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.

1 comment:

elli said...

Hi "Yaar",

I'm one of your blog admirers from nearby Modi'in. I wanted you to know that your blog has inspired me to form a group of amateur naturalists to get together occassionally here in Modi'in to identify local flora and fauna.

You are far more advanced than we, but I think your knapweed is not a centaurae ("dardar") but a crupina crupinastrum ("dardarit") and a gorgeous one at that.

Please keep the posts coming!