Saturday, May 23, 2009

Brief saturday report

View of how hill slope across north valley is looking now. Already the green is turning to dry grass and giving the hills an olive green tinge

Yet another pic of those glorious strange lobed flowers we found in the north valley watercourse. Each flower showed a different combination of velvety orange, plum and lemon.

This pic shows to some extent the convergent evolution of the centaury (thistle family) and Eryngium (carrot family). The centauries are those with pale brown spines, the Eryngium are all young and green here (though deeper ones are turning blue) but the spine star shape and size are very similar. Below, what I call 'caterpillar' burrs.. half a centimetre long burrs that attach to socks and clothes in scores. They don't cause much discomfort but take a while to pick off!

By the way, I found stalks bearing the 'spiny seed capsules from hell' in the east valley crossroads today amongst a stand of spiny grass which I have photographed in the past. Still not sure what they were and never heard of grasses making capsules like that but going to keep on eye on other such stands. I'd like to know what seeds belong to what plants and I don't always remember exactly what I've seen where to keep track.. I'd say more likely to be one of pea family but still not sure. The stalk bore several capsules spirally up the stalk irregularly. Then I picked several of them off my skirt! Must follow husband's suggestion and plant some, see what they grow into. Same for the caterpillar burrs!

Gazelle: No luck today, nor feral dogs or reptiles
Hyrax: Some activity just down from valley road late afternoon. Mother with young one on a rock, not obviously nursing at the time, but probably disturbed by passers by. Nursing young out on boulders they do a lot.

Bee-eaters: single distant call heard east field/windsurfer hill direction
Black eared wheatears: calls heard over at or beyond north valley watercourse in open stretch. We're a bit sad and miss Bill and Bob's family when they bred in sapling field and rubble area.. perhaps more people frequenting the valley area put them off this year, but they're still plentiful on the hillsides.
Hobbies: Some calls heard lately
Swifts: Calls over fields and general area.
Turtle doves: Much cooing especially in eucalyptus across from Pistacios and trees near cistern.
Hoopoe: seen flying across back of gazelle field, along line of almond trees, finally settled on low pine branch.
Blackbirds: Much song, activity generally.
Collared doves: Cooing, flight calls, general activity around cistern.
Eurasian Jays: Much activity especially around cistern
Feral pigeons: buildings as usual, fancyish individual foraging alone by Pistaccio orchard, cote escape?
Graceful warblers: Numerous calls heard from valley road
Great tits: Calls of family groups here and there throughout the woods.
Greenfinches: Much twittering and chawing especially around rubble area pines.
Jackdaws: Some calls, flying to and fro
Hooded crows: Calls, flying about as usual
House sparrows:Gardens as usual, a small group around thistles, grasses gazelle field central watercourse.
Laughing doves: cooing in garden, around street, several pairs at crumb corner,
Stone curlews: some calls.
Syrian woodpeckers: calls heard along east valley watercourse dirt road.
White spectacled Bulbuls: Calls in garden and a few other places.
Kestrel, flying about over bipass road, showed me its tail bar nicely for clear I.D.
sunbirds, chukars quiet today.

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