Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Delights of Form and Design

An Allium of some sort, yes another of the leek and garlic clan, found growing near the east valley watercourse. Taller than the Carmeli it stood on its single stem about four feet high. The flower head was maybe 6,7 cm diameter.

The closest match I found was A. pseudocalyptratum but that is unlikely since it's found up on the Hermon in the north. The one we found also has pink bases to floret stalks rather than whitish and more rounded bell like florets.

Below.. roughly same location, a pinwheel Nigella Nigella ciliaris has opened its seed pods showing shiny black seeds, flat and looking crimped at the edges. I'll show some pics of the seeds later in the week.

This seed head below attracted my attention for its star/spearhead shaped seed bodies. I think it's one of the clovers and was found by some thorny burnets, again, near the east watercourse.

Even flies have their beauty. This (perhaps) hoverfly was found resting on an old star clover, no doubt tired after a hard day's hovering. Notice the mini wings at the base of the main wings.

I took more pics of various seed pods and insects but want to keep these for later..

Other insects found included a lacewing resting on a eucalyptus leaf and a moth which seemed to be deliberately disguising itself as a eucalyptus leaf bud. It's colour and position on the stem was remarkably similar to the red tinted fresh leaves. This was growth at the base of a eucalytpus tree, almost a 'bush' growing up enthusiastically, green and lovely.

No luck on gazelles today though we weren't near or within sight of favoured grazing areas much of the time. We were mostly exploring along the east watercourse area for vegetation and insect life. Hyraxes we saw in abundance on the bank up and west of valley road, we lost count! Scores and many of them young just a few weeks old.

Birds: Collared dove and turtle dove cooing. Syrian woodpeckers, a number of calls. Hooded crows and jackdaws heard and seen flying about and foraging. Eurasian jays about the trees, relatively quiet today though they were making a din around look out corner last night towards dusk but we could not make out what was bothering them. Graceful warblers calling frequently in the vegetation along valley road and other places, Blackbird song heard. Swifts in flight above the woods but no bee eaters today.

House sparrows chirping about the buildings as usual, laughing doves cooing, white spectacled bulbuls calling a number of times. I listened for sunbirds but heard none all day. Shows you can take nothing for granted!

Weather: Cooler, more overcast than yesterday. Still much pollen in the air. Range: 14-25 degrees C. Time of walk: ~6.30 p.m. ~21 degrees C, 65% humidity, westerlies, 9-11

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