Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Across north valley

A view up north valley up towards the northwest. Meadow of mustard and red anemones below. You can see up the hill a hangar of pine trees, favoured passing place for gazelle, gives them shelter along the way.

A tiny praying mantis I found on the way down the path towards the valley. These are quite common but have such an alien look close up. Akiva's pic

My pic of ripe thorny burnet berries. Sarcopoterium spinosum, Sira kotzanit in Hebrew Don't they look succulent and good enough to eat? They're edible but rather tart to the tastebuds!

A caterpillar I found on a lily garlic type on the way up the hill. Similar to the presumed 6 spot burnet moth caterpillar but much hairier. By the way, Moshe reports his caterpillars are busy making cocoons and becoming chrysalises!

These purple jobs are still a mystery to me. If anyone can find an I.D. I'd appreciate it! They grow on plants that look like tiny green leafless trees 2 feet high or so, bearing many of these blooms, each barely 1 cm long counting stamens. Since the blooms tend to point downward I had to get on my back and try to focus up for these shots. They are so extraordinary in form I thought it was worth it and would help I.D.!

Read Elli's note in the comments, I think her I.D. is correct. Scrophularia peyronii, a kind of figwort. Thanks again, Elli:)

At least this mystery was resolved! I had at first thought, back when it was in bud, that this was a feral or relative of the garden pea based on the colours and size but I was way out! Moral, never try to guess the final form of a flower from a bud! We found many patches of these beauties up on the hill today and clearly the flower form is totally wrong for pea and not familiar to me. That sent me back to amend my previous blog entries and to my sources to get a proper I.D. Finally I found a satisfactory match: Hairy pink flax with the rather naughty sounding latin name of Linus pubescens. (Pishtah se'irah in Hebrew. Linen is pishtan and this is related to the plant from which we get linen, cultivated in this area for thousands of years )

We set out shortly before 6 p.m. ST , headed down to north valley, continued across the watercourse area then headed up the hill beyond, to the hidden watercourse and surrounds.

Gazelle: three seen ahead of us unless one seen twice, none were adult bucks

Birds: At least 3 big brown jobs, some kind of dark Buteo came in again over from the north and glided down into east valley towards sunset. One perched on a leafless tree near the bat cave for a while, giving a nice view.
Eurasian jays, quite vocal, some making a fuss for a while in the eucalyptus /acacia area of north valley but not sure what about. A hooded crow left the tree most of them were in, and after that they were quiet. Whether it was the hooded or whether all of them were fussing about something else, not clear.
European cuckoo heard not far from the bat cave about sunset. Common swifts aloft. Collared doves about. White spectacled bulbuls active in north valley. Chukar partridges heard chuckling.
In the garden: Sunbird calling a lot, house sparrows, several pairs of laughing doves in the street, blackbird singing on and off all day.

Weather: When we set out, temp was 14.2 degrees C, 68%, north westerlies, winds 4-6 knots, and sunny with scattered cloud. Today's range 7-16 degrees C.

Mystery pic solution for yesterday: Honeybee was right (again!) that it had some connection with lizards. It was actually a pic of the scales under the feet of a kind of gecko. Geckos are quite common in Israel and I welcome them about the house because they catch and eat mosquitoes! Their feet are able to walk on walls, even ceilings by specially adapted scales.

Now for your mystery pic. What the heck is this!? The horror!

Monday, March 30, 2009

East valley, stroll to the south.

Delaying those north valley pics for a later date since today we turned south for a change and again took another batch! Here's a view of the east valley dirt road just south of the pump station and bridge. We headed to a little memorial area just up west from the path where we found lots more Acanthus though none budding yet, plenty very nice common mallow, chamomile, catchfly and a variety of others.

The watercourse itself is just out of view to the left between the grassy bank and the trees. The yellow bushes are broom surrounding a smooth looking clump of Jerusalem spurge (Euphorbia) , and of course beyond by the roadside, the ubiquitous wild mustard. Lots of gazelle prints found along this road, made since last time it rained.

This beautiful blue flower was common by the higher valley road, (where the famous little owl lives). The plant itself stands about four feet high and the leaves are simple in shape, longer than wide, olive green and covered with coarse bristles. I don't have an I.D. yet. (Any of you plant enthusiasts are welcome to try to find it and let me know what you think, I welcome I.D. suggestions from readers.) We photographed this near the top of the hill to the north last season.

This handsome beetle was sitting on an umbellifer (Ainsworthia?) . Not sure what the beetle is either yet though most matches Mylabris filicornis, a kind of stink beetle- not entirely satisfied with this I.D. since proportions of thorax and of back markings weren't quite the same.

This chukar partridge was engaged in what seemed to be a very involved family argument with other partridges not far off, and was so busy clucking it was oblivious to my approach. I wasn't going to push it to closer than about 20 feet though, or I'd startle the lot, so I apologize for the quality of the pic.. not taken with telephoto lens!

What else was about? Common swifts, plenty hooded crows foraging as usual, jackdaws calling, Eurasian jays seen and heard in the pines, sunbird seen and heard in the gardens and by the snake path, collared doves but quiet, laughing doves and house sparrows about the gardens, finches - greenfinches? Graceful warblers active by valley roads, great tits,
Lark like song from bird perched up on a lamp post near the little owl's hangout.. largish passerine but lacked a crest. Woodlark? Lullula arborea Possibly on passage. Colouring and head markings about right for that but I.D. uncertain.

Husband pointed out head in a niche up on the bluff, we thought at first the little owl but soon realized it was actually a hyrax and I turned to take a pic, then, misadventure, dropped our brand new Bushnell binoculars, ack! They are usually around my neck but this time they were just gripped under my arm and the camera (for a change) was round my neck, so oops! Fortunately very little damage done but that is a classic way to ruin optics. Moral, always always use strap.

Here's the mystery photo of the day. Caveat.. I can't vouch for the colour, it's not one of my own pics and may not be true.. just to make it a little trickier:)
Honeybee got yesterday's, again! It was indeed the end of a Pierid butterfly antenna.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Weird and wonderful plants of the north valley

First.. please take a look back at the previous two entries again. I have added pics of what north gazelle field and the eucalyptus grove look like today so you can see the contrast between end of dry season and the effects of the rainy season.

I took so many pics today it was difficult to choose what to share with you first so I'm probably going to spread them out over the next few days. This is just a view of a little meadow by the north watercourse area facing back east. It's full of mustard and red anemone and many other flowers too small to see but you might make out more by clicking on it. As you see the wattle acacias are now in bloom adding their own hue of yellow. Their flowers below.

Plenty hooded crows active around. Not sure how many European cuckoos about, at least two because we heard them in East valley and in the woods north of north valley. Swifts aloft, greenfinches about, twittering and chawwing, blackbirds in the woods and singing in the garden on and off all day, laughing doves cooing and active about the street as well as, of course, feral pigeons and house sparrows. Collared doves just into the woods and graceful warblers. Sunbirds likely heard but not so obvious today.

Many people who have not heard a cuckoo have been fooled by the coo of the collared dove. I was wondering today if the collared dove are not sometimes fooled by the cuckoos! You wouldn't think they would be but on our way back when a cuckoo started up across north valley it was promptly answered by the coos of a collared dove up on the south slopes, which then flew down into a pine in the valley and appeared to be looking for that cuckoo! Too funny.

Gazelle, adult male intently following a female along a wooded part of the closer skyline to the north.

weather today (sunday) range: 5.5-12.5 degrees C. Time of our walk, about 6 p.m. ST , ~11 degrees C, humidity ~65%, winds W/NW 2-9 kt

Husband spotted this Arum Arum palaestinum (?) Luf in Hebrew, growing not far from the watercourse, another one I could not pass by! These extraordinary plants attract small flies to pollinate them by producing a smell of rotten meat. First of the season I've seen

I could not resist this newly emerging first of the season 'baby' bear's breeches (Acanthus) even though I unwittingly sat down on another set of Acanthus leaves close by to take it and was quite uncomfortable for a while after!

On our way back up noticed still quite a bit of Roman squill blooming together with cyclamen along with the later bloomers.

Honeybee got yesterday's mystery pic (at funtrivia.com where I also post this blog), It was indeed a Darkling beetle Adesmia, which has such interesting texture.

Mystery photo. This one had my boys perplexed and guessing for a while !

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Crows being bothersome as usual

Landscape pic for you, above taken early winter, (and some charring still evident from May. Here's where the north valley watercourse emerges out onto gazelle field and good place for gazelle grazing generally. Below taken today.. view rotated more towards the west but that's the same tree in the centre. You can see the change wrought by the rainy season! The dark patch (not the shadow, but by the wood) in the lower left quadrant was the scene of the mysterious fire a few weeks ago..

Tiny plant found up on west slopes of windsurfer hill a week or so ago.

(We don't take pics on Shabbat so I decided to share these that were in stock that I'm pretty sure you have not seen yet, since there was anyway a report to give and the myst pic)

Pleasant walk to gazelle field, circling north and east around the new pine grove to the north valley dirt road and back round to central trail. It was great to see how all of gazelle field had recovered from the charring and was abundantly green and colourful. Yellow mustard is there and also plentiful on the bank by valley road, still plenty anemone on all flat ground, buttercup, mini irises, pink butterfly orchid, chamomile, catchfly, pheasants eye and those tiny orange dandelions still going strong.

No gazelles noticed today but plenty bird activity. European cuckoo calling this morning down in east valley and again just after sunset, again from the direction of east valley ruins. Great spotted cuckoo (?) call roughly from orchard area, greenfinch variety of calls in pines by the rubble and in the new pines. Great tit calls and collared doves about. 'tack' calls in pines near valley road suggesed Sylvid warblers foraging in there, more Orpheans? ( Husband saw a chukar partridge at the end of nearby road, pretty much lowest part of our neighbourhood) also described another call he heard down there this morning, monotonous oop oop oop which matches the hoopoe, a bird that often calls on days of rain. (One has to be quite careful to sort out all the possible 'oo' type calls and how they vary in pitch or don't, so that cuckoos, collared doves, laughing doves and hoopoes don't get confused with each other. All were seen and or heard and active today, though the collareds were quiet.) Two hooded crows harrying a big brown Buteo like bird near the owl glade. Plenty hooded crows around in general, spread out flock heading back to roost towards dusk.

Several pair of laughing doves on our street as well as house sparrows and blackbirds putting up an angry ruckus at each other toward sunset. They have also been singing on and off through the day.

Weather for today, sat 28 March: Range 6.5-11 degrees C.
Time of our walk: ~ 6 p.m. (summertime, we have just moved our clocks forward and sunset is now shortly after 7 p.m. ) humidity approaching 80%, winds westerly and wsw 12-16 knots. Cumulus blowing in all day, rain on and off.

Today's mystery pic. Again, take a step back, and good luck!:) Yes, it's a natural texture, not man made, but I won't always let you know that:)

previous pic solution. Some of you were close on thursday's.. 'frog's eggs' and 'wet crocodile' on the way, but it was in fact part of the back of a wet green toad. Some of you may wish to scroll back to see the amplexus pic for a better view

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cuckoos and other drama

This landscape was taken at the beginning of winter, it's considerably greener and more colourful now! I had it in stock and wanted to give you an idea of the area and show the contrast.

The same eucalyptus grove today.. compare the colour of the ground! Not just grass but a variety of small plants including clover, pheasant's eye, bee orchids and many others. Click on it for best view.

Today we had a pleasant time roaming under the eucalyptus and cypress by the north valley watercourse. For a stretch the watercourse splits in two with a flat area between and this was rich with flowers today.. a riot of bright yellow mustard and red anemone and much smaller stuff.. beds of blue pimpernel, spreads of pheasants eye scattered like rubies, proud little stands of Carmel bee orchid and a variety of others including this tiny yellow clover like flower.

The above shows the leaves but worth zooming in a bit closer to really appreciate the blooms. The whole set of six blossoms is only about 1 cm across.

There was some brief drama on the ground amongst acacia and pines as two hooded crows viciously attacked a pair of great spotted cuckoos. The cuckoos dodged down to the ground and vanished from there, we don't know where they went but somehow they snuck off. The crows make up for being duped by the young brood parasites by trying to kill any adult they find and we have twice found remains to prove that. The other cuckoo, the European, is still in the area, calling again today about dusk somewhere near the ruins in east valley.

Crows did not intervene, however, when at least four big brown jobs glided down into the area from the north, appearing low over the ridge then sailing down into the east valley pines. Some kind of Buteo?, mostly patchy dark browns without obvious barring. They are probably on passage, on their way from Africa to Europe or central Asia to breed if so, interesting they came in from the north. They must have followed a circuitous route given the wind conditions, climbing over the rift valley on thermals then falling (with style) into our valley towards evening.

Chukar partridges were active and heard chuckling amongst the rocks along north valley, three gazelle spotted on the trail leading up to the pine hangar half way up the south facing slope.. a regular place for them to pass it seems. Females with well grown young, and several metres apart. There were also many hoof marks as well as feral dog prints along the trail we followed on our return, in earth softened by rain. Large smashed tortoise shell.. there was a small fist size rock right near it which made me wonder. Crows sometimes use tools, unless of course a local child was curious about the contents of a perished tortoise but certainly one would make good eating for a crow, but it would take some strength to break one unless enough decay had already set in. Some birds of prey are known to drop tortoises onto rocks.

Laughing dove and feral pigeon active around the buildings, house sparrows, sunbirds and White spectacled bulbuls in the gardens. Syrian woodpecker heard in the valley as well as Eurasian jays and collared doves. Again a shrill complex call at dusk in centre of east valley but whatever it was was concealed by darkening pines, and again I wonder if it's a hobby back, but awaiting confirmation. After that, the stone curlews started up their warbling dusk calls around the outskirts of the forest.

Weather was quite a bit warmer than yesterday: 7.5 to 16 degrees C, At about 5 p.m. start of our walk, ~ 13.5 degrees, 43% humidity, W and NW for most of the afternoon and evening, (the hawks used those north westerlies to ride in) , south westerlies in the morning, (those the hawks would have been using those most of the day to make progress- they know what they're doing, they've had a lot of experience over the eons!)

Leaves of a very nice acacia found half way up on the south facing slopes of north valley. The ground beneath was flat and clear and would make a really nice place to pitch tents.

Mystery pic of the day. Again, you'll want to back up about a metre to see this properly.

Yesterday's mystery pic.. you'll kick yourselves! Remember our local forest is chiefly Aleppo Pine? Yes, old dead pine needles on the ground! Take another look and you'll say, 'of course!' If you look at one of the closest to the ground toward the bottom right you can see where the two needles join at the base.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Flowers and fields

I found this peculiar little pink job growing in the south part of gazelle field amongst all the other little floral. Easy to I.D. it turned out to be Silene aegyptiaca, the Egyptian campion. (Akiva)

Two gorgeous corn poppies Papaver subpiriforme, growing by dirt road near the east watercourse. Moshe found more on the gazelle field, now the boys know how to tell them from the anemones. Akiva

In response to an earlier request, developed star clover! We took a pic of a pinkish group last season but this is a close up of a fresh green one.

Today the boys came with us to gazelle field to gather foliage for their caterpillars, which are apparently developing nicely! Thorny burnet for the 'mohawks', orange dandelion for the presumed 6 spot (they like munching the flowers) and other appropriate vegetation.

Moshe noticed a couple of gazelle moving east behind the line of almond trees, following the course of the north valley water channel.

Bird life quiet compared with yesterday. European cuckoo calling again somewhere near the mid east valley ruins at sunset. Called half a dozen times then was silent. Boys missed it so they insisted on waiting there till it called again. Collared dove glimpsed but not cooing. Laughing dove cooing in the garden at 4.30 a.m. (and again later).. my bedside light could have confused it that early! Feral pigeons noticed also cooing and going into strutting and show off routine in the eaves of a building. Blackbirds singing on and off all day in garden and woods. Sunbirds very active and vocal in the cape honeysuckle. Jackdaws calling over to the east. Eurasian jays, hooded crows and chukar partridges also active. Moshe spotted a Eurasian sparrowhawk heading south over the east valley woods and we also heard a shrill complex call from somewhere south of us- perhaps a hobby back, but not a typical call. Too high and shrill for great spotted cuckoo or kingfisher.

Weather cool, more rain fell last night but despite many pools along the watercourses, very little flow while we were down there though of course the cisterns by the large pine are full. Much cumulus rolling in from the west still but ground level winds very light.

I confess I was quite unfair with my mystery pic, though I did warn you! :) I was quite impressed at the compound eye guess but I was deliberately misleading you. It is in fact a man made object- possibly the largest glitter ball in the world, now perched on Blackpool promenade England! Now you know that I will occasionally try to confuse you with man made objects, Check it out

Today's mystery pic:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rainy day

This is a shot of the plant we found yesterday on windsurfer hill at about the tree line that looks just Nonea obtusifolia but very tiny version and growing straight up from the ground on stalks rather than flush low, and leaves smaller and unspotted. Note also tiny pink buds.

Positively I.D.d by reader Ellie as Buglossoides tenuiflora , thanks Ellie:)

Flowers of a small purple vetch clambering over thorny burnet, grass or anything.

Growing close to the east valley watercourse. Hard to see if the white is blooms or invasion of some kind of scale insect or something. Tiny but obvious and all over the plant.

Much cooler today. Today's temp range: 4-8.5 degrees C, Time of walk ~ 5 p.m. ~ 8 degrees C, humidity ~90%, winds westerly ~ 15 kt. Raining on and off over the last 24 hours though no thunder heard. Rain so cold some sleet visible in it. All water channels in east valley flowing, which meant a good bit of jumping by look-out corner!

No hyrax or gazelle seen but feral dogs about. Birds quite active late afternoon. Swifts seen and heard over east gazelle field, flock of jackdaws over Hizmeh to the east, hooded crows foraging in a group on east gazelle field, chukar partridge heard. Greenfinches about in pines by valley road, warbler noticed foraging in a pine, from what I could make out, chiffchaff. Collared dove in pines by bunker but quiet today, house sparrows and laughing doves on the street. Blackbirds singing on and off all day in gardens and woods, graceful warblers and great tits active and vocal though latter not singing.

Blooming: more milk thistle, wild mustard, viper's bugloss, a few more corn poppies by lower east valley trail, magnificent red crepe texture but bobbing too much in the wind to photograph, tiny purple vetches,

This is rock from which we took the mystery yellow lichen pic yesterday. Spider taken by Moshe.

And now for something completely different: Any ideas what this might be?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Iris, delights and another mystery pic

These pics show the range of iris colour visible on the hillside now. They're all over the midslopes of windsurfer and north hill now, below and some metres above the tree line. I think they're all Vartan's Iris and I'm not sure (unless I actually follow one the whole way through) but it seems they, or at least some of them start off deep in colour and then become paler as they develop. Some looked even more washed out

Quiet in terms of birds today. Somewhat overcast with a taste of dust in the air. Stone curlews at dusk, blackbird song on and off through the day including the garden, quite intense sunbird activity in the Bauhinia this morning, laughing doves and house sparrows in the street, Eurasian jay briefly spotted in the woods, chukar partridge heard, swifts heard over bat cave area about sunset. Hooded crows heading home to roost.

Weather: Time of walk: ~ 5 p.m. temp ~18 degrees C humidity 30% and rising rapidly, winds south and south easterly, light, much of the day, veering to west after 5 p.m. Range: 21 + falling to 6 degrees C as cooler damper air arrived over the evening.

These lily/garlic types were quite plentiful on the west facing slopes of windsurfer hill (yesterday) but I did not see any on the south facing slopes of the north hill today

What would a blog entry be without a caterpillar? Moshe's pic but found by YT on south facing slope of north hills today. It seemed everywhere I stopped today I saw some caterpillar- the super hairy ones on the burnet, (Moshe calls them 'Mohawks' now), the 'brown bear' (the one we photographed in gazelle field last week), the 'red striped green' and this cute little chocolate colour job. No burnet moth caterpillars seen today though.

Alcea acaulis Stemless hollyhock, found on south facing hillside today (and also close to the watercourse last wednesday) One of my favourite members of the mallow family for its lushness. Flowers almost at ground level. Lots of common mallow also blooming now, colour less intense than these. Akiva

And now the solution of yesterday's mystery! Another great 'bug' shot from Moshe. A grown bush cricket Isophya but haven't found which exact species.. (family Tettigoniidae) so all those who said 'caterpillar' had a feel for it! 'Cricket' or 'grasshopper' would have been good enough for a score but better luck next time:) I zoomed in on those neat markings just at the beginning of the abdomen.

Any ideas? NOT an unwashed breakfast plate!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pits and hillsides

Knee high view from mid slopes of windsurfer hill, looking north over burnet and broom. Ahead are the hills where the bachelor gazelle herd roams, the pines of east valley in centre, left you can see the lower part of our neighbourhood and the bank between the buildings and valley road.

1st six spot burnet moth Zygaena we've seen this season, found near south end of gazelle field on wild mustard by Moshe, photographed by Akiva.

Knapweed/Centaurea type, found blooming near the buildings, first I've seen this season. Akiva

Thanks to reader Elli, this has been positively IDd as Crupina crupinastrum, False saw-wort, Dardarit metzuyah

Today Moshe wanted to take us to another cave he'd found with Aharon, on the side of windsurfer hill, under the cypress on towards the chukar path. This was also covered with a huge boulder but just room to climb down into. Someone had considerately painted 'danger, fall' on the boulder and we could see with the flashlight it was unfortunately way too deep inside for the rope we'd brought along. Of course, this intrigues us all the more for the future! We don't want to take any chances and would not tackle such a place without adequate equipment so with a sigh we moved on up the hill.

Predominant flowers up there now are buttercups and the miniature iris with still much Jerusalem spurge and butterfly orchid. The thorny burnets are acquiring a bloom of pink as their tiny berries ripen. Another kind of white lily was found and a tiny blue flower that looks just like Nonea obtusifolia (monkwort) but much smaller and with narrower, spotless leaves. Red anemones looked wasted and asphodel also finishing up their season but still a variety of geranium types blooming nicely, chamomile and some Malcolmia, and the blue/purple cress.

A lark was singing up on the hill, probably crested. A flock of jackdaws was also about but much diminished in size, perhaps now the breeding couple have left it it and dispersed. Hooded crows also heard. Blackbirds singing on and off throughout the day, sunbird 'ttack'ing and squeaking in the Bauhinia much of the day. White spectacled bulbuls, great tits and graceful warblers also heard as well as stone curlews as darkness fell. Chukar partridges seen here and there on the hillside. Laughing dove pairs seen on the street as well as house sparrows, collared doves heard cooing in the woods, great spotted cuckoo heard.

Weather: 6-17 degrees C. Time of walk: about 5 p.m. just over 16 degrees, humidity ~30%, winds light WSW though had been easterlies in the morning.

The wild cat eye was that of a leopard, in this case Persian leopard, Panthera pardus saxicolor. Admit it, you knew I was going to find some excuse to bring this beauty:) (Moshe's pic) The leopards have been gone for decades from the north of the country but a small population of P.p. nimr hangs on in the desert in the south.
Check out this story:

Today's mystery pic. You might want to back up about a metre from the screen to see it better.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Another riddle pic, riddle answer and gen obs.

Riddle answer - young male mandrill baboon face:) (no rear end at all!) Yes, baboon fossils have been found in Israel though not sure if mandrills lived here. Yes it was a bit tricky. I deliberately did not give you the adult male as his bright red and blue face colour might give the game away! This one was very friendly and tried to kiss the boys! Next riddle pic at the foot of the page.

Today we had a number of small Sylvia warblers foraging in the willow and Bauhinia for much of the day. I was hearing their 'tik' contact calls incessantly, no idea how many, they seemed to be all over the trees. One I could make out fairly well looked like Orphean warbler, S. hortensis. Black colouring on head came down to just below his eye and no obvious red eye ring, (that a Sardinian warbler would have) Orpheans are common passage migrants here this time of year so this I.D. very reasonable. Whitethroats may also have been involved.

Sunbirds, house sparrows and laughing doves were also using the tree today, blackbirds and white spectacled bulbuls also visited.

In the woods, greenfinches and Syrian woodpeckers calling, some kind of Buteo being mobbed by a hooded crow over north end of gazelle field. Another large brown job glimpsed low over owl glade which may have been a Buteo or a long eared owl, but too brief to be sure. Stone curlews heard calling last couple of evenings. Great tits and graceful warblers active and vocal, collared doves cooing. Gazelle and hyrax not seen active last couple of days, damp.
Swifts heard screeching over east valley. Great spotted cuckoo heard in east valley somewhere.

First poppy today! Near the east valley bridge close to watercourse. Nearly missed it since size and colour so similar to the red anemone but did double take, four petals and the 'shower head' like central parts different from the dark cone of the anemone. Nice big one, most probably Papaver subpiriforme, had nice edged black blotch on petal base. Checked the anemones still blooming but no other poppies.

Some white milk thistle blooms out, plenty mustard, forked catchfly, dead nettle, viper's bugloss, broom and butterfly orchid.

Weather : 6 degrees to just over 15 degrees, time of walk ( approaching 5 p.m. just over 12 degrees C, humidity ~ 70%, winds westerly 4-8 knots

A plant bug Moshe wishes to share with you.. yes a genuine bug. Most arthropods are technically not bugs but this qualifies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemiptera

I just threw in this Syrian bear from tuesday's pics because he's cute!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Brown_Bear. Bears are called Dov in Hebrew and the most famous mention in the Bible is a pair of she bears that attacked some youths that were mocking the prophet Elisha. Whether one chooses to believe that story or not, there were definitely bears in the woods here in those days!

Now what is this? A little easier perhaps and CAN be found in Israel, if you're very lucky!