Monday, January 5, 2009

Rockpools and cisterns

Savyon, probably Senecio vernalis, growing in the east valley watercourse near look-out corner. Quite a few others spotted today as well as purple crocuses, and, in the middle of gazelle field , a pure white crocus bud about 2.5 cm long, just about to open.

Today's range: 6.75-12.5 degrees C. Time of walk: just after 4 p.m. ~12 degrees, humidity ~ 57%, winds easterly, almost still. Sunny, clear again, nice view of Jordan across the rift valley.

Hooded crows aloft, jackdaws heard much of the afternoon as well as the crows, and house sparrows.

The white breasted kingfisher was there again today, three days running now! We were already half way along east valley trail, between the cistern and the pump-station at dusk, when we stopped to listen.. husband thought he'd heard chukars. We heard various blackbird alarm calls and then the kingfisher sounding back towards look out corner. When we got up to valley road we heard it again but sounded farther to the south, perhaps in the other group of eucalyptus along the trail.

Eurasian jays about, the regular syrian woodpecker in the pine grove just east of the cistern called again. Seems someone has been working on the large cistern, cleaning it out. Great! Wonder why? Is this the city or a private individual? Rubbish and a couple of tires have been taken out .. tires are nearby but rubbish taken elsewhere, stones transferred to the other smaller cistern. We shall see...

No gazelle today but we did watch a lone large black dog, romping about on the slopes of the hill to the north. Looked like he might have some Doberman in him but tail not docked. Neither was it over his back like the usual local feral dogs. Looked like he was just enjoying himself, running and sniffing about. We don't remember ever seeing him before.

From the bunker rubble we decided to do a circuit of the gazelle field. The water course by the large almond tree is a delight to me. I love descending into these like a kid rock pooling on a beach, the more rugged and irregular the better. There were little pools left here and there and it's always fascinating to see what might be growing by the water side or living in the water itself. Plenty foliage of all sorts of miscellaneous plants, cranesbill types and others, but too deep in winter for anything in the water itself. It's partly walled each side with natural rock and some amount of ancient dry stone walling.

Presently I climbed out by the hawthorn and we continued on to the row of almonds, noting asphodel shoots everywhere amongst others. A black redstart was found bobbing and foraging in one of the hawthorns, hard to make out in there but once he descended to the dry stone wall I could see the thin white lines on his dark wings and know for sure. There was a hoopoe on top of a eucalyptus at look out corner yet again.

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