Monday, March 2, 2009

Spring flowers of 'Windsurfer Hill'

Today we decided to head up 'windsurfer' hill, a pleasant peak just across east valley. Moshe believed he had found some interesting new blooms there, and it turned out he wasn't kidding! We went via the pumping station and bridge, and straight up the west facing slope, through the pines and cypress till we emerged on the open hillside, the tallest vegetation being the ubiquitous thorny burnet. Much other vegetation was keen to grow, here on the dampest and windiest face.

Below: A really nice find and pic by Moshe, Pink butterfly orchid, Orchis papilionacea. There were several of these gorgeous proud blooms growing between the burnets.

Our favourite find today, Sun's Eye Tulip, Tulipa agenensis. You can see why it's called that, from the marking on the loose petal which I placed on the rock next to them. I found that on the ground not far off. This is native and wild, and a nice size bloom, I forgot to measure but ~6 cm petal. I always find it thrilling to find familiar garden flowers growing in their original natural habitat. Also Moshe's pic.

One of the milk vetches, Astragalus, of which there are many in this country. Holy milk vetch, A. sanctum? I really am not sure.

What collection of Moshe's would be complete without a caterpillar! Lovely specimen on a thorny burnet.

We're not sure which of them took this photograph as both husband and Moshe took several pics each. Yet another lily, this matches Allium orientale, a kind of wild garlic. A small bloom, it was growing in a dirt filled hollow on top of a boulder.

I spotted this little treasure near the watercourse mentioned below, Moshe took the photograph. The head was tiny but the flowers little gems. I.D. yet to come.

This one, by husband for a change but also found by Moshe in a drier area by a large boulder. It's clearly some member of the lily family but beyond that I do not know.

A blue delight I have yet to I.D. though probably in the geranium family. Growing near a watercourse between windsurfer hill and villa hill, a particularly lush area with the most variety of vegetation on the hill, a riot of vetches in salmon and cream climbing all over the burnets, brooms and other assorted plants.

I had dubbed this area 'windsurfer hill' after the extraordinary play activities of local hooded crows which seemed to like to dance in the wind for hours as it blows up against this face. They really do seem to just want to spend time surfing the air currents. There were some hooded crows about though a much diminished flock- probably the non breeders as the others are scattered about in pairs throughout the woods now. The flock of jackdaws was still large and strong though and wheeled about the hill, calling. There were some other birds about but I didn't manage to get good views for better I.D.s . From the sound of them, larks and pipits.
We also heard chukar partridges many times down the slopes towards the south and spotted a small group on the hillside amongst planted saplings on the hillside below the villas, just south of windsurfer hill.
Blackbirds were also singing much of today and a sunbird seen in the garden earlier.

Today's range (2nd March) : 5.25-8.25 degrees C. Time of walk: ~7.7 degrees C, 87% humidity, winds WSW, light breeze.

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