Sunday, December 28, 2008

young hyraxes and other wildlife

Sun 4.15 p.m. temp. ~12.5 degrees C., (range today: 7-13 degrees C) ~50% humidity, winds southeasterly blowing up to 2 kt.

Another quiet day. Husband came home down one of the local 'snake paths', bricked paths between levels (this whole neighbourhood is built on a hillside) bordered by a variety of ornamental bushes and shrubs such as blue Phlox & Lantana camara, as well as rosemary, lavender, lemon geranium and many others. These snake paths with their shrubberies are very good places for sunbirds, blackbirds, bulbuls and small jobs such as graceful warblers which he saw today, and often good romping grounds for hyraxes. They're also great for insect life especially butterflies, hummingbird hawkmoths and the like. There were plenty hyraxes there today around 4 p.m. , probably from the nearby pumphouse colony, including lots of young ones, busy in cypresses nibbling away.

In the garden, quite a few melodious calls of white spectacled bulbuls and the usual chipping of house sparrows.

In the valley we found no gazelle but did find their hoofprints in the soft earth near the eastern watercourse crossing. This is a natural path and would be the place they cross from their almond tree grazing to the pine grove and probably were made by that group yesterday if not since. Light purple crocuses still in bloom in many places.

A Syrian woodpecker called in the pine grove and various small jobs were active in the almonds and the pines but managed to elude good view. Probably chiffchaffs and other small insect eaters. Blackbird called around dusk as usual. A few hooded crows on their way home, jackdaws quiet today, must be foraging somewhere else. Feral pigeons keeping a low profile, one sitting on top of a solar boiler, wonder if that keeps it warm? Seems a favoured location, I've noticed pigeons squatting on those many times. Where do the laughing doves stay when they're not out foraging for crumbs? Eaves of local buildings including the nearby store, and local gardens probably. They stay paired over the winter though the pairs band together to make small flocks.

Little owl Athene noctua heard up south west of the pumping station at dusk, probably the famous one on that road up there.

Forgot to mention a Eurasian sparrowhawk, nice view, flying over yesterday, not high, a local.

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