Monday, December 29, 2008

More rain

Mon: Time of walk, shortly after 4 p.m. 10.4 degrees C (today's range: 8.2-11.75 degrees C)
Humidity: 84% winds WSW 7.8. Rain on and off today, especially in the evening. Thank God, every drop is needed.

Near east end of north valley a Eurasian sparrowhawk dived to the ground, apparently grabbed something, vanished in the ground cover briefly then took off and flew to the pines west of the path with 'undercarriage' down.. probably had something gripped in talons but not large. As we advanced we spooked it or another sparrowhawk from a pine and THAT spooked a small group of finches which circled over the valley a few times 'chipping' anxiously and gaining height. Couldn't tell what they were, maybe greenfinches. Eurasian jays about.

Hoopoe perched up on the eucalyptus again behind look out corner, not the same tree, not necessarily the same bird either as we know there's a whole family or two in that vicinity. It fanned it's crest on our approach. They always look so indignant when they do that. A very agreeable bird that can be identified so easily just in silhouette. Wonder where that kingfisher got to, if it's still around? We haven't heard it in days.

No sign of gazelle in north field or hillside. However, brief glimpse of one was noticed in the sapling field in east valley a little later, moving to west. Alone.. a buck? Limpy? Unfortunately we couldn't find it as we advanced. We searched for tracks in the sapling field but nothing definite but dog. Ground so soft hoofprints can collapse.

Hooded crows about. I lingered near the pumping station for a while, light was fading, Venus shining and dark clouds rolling in from the west. I hoped to hear the little owl up the hill but he didn't sound. A group of crows were acting suspiciously, several perched on a line over the pump-house hyrax colony, perhaps on the look-out for kits to grab. After a short while they abandoned that and decided to head off to roost, it was getting quickly cold and dark and numbers of others were steadily making their way to their roost in the high trees in east valley. We did hear another little owl somewhere down in north valley a few minutes later.. from off toward bat cave or farther west, up the valley.

Quiet day all in all, rain driving birds undercover.

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