Sunday, March 8, 2009

Brief hot spell and more spring blooms

We took a walk down into the north valley today, a rather leisurely stroll checking out new flowers and admiring the red anemones which must be at their peak now or approaching it. Red anemones are called calanit in Hebrew, (say 'calaneet' with the accent on the 'eet' )

These eye catching little orchids were growing along the north valley trail and are a new one for me! I don't think they're rare, I just had not found them before. I I.D.d them as Ophrys carmeli, the Carmel Bee orchid though they look paler than those in pics I see online, could be either because the flower is not yet fully developed, a regional variation or a closely related species or subspecies. Markings match though and you can use your imagination but to me they look like little toy teddy bears or little masks.

First iris I've seen this season, there were several blooming on the north facing slopes and by the path. Resembles most Histrio or Vartan's iris. It's one of the smaller irises, unlike the gorgeous large Galilean species but still quite beautiful.

These pretty blooms reminded me of primroses but have not yet found I.D. Also growing right by the north trail.

I also found some beautiful tiny purple vetches and a curious flower that looks like a long yellow tube, similar to those of tree tobacco, but the leaves are like shamrock and in cushions on the ground.

Paronychia argentea Silver nailroot/Whitlow wort also found blooming lately by valley road and other places. These we photographed last season.. it's a ground hugging silvery plant with tiny blooms though quite beautiful.

Collared doves were cooing especially over in the newer pines by gazelle field, and laughing doves in the garden trees. Blackbird started up at about 5.30 a.m. loudly and sweetly but no blackcap for the past couple of days. Sunbirds and white spectacled bulbuls heard briefly, house sparrows and very brief white wagtail call.

Jackdaws, hooded crows, feral pigeons about as usual, some calls of graceful warblers and great tits also heard and a couple of calls of great spotted cuckoos not far from the cistern and also north west of there, far enough to possibly be a different bird.

Yesterday: hyraxes by valley road down on the rocks late afternoon, warm dry, chamsin just getting underway at that time. Husband had also seen female and well grown young gazelle down by the sapling field that morning.

Fluctuating weather.. a brief hamsin/sharav (hot dry spell with easterly winds) which broke by late afternoon. Today's range: 13-20 degrees C, with a peak of just over 22 degrees in the middle of the preceding *night* when the winds were easterly. Today they gradually veered around to the south, then south west till by this afternoon they were back mainly W and NW. Now it's just after 9 p.m. and, as typically happens after a 'hamsin, it's starting to rain again.
'hamsin is the Arabic word, means simply 50 as they say there are roughly 50 such days in the year, though I don't think this one would qualify for that count at such low temps. In the summer a hamsin would typically exceed 30 degrees C. Sharav is the Hebrew word for such a hot spell.

No comments: