Saturday, February 7, 2009

First cuckoo and other delights

This beautiful member of the pea family has been blooming pretty much non stop all winter along the sides of valley road.

Gazelles: Moshe told us he saw a good size group of gazelle earlier in the day with Aharon, his older brother.. not sure of the number as they were on the move, but 10 or so. North gazelle field/hill area.
hyrax: plenty active along valley road, one mature individual was at least 20 feet up a cypress!
reptiles: Moshe noticed at least two tortoises. Today a group of children came to our door having also found a tortoise and asking advice on how to keep it. Moshe advised them to return it to where they found it if they don't have a garden, (most of our neighbours don't as they live in upper floors of the apartment buildings) otherwise let it roam the garden and feed it on salad vegetables such as lettuce.

Bird of the day today was great spotted cuckoo Clamator glandarius call from somewhere in the pines just north of central trail. Now the crows are about to start breeding they're back and ready to take advantage! check out:
At first I took it for a variation of kingfisher call but was not happy with that.. it took me a little while to realize what I was hearing since I hadn't heard that call in months! I checked with Uzi Paz and they are known to arrive this early.
White wagtail: heard briefly at best.
House sparrows:heard in the garden all day.
laughing doves: Heard in the garden, cooing.
Hooded crows: heard and seen around.. This year's breeding birds are scattered through the forest now, claiming tall trees for their nesting sites. Non breeders flocking as usual up on windsurfer hill.
Jackdaws: flock 100+ very vocal and active between Hizmeh and windsurfer hill.
Jays: relatively quiet today.
Feral pigeons: about the tops of buildings
some small bands of roaming finches about, hard to tell what in flight.
Blackbirds: song starting almost 4.30 p.m. near the house, tzeet alarm and chakchak heard many times.
Chukar partridges: calls heard down in the pines north valley somewhere.
Stone curlews: heard from the house late friday night from direction of east gazelle field.
Sunbirds: melodious calls from cape honeysuckle as early as 6.30 a.m.
Graceful warblers:calls heard in cape honeysuckle and around much of the day.
Syrian woodpeckers: some calls, some light drumming heard.
Bulbuls: calls in the garden.
Great tits:some calls, full song heard briefly from garden/s nearby early afternoon.

Weather for Saturday 7 Feb: temp range: 8.75 - just over 16 degrees C. Time of walk (~4.30 p.m.): ~14.5 degrees C, 65% humidity, winds westerly 1-4 knots.

This pic was actually taken in November but better late than never! Another nice example of the tenacity of life. It seems to be growing out of the bare rock but I'm sure it's utilizing some tiny crevice or hole to take root. The leaves are succulent with a peach like almost hairy surface.
both pics taken by Akiva, (husband). More of Moshe's soon, I promise!

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