Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fledgeling, and north valley delights

Fledgeling graceful warbler, Prinia gracilis, called Pashosh in Hebrew. This is a very common and highly vocal wren like bird that breeds prolifically in low scrub like this. Look at the base of the bill, you can see the yellow skin which tells you it's very young, still being fed by the parents. It was just about five feet in front of us for several minutes, occasionally hopping up and down the scrub, quite unconcerned. I have to say this. Isn't he cute?! Akiva

This extraordinary shaped yellow Nigella ciliaris (Ciliate Love in-a-mist) was found by Akiva in a eucalyptus grove close by the north valley watercourse. We found quite a few others in the area. Gila

This tiny wasp clinging to a grass barely 1 cm long was also found not far from the north valley watercourse. It matches Eumenes mediterraneus, a potter wasp. These insects build tiny round homes for their larvae out of mud. I did not realize it was a potter wasp when I took the pic, just looked it up now at Ritter's site. That's the wonderful fun of this hobby, discovering it all as we go along.

Eurasian jays, chukar partridges, blackbirds vocal and active. Lots of graceful warblers esp. by the corner of valley road where it turns east for a way.. near the hyrax colony there. Seems a whole family just fledged and parents very vocal.

A lot of Sylvia warblers working the acacias, contact calling 'tack tack' all around us but keeping within the foliage and not allowing us a fair glimpse. Husband made out dark upper head briefly which makes Orphean warbler quite likely. One briefly burst into song.

White spectacled bulbuls also foraging in the trees, perfect for them.

Hooded crows and such about, we were too much under the canopy with our attention at a lower level to notice much in the sky but no bee-eaters, swifts or turtle doves heard and no storks seen at all.

We headed down into north valley and explored the area by the watercourse. There again grasses and Syrian thistle dominant, still plenty mustard but the geraniums, persian buttercups, orchids and other delicate flowers of earlier spring are now past. Still some blue pimpernel here and there hugging the ground and poppies on banks in patches. Much of the watercourse and surrounding little meadows was thickly strewn with acacia pollen and fallen florets, yellow like lichen on the rocks and tangled with the thistles particularly those with webs. Pollen everywhere and tissues in hand.

The ramble along that watercourse track, barely a track, perhaps for a porcupine, was really quite idyllic, framed by steps of limestone and tiers of vegetation, reminiscent of a greek woodland fantasy, half expected to meet dryads, nymphs and satyrs along there! We must make a little video one day because still shots just do not do the whole place justice.

6.15 p.m. 18.8 degrees C, 48% humidity, winds NW 5.2 knots, skies totally clear.

Here's your mystery pic! It's a zoom of a pic Avremi took recently though the original pic is not posted it is a species I have mentioned many times and posted other pics of it, and yes, that really is its natural colour!

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