Monday, April 6, 2009

Purple clover, birds etcetera

These two pics show the recovery of part of the young pine grove at the east end of north valley. Pic above: last June 4th. First pic, today April 6th. Recovery was effectively complete well into the rainy season and this area was filled with asphodel blooms just a month ago. Almost doesn't look the same place, but if you look carefully you can see the matching trees and boulders.

This tiny purple clover is in bloom now near the north watercourse especially on the north facing hillslopes. It joins the ubiquitous large white (pinkish) clover, the small bright yellow clovers (Trifolium campestre, hop clover perhaps ) and the star clover in our seasonal clover display. Not sure of the I.D. of the purple clover- T. clusii or T. resupinatum?

No more storks but one rather impressive large brown bird of prey, first seen on a boulder on lower slopes just to north of gazelle field, later circling over the area, likely on a thermal. From its underwing pattern I'd say darker morph of long legged buzzard, B. rufinus. Roughly the same time a falcon using the same thermal but too far up to see what.

Bee-eaters heard again but we didn't see the flock to get a count, chukar partridges heard, hooded crows active, jackdaws heard. Greenfinches calling, collared doves out perching on the lines, graceful warblers calling nearer valley road.

Much great spotted cuckoo activity in the pistacco orchard.. two pairs vying for territory? At least three birds involved possibly a fourth, flying to and fro and calling.

Garden: sunbird calls, white spectacled bulbul in the Bauhinia early, blackbirds, house sparrows, something else singing not far off at dusk quite beautiful, sounded like something between a greenfinch and a skylark but couldn't place it. Laughing doves active, cooing in the garden and foraging at crumb corner as usual.

weather: 10-24 degrees C, ~14 degrees C at time of our walk. Humidity up to 85%. winds had shifted back to westerlies late morning, raising humidity and wind speed and lowering temperatues. Due to last night's easterlies, temps didn't fall much below 20 degrees all night.

Mystery pic yesterday was of an egg of a chukar partridge Any readers of last year (#214, 6 May) may remember my boys found a clutch of partridge eggs baked in the forest fires. The partridge are somewhat vulnerable since they nest on the ground but given the chucks and chuckles I've been hearing this spring, there are still plenty around! Honeybee came closest, realizing it was indeed an egg.

How about this?

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