Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First mustard

We found some wild mustard, one of the Cruciferae, growing up by the edge of the neighbourhood. Sinapis alba has an earlier start to its growing season than Sinapis arvensis and seems more like the pics. My book (Azaria Alon) claims S. arvensis doesn't start till Feb while S. alba already starts in December. The online site I use claims S arvensis starts in December but S. alba already starts in November. Taking into account the altitude and delicate look I stay with S. alba and I don't have adequate pics of rest of the foliage for reference. We took this pic of the flowers today and mean to get some leaf shots soon.

Another early starter to the year! Meanwhile lovely small pink Dianthus continues to bloom along the walk to the quarry, not in great numbers but noticeable in the scrub here and there.

Garden: some musical calls of white spectacled bulbuls heard as well as house sparrows, distant jackdaws, tzeeet of a blackbird about 4 p.m. (quite regular) , white wagtails from the street, and a graceful warbler, Prinia gracilis, not far away.

Husband heard chukar partridges from somewhere down in north valley about 8 a.m.

Wednesday: 8.5-14 degrees C. Just after 4 p.m. 12.8 degrees, 39% humidity, winds ESE though barely, quite still which was very convenient for flower photography!

4 gazelle today. Two across north valley, just below the pine hangar half way up the hill. They continued along the trail toward the east at a gentle pace, stopping to graze. Looking at the hillside now just below the skyline there's a definite hue of pale green on the ground, plenty new grazing for the gazelle growing with the rains. I decided to take a trail I hadn't tried before.. one that winds up towards the south from the north valley trail. I was hoping to come into the territory of that elusive robin and maybe get a sighting but no luck on that.. we did however surprise two more gazelle which had been grazing amongst the pines. They headed down towards north valley, mother and young also?

Hooded crows and jackdaws up on the hillslopes to the north, foraging and calling. Eurasian jays heard making a noise somewhere.. various calls in the pines and cypress from birds well hidden in the foliage, probably chiffchaffs and others.

That trail led up to the back of Roscoe and might be fruitful to revisit, for kestrels, robins and possibly warblers. Doves very low profile today, haven't heard a peep from them, indeed pretty quiet all round. Where are greenfinches, great tits and such?

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