Sunday, December 21, 2008

cyclamen on a rock with lichen

Numerous cyclamen found sprouting on the north facing slope of north valley. This one found a foothold halfway up a lichen covered boulder. We took several shots of different plants, one we added to last thursday's entry. Lighting conditions and camera settings were the same.. they varied greatly in colouring. Look how much darker this one is compared to the last!

Had some fun yesterday with son 'exploding' the largest patch of spitting cucumbers on the bank.. just the slightest poke with the fingers on the side can make it 'spit, quite a few times managing to aim it up at the face and/or all over the fingers a clear but weird smelling mucus like fluid, I don't know how they did that since they seemed to be normally pointing down .. something to film with high speed camera, they must flick up for a fraction of a second.

Amazingly some ragwort(Inula) STILL in flower, as well as the low broom and those sprays of those extremely tiny five petalled pink/white/yellow blooms yet to ID - those since July.

Today's range: 12-18.5 degrees C. At the time of our walk, just after 4 p.m. 16.9 degrees C, humidity 36%, winds very light and SSE, sky partly overcast.

Gazelle.. several noticed just after sunset between the north eastern most almond trees, moving to and fro and grazing, or perhaps taking fallen nuts. Hard to count in that light.. at least three, I think more and another one had moved off toward the east, possibly dipped down into a water course behind the cistern pine.

Hyrax. Active and chittering noisily in colony just below Shadiker (on north valley slopes)

Eurasian sparrowhawks : one flying south quite high over the east end of north valley in clear view, seems to be quite a regular path of return to roost. A little later as we approached the pumping station we noticed another raptor briefly glide south, probably another sparrowhawk or even could have been the same individual.

Great tits: scolding calls on north facing slopes, in pines, north valley.

Feral pigeons, heard cooing, and flock in flight over building. Laughing doves, some soft coos in the morning. Hooded crows.. again the crows have been foraging up on the hill crest to the north and head to east valley and hoodie hill towards roosting time. Blackbirds chakking towards sunset in the pines as usual, just by the pistaccio orchard, regular one there.
overhead earlier in the day

Yesterday we took son to look out corner hoping to catch the kingfisher. No sound of him then, nor today but a hoopoe was sitting up on top of a eucalyptus quite beautifully silhouetted. They are resident in Israel and so can be seen in winter though they are not as obvious as they are in spring and summer when their numbers are probably swelled by summer visitors and young. In the eucalyptus grove husband and son also noticed a bird flitting up from canopy and down again. I missed it but from description fitted spotted flycatcher.. we had observed at least one in that area last season.

Musical calls of white spectacled bulbuls in the garden earlier, as well as the usual house sparrows.

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