Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Latest blooms

I nearly walked right past this little orange job but the leaves caught my eye. I was used to seeing the tiny orange dandelion types and at first took it for one of those but then noticed the filamentous leaves, typical of Pheasant's Eye but the first time I've seen orange ones. Checking the net I found five species in Israel, two of which are orange or yellow. Adonis aestivalis is a lovely orange colour though that is supposed to be a summer bloomer, though I don't know how early they're supposed to start. Adonis dentata is another possibility though that looks much yellower on the site. Time will tell, A. aestivalis has markings at the base of the petal that are clear when more open. As with many plants including Nonea, these do some pretty cute tricks with polyploidy.. multiple chromosome copies and this could generate extra variations.

One of the Orchis orchids close up, again matches best pink butterfly orchid though much smaller than the specimens on windsurfer hill, but the spotted lower petal is definitely narrower than that on the site or in my book. whether regional variation or related species not shown on the site, not sure.

First thistle of the season I've noticed blooming, just across our street by the road verge. Another type is also starting to bloom, with longer yellow heads. Thistles may not be as glamourous as orchids but they are still quite beautiful in their own way and deserve credit for being very successful all the way from Israel to Scotland and beyond! Which thistle? I am not sure, there are many species here and I have not found a match that satisfies me.

These I mentioned last time, these curious tubular bells with the shamrock leaves, growing in profusion behind the buildings. The bells opened up to 5 petal blooms and I found them: Oxalis pes-caprae (Bermuda buttercup, African wood-sorrel, Bermuda sorrel, Buttercup oxalis, Cape sorrel, English weed, Goat's-foot, Sourgrass, Soursob, Soursop that many names for one flower!

Plenty Ophrys lutea growing on the north facing slopes as well as more mini Iris, and the ubiquitous red anemones and Roman squill. Some Carmel bee orchid across the path towards the watercourse amongst plenty pheasant's eye, and yellow mustard growing almost everywhere remotely flat.

This morning the first bird I heard was a white spectacled bulbul right outside my window at about 5.30 a.m., calling quite melodiously. Soon house sparrows chipped in followed by distant hooded crow calls and presently some laughing dove coos. Sunbird heard calling later in the cape honeysuckle, local feral pigeon flock aloft and flying around.

Heading down into the north valley we heard jackdaws and chukar partridges chuckling away somewhere, graceful warblers calling. Call heard across north valley, Eurasian sparrowhawk?- at first it sounded like great spotted cuckoo but tones sounded purer. I wondered if the hobbies are back yet but on reflection it could have been a sparrowhawk. Eurasian jays about and active. No gazelle today.

Weather today: range 8-13 degrees C. At about 5 p.m. the start of our walk, it was ~11.5 degrees, humidity ~80%, winds WNW very light.

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