Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gazelle activity and more Cap'n Jack

Gazelles today: 7 or 9. As we came east along north valley trail (after some work on the storm drain garbage patches) we spotted a nice little group of four in the young pine grove, grazing and making their way steadily towards gazelle field. Females and young. One I could see had very short but definite horns, perhaps a young male. Horns on the others not visible but in a pine forest the very slender horns of an adult female can be all but invisible. They first ran across the path ahead of us, coming from the west, then walked and grazed in the pines about 100 ft away, then trotted out onto gazelle field. A short while later we noticed three more over by the cistern, appeared to be a female and well grown young followed by an adult buck. They grazed around the pomegranate trees for a while, then made their way into the eucalyptus grove in the direction of east field. Then we saw two more passing across gazelle field but those could have been two of the first four we saw.

What else? Towards dusk a Eurasian sparrowhawk flew north south from gazelle field over east valley. Earlier, at about 4 p.m. husband had seen one over our road just before I came out.
Blackbirds 'tzeet calls' and chakking in the pine grove behind look out corner and further south, near the sapling field. No kingfisher. Plenty contact calls from small birds concealed in the pines, redstarts, chiffchaffs, small finches, but being frustratingly elusive, pine needles and cypress boughs provide very good cover!

Plenty feral pigeons about, ranged around the tops of roofs in the neighbourhood as usual. White spectacled bulbul in the garden mid afternoon as well as house sparrows, calls of more distant jackdaws. Not a peep from white wagtails or sunbirds but still definitely a more bird active day than yesterday.

Much hooded crow calling around the pump station around dusk, various calls, a whole pre roost conversation going on.. wish I knew what information carried by all the different combinations of 'groks' and 'graws' they do, but definitely seems to be a simple language. They were heading off to their tree roost in east valley in dribs and drabs.

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