Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Boys and bugs

Mallow flower with beetles sprinkled with pollen. It was like a small Alcea but not the common mallows but didn't find exact species and growing on lower slopes just north of north watercourse. From yesterday's collection.
Eryngium, an extraordinary thistle like plant which is not related to thistles at all but closer to carrots. Like the mallow, mustard and the caper also blooming now, these are edible plants. Below, close up of flower head. I want to get more pics as the season advances to show development of the flower head. Probably the most well known of this group is Sea Holly. We found a lot around the cistern area. Yes that beautiful purple/blue is its natural colour.

Two more Carmel leeks found, one I found for the boys by east valley watercourse. They'd seen the pic on my desktop so were happy to 'meet' it in real life. The other husband found near the cistern, showing stamens. That pic for later. Good to know they are popping up all over, unlike the snapdragon by the lower watercourse which is still the only clump we know. Husband made a pilgrimage to it today.

I asked the boys to find some bugs and they promptly found and photographed this shiny spider and spiny beetle on some boulders near the cistern. They also found me a strange wasp like insect by the east valley watercourse and a tiny grasshopper in gazelle field which I will keep for later. These two were both tiny, barely 1 cm. long. but still quite distinct.

At 23.25 cm the porcupine quill we found in the cypress grove is our new record quill.

We walked with the boys down valley road, looping around by the bridge and returning north along the east valley watercourse trail. Hyrax seen on a boulder just down from valley road.

Collared doves cooing and active, flight calls also heard, pairs flying around between trees, lines etc making themselves obvious. Turtle doves also heard cooing. Graceful warblers active and vocal particularly around valley road as usual.

Syrian woodpeckers heard a number of times, single calls. Moshe reported chukar partridge on the east watercourse trail. Greenfinches particularly vocal around the bunker area, Eurasian jays also active, swifts heard, not sure if bee-eaters today. Stone curlews heard from direction of east field just after dusk. Hooded crows passing over woods usually in singles.

From the house: house sparrows, white spectacled bulbuls, sunbirds, laughing doves, & jackdaws heard from farther off.

Weather: 14-26 degrees C. At time of walk, ~6.30 p.m. 22 degrees and falling, humidity 45% wind W/NW 5-9.5 kt. A LOT of pollen in the air, we think mostly pine pollen.

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