Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fox cubs at play

Another scenic springtime view of the woods

We were both taken with the way the pink hairy flax unfurls its petals as it opens, spirally.

''Don't point that thing at me!" This jackdaw might have been spooked when we pointed the camera at them. Crows are smart, I've often wondered if they see black tubular objects in the hands of people as threatening objects. The pair appeared to be curious, landing on a nearby fence while we were taking pics of laughing doves.

The most amazing sight we had today was a mother fox, (I assume she was the vixen) with her three (quite well grown) cubs (at least) on top of the hill towards sunset. Husband first spotted her on the hill ridge to the north, close to its easterly end I zoomed in with the Bushnells to see the parent sitting on her haunches and giving a cub a thorough licking. We watched for some time as she stood guard, occasionally walked around that little patch, then resumed watch on a flat rock up there, sometimes standing, more often on her haunches. Around her, her cubs wandered about, explored but did not stray more than a few metres, occasionally returning to her. Usually I could just see one at a time, then two, but the highlight was when all three were near her and even at our distance, over 100 metres down the hill, I could tell the cubs varied in colour quite a bit. The vixen seemed darker but at least one of her cubs had much lighter brown markings and one more like herself. We were standing out in the open down by the east gazelle field watercourse, not far from the cistern and though the vixen could probably see us quite clearly she obviously felt no threat at our distance. Great vantage point up there because very little of any size could approach with sufficient cover. ( Aharon and Moshe were up on the hill earlier in the day and startled a dark fox, could have been her)

Gazelle also about, we saw an adult buck following another about without obvious horns and this morning Akiva saw five down in the new pine grove, on the service road, heading out onto gazelle field.
Last night on our late walk we heard a hyrax rough bark up on the hillside west of the pumping station, probably an alarm call since some feral dogs were about. We've seen those a few times lately, forgot to mention, including a well grown puppy.

Birds: White storks still about, flying hither and thither between the eucalyptuses and fields to the north, wheeling around. Beak clattering greeting heard from eucalyptuses behind look-out corner. They are not at all intimidated by the hooded crows. Not sure how many today, at least a dozen, conservative estimate.

Bee-eaters starting to accumulate. Nice little ''swarm" of about 35 working the air over the pines, both new pines and east valley, and calls also heard shortly after dawn from the house again must have been down over east valley. Flocks probably look like swarms because that's exactly what they're following and working , and they can be a real job to count when they start to weave and criss cross in the air.

Nice size Eurasian Sparrowhawk spotted over gazelle field returning to forest (female?), A Buteo flew over towards the south quite lazily, a couple of great spotted cuckoos. Collared doves active and cooing usual , greenfinches chawing and calling, very brief turtle dove coo heard. Great tits calls, some song. Stone curlew getting quite vocal.

And the solution! Trickster's ear! LOL he's one of our guinea pigs.. temp quarters while the big hutch was being cleaned I think.

And today's mystery .. what might this be? Yes it is natural and living, but what you see may remind you of the very thing that gives it its name....

1 comment:

balmeras said...

Lovely photos!! Thanks for sharing. It's amazing how many people just walk through nature w/o bothering to take a second look. Thanks for inspiring us all to get out there & take our cameras with us.

Cheers- Bethe @balmeras