Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mystery yellow jobs and moth, weekend delights.

I found this dramatic looking Syrian thistle near the north valley watercourse last week. The gold bands on the thorns added interest. Below, purple florets, zoomed in.

As yet unidentified small yellow jobs blooming all over the place now. The flowers are just about half a centimetre, perhaps a little more I showed this together with some Peyroni seedpods a week or so ago. Here I zoomed up on a flower and, below, some leaves and buds to show them better. Any help on I.D. would be much appreciated!

Pls see comment . I am indebted (yet again:) to Elli Sacks for helping me with this. I agree with her I.D. as member of the genus Kickxia, (known as cancerworts or toadflaxes) and quite probably K. aegyptiaca- member of family Scrophulariaceae. My son Avremi discovered it has quite a pleasant though unusual aroma.

Below: Another unidentified insect. A moth clearly, probably of the family Noctuidae.. it was on our bathroom ceiling. It's not very big, perhaps just over an inch from head to wing tip. If anyone can help us get closer I'd appreciate it a lot! I posted it on facebook and twitter (as well as the purple flower cluster of last post) but none of my friends there were able to help as yet.

Today I was delighted to find that the Pomegranate tree has flower buds and is about to bloom. I remember saying the blessing on the blooms on 1st of May last year so it's a trifle late this year, wonder why? Fires set it back? The other plant I was delighted to see flowering is a gorgeous snapdragon (our pic #216 May 8th last year. ) by the gazelle field east side watercourse.

That was about the position we had observed the mother fox with cubs not long ago and husband detected a movement just as I was wondering if she'd be there again, and almost simultaneously we ''converged" on another nice fox sighting. One individual on the skyline, another, definitely a cub though clearly grown since last view, scampering about. The one on top kept ducking out of view and in the declining light I was unable to see if there were others around, no other movement I could be sure about. Others could have been just on the other side of the skyline on hilltop. Adult mature Hyrax on side of large rocks near pumping station, otherwise no other activity. Seems blonde shaggy ones are older, this could be a non breeding one on sentry duty and younger adults all taking care of young. Just speculation.

Today turtle doves heard in various parts of the woods, collared doves about and active, adult Eurasian jays about and fledgelings heard, from direction and other clues, fledgeling jays in the new pine woods, fledgeling great tits near sapling field (which is getting rather overgrown around the saplings and needs another mow) , also screechy sounding chicks up in the eucalyptus at look out corner. There's a nest up there of some largish bird, I thought hoodie but saw some white, unless just reflection of light on shiny feathers.. but almost completely concealed by the foliage- saw one parent settling down to brood nest, another attending though I thought, but other calls from another nest nearby not in direct view. Hooded crows and jackdaws about.

Syrian woodpeckers much more vocal and seen in flight, chukar partridges heard several times, stone curlew also very vocal. Bee-eaters heard above somewhere, also common swifts.

Garden: Sunbirds, white spectacled bulbul, house sparrows, laughing dove, greenfinch. Also around, feral pigeons as usual, very busy, to and fro, no doubt to forage for chicks. Blackbird song. Graceful warblers as usual by valley road quite close to buildings.

1 comment:

Elli Sacks said...

Hi Gila,

I believe the yellow flower is from the genus Kickxia (cancerworts) quite possibly Kickxia aegyptiaca. The unique leaf shape resembling the fleur de l'is is the tipoff.