Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rain and wind

White storks settle on the cypress tops, east end, south facing slopes of north valley. Click on pic for slightly better view, this pic taken about a week ago.

White stork working the field just up from the bat cave. Comparable in height to gazelles (a couple seen same area today, more towards the trees.. husband thought three, one hidden behind an Acacia saligna . This tells you how tall the storks are.. or how short the gazelle! The crows certainly weren't messing with them, not with that bill! They look so gentle though, it's the dark eye, looks almost feminine. Interestingly in Hebrew a stork is a 'Hassida which means "kind one'' and is a feminine word. Traditionally it refers to the dedication of the stork for its family.

Do any of our botanical readers have an idea about this one? Yet another Geranium family member.. or something else? As I said last time.. there never seems to be an end of ''purple jobs"!

White storks still about. 4 foraging on the lower slopes just beyond the bat caves, others coming over the north ridge to the trees to roost about 6.35 p.m. Approx 20 today, conservative estimate. ( a little earlier to roost than clearer days, possibly because all the cumulus in the sky was causing light to fall earlier as well as the threat of rain)

Feral pigeons and laughing doves around the street, latter cooing a lot. Collared doves cooing in the woods but no turtle doves heard today.
Hobbies seen, two flying together high, one seen lower, near top of canopy level, nice view of mask. Chukar partridges heard chucking briefly, some raucous great spotted cuckoo calls towards sunset, plenty greenfinch chaws and twitters, great tit calls but not song.
Rocky area around the bat cave swarming with hooded crows and jackdaws picking stuff off the rocks apparently.

singing, sunbirds, white spectacled bulbuls and house sparrows calling in the gardens and hoopoe heard briefly. Today about dawn extraordinary song heard, husband heard it too and we've both heard it before.. sounded somewhat similiar to skylark in that it went on and on but higher pitched, quite beautiful but couldn't place it and too tired at the time to go into garden. A while since I heard full song of sunbird, could be that but wasn't as I remembered. Perhaps someone nearby has a bird recording alarm clock? Next time...

Neighbour reported that several fires broke out today in east valley, not clear if vandalism or natural but given these topsy turvy weather conditions could be natural.. amazing anything could burn in the damp but the moisture would actually promote the rotting that makes spontaneous fires quite likely.

Range today: 9.7-12.7 degrees C. Time of walk ~ 6 p.m. ~11.5 degrees C, humidity 80%, winds W/WSW 16-18 knots. Raining on and off through the day.

The red 'leafed' succulent plant that grows by and on flat areas of rock is now in bloom..I think it's Sedum hispanicum or another of the same genus, a stonecrop, family Crassulaceae

This I.D. was helped by my childhood passion for pressing flowers. I used to beg my neighbours for samples from their gardens and many were happy to oblige, and stonecrops were quite popular in rock gardens in the U.K. but a real pain as far as flower pressing is concerned! Then all I had to do was find generic name/s for stonecrop, and then which of those occur in Israel.

Now for your mystery pic: A truly awful one! Back up and squint and you may be able to make out some of the structure there.. I will help you on your way if you are at all warm:)

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