless it was something coming down off the hill.. I didn't check that direction. They headed back south east, probably they'd go behind the pines and orchard and head towards the small olive copse.

Husband heard sunbird earlier outside his office window, in the cape honeysuckle. There was also a blackbird somewhere in the garden late afternoon friday singing beautifully. Blackbird also heard 'chakking' in the woods at dusk as usual. House sparrows around buildings as usual. Flock of jackdaws heard numerous times as well as hooded crows. Syrian woodpecker near the rubble. No stonechats or black redstarts but not surprising since kids had been there a few minutes before and would have scared them off for a while. Great tit call in the pines near where central trail meets valley road.

This evening after 10 p.m. we heard a little owl somewhere down in north valley and later, about 10.40 p.m. clear long complex call of stone curlew from about the direction of the bat cave. Other calls, probably chiffchaff. Jays and pigeons keeping a low profile today.

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