Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Jays, seedpods, flymoths etc

Husband took this pic today of our local Jay Garrulus glandarius atricapillus on a rock near the pumping station. Though it's facing away you can just see the bulge of its left eye, it was totally aware of us. It took off a fraction of a second later.

Another fox family sighting today! The boys must have been kicking themselves since they parted company with us a short while ago and missed them. I trained the binocs on the part of the hill ridge where we'd seen them before and there was the mother popping up now and again and definitely two young 'uns scampering to and fro. Not sure if I saw the third cub or not.. since they were right at the ridge any could pass over and back to confuse me!

No luck on gazelles or hyrax but some white storks STILL around! Husband saw one over at the other end of the neighbourhood being chased away by a *flock* of feral pigeons. (I have also seen a flock of feral pigeons chase away a falcon and husband saw a succession of flocks see off a sparrowhawk. ) Amazing they will band together to chase away a perceived threat like that.

Second white stork sighting today was about sunset, one flew over ridge from the north and headed towards trees of look out corner.

Bee-eaters about, flock hawking quite high over the new pines. SWALLOWS Hirundo rustica, a couple, also seen over valley road. We don't see these often, only when they pass through. We watched a hobby gliding and looping over the valley, nice view for the boys. A little later we saw a rather dramatic chase, one tore after another over the central trail till both were out of view. Greenfinches twittering and chawing in the pines esp. by the bunker rubble. Collared doves cooing, showed us display flight. Turtle doves cooing.

Blackbirds in song, graceful warblers vocal and active, white spectacled bulbuls active in vegetation on the bank. Tristram's grackle whistle heard earlier, flying over.

We noticed another brief chase earlier, over the east valley lower dirt road, crow chasing big brown job but too quick for I.D.s could have been a long legged buzzard. Boys were excited about that at the time husband was taking the pic of the jay. Hooded crows and jackdaws about here and there over the valley, calling and being busy. Another buzzard seen on the rocks down from the foxes.

I quiz the boys about the vegetation along the way, making a point of showing them which are edible, looking for insects on the flower heads and checking which are fragrant. As we learn, they learn so that soon they will be far more knowledgable about the natural life here than we were just a few years ago. I want them to appreciate the biodiversity. Already they realize there are far more species of plants in the valley than they'd ever suspected.. and I must admit that is true for me too! I am still ignorant of many species I see.

Weather time of walk: ~6.15 p.m. just over 15 degrees C. 53% westerlies, ~10.5 knots. (Range today, 12-17 degrees)

The white umbelliferous like plant that was growing copiously in open ground is now mostly seedpods. Flower and buds are shown back in #395 (March 19th) I just took the pic because I liked the shapes.

Yet another large white clover type. This one is different from the one I photographed back on April 21st, #422. That one had dark 'spines' between the flowers and other differences in flower form.

This is a tiny fly like moth (?) that seems to like bathrooms. We often find about half a dozen in there but they are inoffensive. I don't know about you but I find them quite cute! They are just half a centimetre across and almost always land abruptly and head up. That geometrid moth was also found in the bathroom, likely because we do not have a mosquito screen on that window (yet!) and the light attracts them.

1 comment:

elli said...

The white umbelliferae with the heart-shaped seed pods look like they are from the genus Tordylium, but I'm not sure which species. Tordylium have two different shaped seeds within their fruit, each with a different seed dispersal strategy.