Thursday, February 19, 2009

Back to the secret valley

Spiny broom, Calicotome villosa blooming in many places on the slopes of north valley.
Pic taken late last week by Moshe but seen also today

A grasshopper type, found in the hidden watercourse and taken by Avremi today

A geranium type, taken by Moshe last week, also seen today.

Ground beetle: found on the hillside and pic taken both by Moshe, today.

Moshe was totally delighted by the rock scrambling ops up in the 'secret valley' and was keen to get back there today. It's really not actually a valley but a watercourse hidden between the flint stones ridge and the gazelle arena ridge which only flows in and after heavy rain, but has every feature of a typical mountain brook and is a pleasure for geologists, botanists.. and also for zoologists such as myself because it's a great place for a variety of arthropods, reptiles and other wildlife.

We saw the first butterfly we've seen this season in the pine woods near valley road, a white predictably, as well as a ground beetle on the hill side and a nice grasshopper type with red markings under the legs in the hidden watercourse.

Birds included a pair of chukar partridges under the pines, calls of stone curlew just after it got dark, sunbird song and calls in the garden, graceful warblers vocal near valley road, Eurasian jays and hooded crows about, small groups of finches, greenfinches? didn't get good views. House sparrows,

Weather, rather overcast, visibility poor, appeared misty though humidity only 37% but we could barely see Hizmeh. Airborne particles? Surprising given wind in the west since early afternoon, 8.7 kt. Temp. at time of our walk just over 15 degrees C and falling, range today:
8.5-17 degrees C.

Seen in bloom: asphodel, roman squill, geranium types, golden drop, thorny burnet, spiny broom, red anemone, geranium types.

Almost forgot! Gazelle male and female seen up on the hillside beyond the hidden watercourse, this time a female following an adult buck for a change. My eldest son, Aharon, reported much hyrax activity up at the quarry.

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