Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Turtle Dove back and cooler westerlies

View to the east looking towards gazelle field along the north valley. White flowering tree to the left is a hawthorn, those yellow farther along are acacias. Taken 13 April. Gila

Laughing dove Streptopelia senegalensis, a pretty feral dove found all around human habitation. One year a pair nesting on top of our fuse box.. another year a couple raised a chick in top of a paintpot on our bathroom windowsill! We had to rescue the chick a couple of times as it nearly fell into our toilet! They were introduced by Muslims and kept everywhere as their coo resembles an Arabic blessing. Akiva

I thought it might be neat to get a slightly different view of Bear's Breeches Acanthus syriacus . I held my finger under one of the flowers of the spike, lifting it a little so that Akiva could peek inside, and get a close shot. Yes those spines underneath are at least as sharp as they look! They are blooming in many places now esp. out in the open between the almonds and the north valley watercourse, lower hill slopes. Akiva

Yet another of those bee orchids under the pines between valley road and gazelle field, each one is almost like a Rorschasch test! What do you make of this 'expression' ? Gila

(All pics from earlier in the week as it was a holy day today. )

I completely forgot the gazelles on our last walk! A group of six, a buck apparently leading a group of females and well grown young from north gazelle field up the hill. I say 'apparently' since one can't be sure if he was really leading or if they had decided to go that way anyway and he just decided to be eager and go on ahead. We also saw the bachelor herd up on the hilltop north west of the sage valley, hard to be sure how many, they were popping up and down at ridge level but at least six, perhaps a couple more.

Today a few more.. a buck chasing another buck on the south facing slope of east end of north valley and another individual with no visible horns, seemed a young one, running at a lower level same direction. Chasing buck very nice horns, longer than those of the other and probably the alpha buck of gazelle fields seeing off a rival. Three up on ridge earlier, may have been same three, not sure.

Hyraxes also active today, in the colony below end of rchov Shadiker.

White Storks still about. As we came up through the new pine grove through the service road a stork was grazing in the open right in front of us giving us nice views.. took off and wheeled around. A little later, 34 conservative estimate, counted coming over the hill from the north and heading to roost at about quarter to seven.

First turtle dove I've heard this season! Heard in pines west of north valley path near where it turns around north then west.

Other birds: hobby aloft over north valley, nice views of it gliding along not far above canopy level. Coos of collared doves and active in many places, as were Eurasian jays. Hooded crows and jackdaws foraging out in the fields. ~15 bee-eaters using the lower line just north of where the service road emerges from the new pine grove. They would perch on the line for a while, then all take off, hawk for insects, then land again. Calls of great spotted cuckoo chuckles of chukar, calls of great tits and green finches.

Sunbird in the garden calling, singing blackbird, house sparrows, laughing dove coos.

Today cooler westerlies brought cumulus rolling in fast from the west with a few raindrops and cooler temperatures. Today's range just 10-15 degrees C. Time of walk ~6 p.m. 13 degrees C, 75% westerlies 16-18 knots

Mystery pic: Honeybee got the last, they were indeed poppy seed capsules. Since you all LOVE seed capsules, here's another! It's edible, as are the leaves, and you don't have to roast or toast them! - though you might not want to eat this one since it seems a small spider is in residence. (Gila)

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