Thursday, April 30, 2009

Scrambling on the north valley hill slopes

Clusters of these little purple jobs have been here and there amongst the rocks on the south facing slope of north valley from about half way up to almost the top. I took these pic last week and we've been seeing them since then but as they're already starting to finish I'm getting this in before it's too late. It looks somewhat similar to one I took in gazelle field a couple of weeks back (#415) but not the same species I just compared.. even though I don't know the I.D. of either yet. If anyone can help me I.D. them I'd be thrilled! The site I use displays them all in alphabetical order which is not extremely helpful as I just don't have time to go through every single one . I usually find species I recognize while looking for others and I.D. them much later.

One of the Robber Flies: family Isilidae, found by Moshe, photographed I think by Avremi , clinging to this grass halfway up the hill. Insects were grounded in the brisk winds and this one wasn't going anywhere. We had seen another like this on our walk last week but then the boys didn't manage to get a good pic of it so we were glad we had the opportunity again. The wings of the fly are hard to see, they lie together on top of the abdomen as far as next to last segment. We had to shield it all around with our hands to prevent the wind blowing the grass. We also found another wasp moth, similarly grounded, clinging onto a flat rock on the hillside for dear life! If it would try to take off it would be immediately carried east for scores of yards.

This tiny herb now growing fresh by the rocks in many places I found quite photogenic so I asked Avremi to get a shot. Click on it for closer view.. tiny hairy pods are visible between the leaves. I don't know what this is yet.

WARNING spider below!

The I.D. of this one was easier to find. It's a nursery web spider, Pisaura consocia a common house spider here. This one was found in our kitchen by husband. It looks rather formidable but is in fact only about an inch across from (front) leg tip to leg tip

Garden in the morning was pretty lively, with house sparrows and sunbird vocalizing while it was still dark. They were soon joined by laughing dove and white spectacled bulbul and not long after by a singing blackbird. Jackdaws heard later.

We headed into north valley and continued up the slope on the opposite side, up the hill almost as far as the wall by A Ram where breezes were strong enough to make walking a struggle, even if we had not been hiking on sloping ground littered with treacherous small stones. We were struggling but watched four gazelle run down the slope as if it were a doddle. I had the boys on alert for any new vegetation or insects.

Hooded crow and feral pigeons seen later and also out foraging in flocks .
In the woods, collared dove but turtles still quiet. Graceful warblers active up by the road as usual. Chukar partridges heard, Syrian woodpecker seen flying north /south across the valley. No storks but a large raptor up across the valley over by A Ram flying east. I couldn't make it out very well but had hint of forked tail and wide wings, enough to make black kite likely. Haven't seen those in a while but they do appear in the area from time to time.

Moshe also found a dead small butterfly, from the looks of it, a fritillary, Melitaea likely knapweed fritillary, M. phoebe but sadly it was so fragile it disintegrated in my hands and I wasn't able to bring it home to photograph properly.

Weather: Cooler than yesterday 12-18.5 degrees C. time of walk (~6.15 p.m.) 14.5 degrees, 70%, westerlies 13-20 kt but felt quite a bit stronger on upper hillslopes, funnel effect.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi, new to the site, thanks.