Saturday, February 21, 2009

#375 A day of rain

A single almond blossom at dusk. Taken about a week ago by husband in the vale to the north.

We had rain almost continuously from friday night to the following saturday night, accompanied by much thunder and some hail, quite dramatic! This is part of the 'malkosh', the late winter rains and was great to wash away the weird weather we had on thursday. Apparently there was a country wide air pollution alert but the origin is as yet unknown to me. When we get fine dust from the deserts in the south the sky is usually tinted yellow but this was white, almost like a water mist as I mentioned then, but the humidity was too low to account for that. I was baffled then and would still like to know what it was! Still, the rain washed it all out and refreshed the air. Wonderful!

Today's range: 2.7 -6.3 degrees C. winds between westerly and southwesterly pretty much all day, between 9-25 kt, humidity 94-100%

Pretty much every water course we know about was flowing today and much of the south east quadrant of gazelle field was flooded over. Water in the north valley watercourse looked reddish/brown muddy from above, no doubt bringing much silt down from the quarry area.

Late afternoon the birds were eager to grab a scrap of foraging time between storm clouds and there was quite a bit of activity. Blackbirds were in song on and off most of the afternoon, laughing doves cooing, house sparrows active in the garden as well a white spectacled bulbul briefly and a sunbird heard calling too.

Walking along valley road we heard great tits in song, vocal graceful warblers, saw a small flock of finches fly over, saw Eurasian jay fly into the pines, a covey of chukar partridges foraging on the bank, heard jackdaws and saw a large flock of them over windsurfer hill, and hooded crows and feral pigeon were also aloft and active.

This morning husband took a walk down to the pumping station and noticed a buzzard Buteo on the ground not far beyond, on the western slopes close to the watercourse. It managed to get aloft without too much trouble, flew into a cypress but was harassed by hooded crows.

Mammals: Red Fox on thursday night coming down the bank from the buildings near the north loop of valley road. Today most hyraxes 'indoors' but we did see two of them, one belonging to the pump-house colony was startled by the partridges and probably figured it was a good idea to run in the same direction, another scampered across the road on our way back.

This evening after 10 p.m. we found a toad Bufo viridis, on valley road by the north loop.. no surprise in that! Great conditions for them.

This pic was taken in the east valley watercourse back on Feb 4th. I hadn't included them then since they were not open for I.D. but they still make an interesting shot, and still a mystery to me!

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