Thursday, January 1, 2009

Coldest day so far

Today's range 2.7-5.7 degrees C. Forecast said it may reach 0 degrees tonight.

Brrr! When we went out it was just over 4 degrees and I was glad I'd put on an extra chunky sweater under my jacket, (extra in both senses of the word) , as in fact I've been doing last week or so but thinking of moving to quilted coat on next walk. When we went out sky was totally clear and Jordan visible across the rift valley in the distance, lit by the afternoon sun. Boys were naturally disappointed no clouds in sight (they're hoping for snow) but given these westerlies more could blow in and there has been plenty rain yesteray and last night. East valley stream ran yesterday but not today.

Wind NW/N 4-14 knots though light in the valley, humidity ~ 65% and rising.

After seeing that green lichen I'd asked myself, where's the moss? Not much to be found in the forest, except perhaps base of boulders but must watch out for that, but we did find a nice expanse of it growing on the bare ground at the top of the north facing slopes of north valley today. This above is just a small patch of that.

From the house could hear house sparrows and white spectacled bulbuls in the garden and white wagtails and hooded crows farther off. Husband was working in his home office all morning and the cape honeysuckle is right outside his window there but not a peep from the sunbirds today. Perhaps they're in a torpor from the cold, semi hibernating the way hummingbirds do.

At the neighbourhood shopping center today (at the top of the hill) he did get a good view of a common kestrel in flight and heard Tristram's grackles late morning. The kestrels favour some multistorey apartment buildings up there. Pigeons and doves keeping a low profile.

Valley was very quiet but for some probable chiffchaff calls and Syrian woodpecker calls in the pine grove just east of the cistern. Stonechat up on the security fence? Hard to tell, silhouetted. Eurasian jays about and hoodies heading to roost. Blackbird alarm at dusk, at least two individuals near the pistaccio orchard.
Did good clean up work, moved a nice little load today, more plastic bottles for the recyclers and also very happy that there's now a local repository for glass bottles finally.

Two Eurasian sparrowhawks yesterday over east end of central trail area, brief interaction? Didn't see details, we just looked up when they were already splitting, then headed in different directions.. territorial boundary about there? Possible.

later this evening (thursday, 10.30 p.m.) on our walk in the valley we had a good sighting of a fox (red fox, Vulpes vulpes, though we couldn't make out any colouring but could see much white at the end of its tail) as we came back up valley road. It crossed the top of valley road next to a tiny synagogue just a few metres ahead of us and on up a bank towards a small school, no doubt looking for crumbs left behind by the kids that day. We stayed still while it sniffed around for a few minutes, then finally noticed us and made its way across the end of Elias to a spare patch of ground at the top of the bank. There it turned and stared at us for maybe ten seconds before heading off for the bank at a trot.

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