Friday, March 20, 2009

Tuesday feature

For my zoo pics feature I decided to share pics that show species which still live here in Israel rather than anything more exotic. As I said, such pics are easy to find online and to take in captivity. Here I want to share some interesting behaviour and information.

In a historical movie I saw recently a 'portent' was reported - an eagle with a snake! This was supposed to mean something for the coming battle. I had to roll my eyes and laugh as any naturalist in the region knows what they probably *really* saw was this- Circaetus gallicus, the Short toed eagle, a raptor that specializes in snakes. I watched this majestic bird hunt over the fields of a kibbutz where I used to live years ago. This one was relieving an itch on his head!. Moshe.

The following is a sequence showing a couple of relatively young male ibex Capra nubiana, a kind of wild goat, having a sparring match in the savannah section of the zoo. We could watch the whole battle from an elevated walkway. Many Ibex live wild in Eyn Geddi, a beautiful wadi system that leads through the Judean desert into the Dead Sea some miles south of Jerusalem.

This classic beauty can say its name in Hebrew, Arabic and Latin! Or rather, the other way around, since its name was given for its call- a deep hoot 'OOO!' followed immediately by a harsh almost hissing aspiration 'hhha!' We had much success imitating him and getting him to answer back.
In English it's an Eagle Owl, Bubo bubo, Hebrew Oach and Arabic Buhah. This species still occurs in wilderness/desert in Israel, though sadly much rarer than it used to be.

Finally, Moshe wishes to share with you this sequence of the Middle Eastern Eurasian Jay heading off into the trees. Note its upward swing as it comes in to land.

And finally as promised, today's mystery pic. Cropped from another one of our zoo pics, this is a classic 'guess it' subject so I made it just a little bit more difficult- I will say no more! Anyone? To be totally fair I have to add that it's not something found in the wild today in Israel, although their fossils or those of related species have been found.

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