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.

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