Thursday, January 15, 2009

More of the endless hawk/crow feud

We took about forty shots of the sparrowhawk and crow interacting. This last one shows the relative sizes quite well and the late afternoon sun glinting off their plumage. The hoodies' tail was fanned for most interactions and in some cases wings thrown well forward. The hawk's tail was mostly closed since it preferred to glide but occasionally more fanned.

Temperatures a little warmer today 8-14 degrees C, sky clear but for some faint high altitude strips altocumulus, winds blowing east/south east for much of the day (1-4.5 kt). Time of our walk, 13.6 degrees, humidity low at 10%, winds almost still.

We had no sooner left our building's entrance when I saw a hooded crow harassing a Eurasian sparrowhawk up above the road. It would probably be accurate to say there will be peace in Gaza before hostilities between hawks and crows cease.. they are endless. Their feud has been going for millions of years. We watched several minutes of harassment, the 'dogfight' drifting over Shadiker street, the crow being larger and generally more hostile, the hawk occasionally fighting back but generally dodging the attacks but making no significant efforts to get away. (Size isn't really an issue for crows though. They'll happily harass hawks much bigger than they are. ) At one point it dived dramatically a few score feet, then gained altitude again. After some time the crow gave up and went off to join its mates, the hawk glided away, quite nonchalant. Another sparrowhawk was seen flying over the end of Shadiker but no interaction between the two noticed.

Flocks of the local feral pigeons were aloft and wheeling about, between settling around roof railings and on solar boilers and the rim of a satellite dish. House sparrows also active earlier.
A group of hoodies flew over the same area a few minutes later.

Yesterday: White breasted kingfisher heard again in the eucalyptus by look-out corner and a male black redstart on the rebars of the bunker rubble. Blackbirds, chiffchaff contact calls, the latter today also.

Life always amazes me. I picked up a piece of foam mattress about two inches thick, felt a little resistance and heard a definite 'snap' , then noticed why. A shoot rooted in the ground had grown right through the dense foam and was already emerging in a bud on the upper surface. Reminded me of the famed bamboo torture! I gently pulled out the shoot and replanted it in a handy mole rat mound, for what it's worth, the snap had occurred about five inches farther down in the white upper part of the root. Perhaps it will be able to take root again. Several much smaller grass shoots were already burrowing their way into the foam from underneath.

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