Sunday, January 18, 2009

Peaceful bucks

Not the greatest shot but the two bucks were across the valley near the bat cave, the pic had to be zoomed and cropped, pretty much out of range. Still, you can make them both out, the white tail markings on the one on the right and his horns, and the dark flank marking on the buck on the left. He's gazing back at us, alert but not afraid.

Temp: just under 11 degrees C, 86% humidity on our walk. Much cumulus and cumulonimbus in the sky though half clear. Winds westerly, blowing also southwesterly to north west and nnw today.

Today we took Moshe, our 13 year old son, with us as a 'class' so to speak in wildlife, environmental issues and just lovely fresh air. I love to familiarize him with the trees (pine= oren, cypress=brosh as well as pistaccio, acacia and olive, and flowering plants in season the first blooming asphodel and savyon as well as crocuses well advanced in their season. He in fact found us the first crocus of the tour. Most have now finished on the north facing slopes of north valley but he found one right by the trail. We also found the yellow low broom like plant still in flower though all the ragwort type had gone to seed. A wide variety of vegetation is sprouting up all over the forest especially where water has drained, and fresh erosion obvious in a number of the waterways from fast draining rain. I also wanted to show him where we'd seen the fox at the head of valley road. He also helped us clean up a patch by the east valley water course.

We spotted two gazelle (above) which ran from the new pine grove area across the alluvial flats planted with eucalyptus and on up into the pine across the valley just west of the bat cave. They turned out to be two adult males, both with beautiful well formed horns curved like the frame of a lyre. They were clearly companions.. no signs of aggression, rutting or rival like behaviour at all. They were moving together quite peacefully. Moshe wondered if they were brothers. Possibly.

He was also delighted to spot a Eurasian Sparrowhawk flying over valley road up towards the south west with quick wing beats. At first he didn't realize what it was till we discussed the identification pointers. Hyrax were all 'indoors' today but blackbirds and Eurasian jay were active, the forming both 'chak chak' and 'tzeet' call.

Cistern clean-out is being done by a group of teenage boys apparently, today they were hard at work digging a big hole next to the cistern. I'm sure their project will reveal itself in the course of time.

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