Sunday, March 1, 2009

Grape hyacinths and another backbone.

Grape Hyacinth, Muscari pulchellum, looking a bit like a wet tasty bunch of tiny grapes on a stick!

Very rainy the last couple of days, thankfully!

In the garden singing blackbird, house sparrows, sunbird seen earlier in the cape honeysuckle, blackcap also again past two mornings? Every time I hear it I'm way too wiped out to check it out, such timing!

Yesterday morning 7.30 a.m. husband saw nine gazelle in the middle of east valley, not far from the crossroads. Nine of them including a buck. He headed off down towards the watercourse to the east, the females and well grown young headed off together through the woods northward. Perhaps readers would like to learn a few Hebrew words for the local flora and fauna? Let me know. At any rate gazelle are called 'Tzvee' (or 'tzvi') צבי

During our walk this afternoon it was drizzling slightly so most birds were lying low, or rather, probably huddled on inner branches of pine trees.
We did see a few hooded crows flying about and a brief fly over by a Eurasian sparrowhawk over the east end of north valley going from direction of the hidden watercourse towards gazelle field.
Calls of great spotted cuckoo from most northerly trees and then not long after from pines just east of the cistern. Could have theoretically flown all the way over there or may have been another bird. In the interim we were under the pines and would have missed it crossing gazelle field. Some great tit song.

We headed across gazelle field which had turned into a lush mire, rivulets and pools all over the place as the east valley watercourse subdivided into a number of channels, both major and minor. We could make our way over the field moving carefully from one relatively dry patch to another, much like Frodo, Sam and Gollum crossed the marsh- though much more green and appealing with all the Malcolmia, mustard and small composites (and without the dead bodies) and then to my delight a small area of a number of freshly sprouted grape hyacinths Muscari pulchellum. These do bloom earlier in the year also but I had not seen these here before, they seem to have appeared over the weekend given these wet conditions.

I decided to try to find that backbone we'd photographed the other day for the boys' 'museum' and headed up the limestone 'shelves' just west of the bat cave. By tremendous luck my footsteps took me straight to a nice set of vertebrae on a boulder, but a second more told me it wasn't the same backbone, at had about half a dozen more vertebrae. Another one!? Could their be some hunting animal or bird that leaves backbones around on this set of rocks? How extraordinary! At any rate we brought this one home.

Time: 4.40 p.m. Temp: 7 degrees C, range today, 1st March ~2.3 -8 degrees C , humidity 85%, Winds westerly 13.7, blowing in a succession of angry cumulus. No lightning today though nor during any of the last two day's storms. Venus, called Nogah in Hebrew, (the shining one) has been shining every evening quite beautifully and today we saw a lovely new moon.

Backbone #2. One wonders how many more backbones could be found on those rocks and why?
26.5 cm long.

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