Saturday, January 24, 2009

Weekend sightings

The first Gold Drop Podonosma orientalis (last thursday near the 'bbq patches from hell' )

Friday didn't go out but heard some birds from the house: house sparrows and blackbird in the garden, jackdaws farther off, graceful warbler foraging in the cape honeysuckle in the entrance way and senegal dove cooing somewhere nearby.

Today, Saturday: Just took a walk along valley road today shortly after four. Husband has sore foot so we're resting that.

We did see two Eurasian sparrowhawks, one heading over valley road, over the pumping station and the western slopes of east valley, as the other day, heading to his regular roost no doubt. Returning home about sunset we saw another one over Shadiker street again. Great tits were calling in the acacias on the bank and one little bird on top of an eruv pole, bobbed and flicked, then headed over by or near an acacia. I could not really make it out because it was mostly in silhouette but from it's movements I'd say it was a black redstart though European robins have a very similar jizz. A Syrian woodpecker was calling right in back of the buildings- they tend to go for the poles there. Then we saw it fly down into east valley.

A nice size flock of jackdaws and hooded crows boiled up from windsurfer hill at one point, close to sunset.. the jackdaws calling away, the hoodies quiet. It was really two flocks intermingling in the air, keeping with their own but the weaving about with the other.. someone up there had alarmed them apparently. I didn't get a count, they were crisscrossing so much but well over 100- not a huge flock as far as birds are concerned but looked larger because of the size of the birds themselves. Some Feral pigeons seen aloft and white spectacled bulbuls heard, melodious single calls in the vegetation on the bank. Blackbird heard singing in the pines shortly after sunset.

Laughing doves cooing and house sparrows about the gardens again. Stone curlew at dusk from east of north valley? Brief call.

That low yellow broom like plant is still blooming along the sides of valley road. I noticed some plants bear blooms have fine orange lines on the flower like a Lathyrus flower, others are pure yellow but the dark foliage seems the same in both cases. Stalks quite densely leafed with simple, slightly elongated hairy leaves. Two species or not?

weather today: 7.5-11.5 degrees C, at shortly after 4 p.m. ~11 degrees, 65% humidity, 4-6 knots, westerlies veering round to southerlies and back.

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