Sunday, February 22, 2009

#376 Mallow in bloom

The beautiful common plant (French) Mallow Malva nicaeensis is just starting to bloom now. Its leaves have been coming up nicely for the past few weeks, each the shape and size of like large spread webbed hands, (lobed, dentate)

It's called in Hebrew 'Helmit metzuyah חלמית מצויה from the word 'le'hem' meaning 'bread' because its leaves are edible (fried, boiled or in a salad), as are it's seedpods, one of those beneficial wild plants along with the wild mustards and others and great because it's so common. We can safely give these leaves to tortoises, iguanas and the like without concern of insecticides.

Today we were fortunate enough to see two very nice 'big jobs', the first was a buzzard again on the ground under the trees just south of the sapling area- this time I caught a glimpse of its almost chestnut brown upper wing plumage and could see it was a long legged buzzard Buteo rufinus, and very likely the same Buteo husband saw in the same area yesterday.

The second was a long eared owl Asio otus that flew just a few feet near Moshe's head as we approached the owl glade, a clearing along central trail. We called it that because we'd had glimpses of these owls in this area before and we're very happy it's still hanging out here. Moshe marvelled at its total silence at such close range.

Gazelle, female, noticed up on the east slope from the lower east valley trail.. she headed up to the tree line quite quickly to emerge out onto east field and the lower slopes of windsurfer hill.

Hyrax: some active by valley road on the bank.

Birds: Hooded crows about, great tit calls, feral pigeons on and between tops of buildings, blackbird, much beautiful song, sunbird calling in the cape honeysuckle, some laughing dove cooing.

Moshe spotted a beautiful pink/purple tinted Malcolmia and a small pheasant's eye, Adonis microcarpa a red flower of the buttercup family with frond like leaves, both in the middle of gazelle field. Latter unfortunately not open enough for a photo.

Sunday Feb 22: Temp range: 4.6-7.6 degrees C. winds W to SW all day.

Time of walk: 4.30 p.m. temp. 6.8 degrees C., 93% humidity, 8.7 kt.

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