Saturday, January 17, 2009

Miscellaneous observations

These nice shiny photogenic leaves were sprouting amongst the rocks on the north valley north facing hill slope we're working on. Husband saw them and couldn't resist, and I don't blame him, they're quite gorgeous. Not sure what they are yet but if/when we find out I'll post a note.

Checking out my Uzi Paz's book of birds in Israel, discovered why we've been seeing so many Eurasian sparrowhawks. I should have guessed! The resident population is swelled by wintering birds. Sparrowhawks from Asia come here for the winter and will head up north again in spring. This happens every year and nice to know! Our frequent sightings make much more sense now.

What else? That wonderful thrush the blackbird has been singing and active in the garden the last couple of days, house sparrows have been chirping as usual, feral pigeons about the building tops. Sunbird keeping a low profile, it has been rather chill for them. Chaffinches heard and spotted on tops of cypress in the valley today. White breasted kingfisher heard somewhere in the middle of east valley late afternoon. Stone curlew warble heard from the north of the area just after dark. Jackdaws heard and flock seen boiling up from the top of windsurfer hill. Hooded crows about. Did I mention the black redstart by the rubble last thursday?

Forgot to mention two gazelle spotted in east valley on thursday. As we headed towards the pumping station along the lowest trail we saw them cross the trail and enter the woods, a little north of the sapling field. Looked like two immature individuals. Today lots of hyrax activity along valley road late afternoon. The damp hadn't put them off at all, they were out and active in droves all over cypress slum area, the rocks immediately to the east of valley road and scampering over the road itself when one called an alarm.

It's been raining on and off most of today with some thunder this evening. Range today: just over 9-14 degrees C, winds SW-W-NW 2-18 kt, humidity 65%-100%

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