Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday observations, more of week's pics shared

zoomed up centre of one of the poppy flowers we found near the beginning of last week. Black parts are male anthers and stamens, centre furry purple area is the female stigma.

A kind of wasp, apparently though unfortunately in this pic only abdomen, back legs and some of winds in view. The whole insect was not longer than ~2 cm. Below, same wasp with what appears to be a midge feeding off it. Rather creepy! Husband found this close to the east valley watercourse a few days ago.

Now the fertilized hawthorn flowers are turning into hips, first green- then they will ripen red to brown.

Below: close up of the gazelle molars, (zoom made from the jawbone we found earlier in the week) perfect for chewing the cud and in pretty good shape too, considering no dentist visits.

Today: Most milk thistle are in seed now which is great food for greenfinches and other birds. These were twittering and chawing non stop late afternoon esp from Pistacio orchard, look out corner, bunker pines, cistern pines.

Walk along valley road, round by bridge loop and north to bunker rubble and cistern, snapdragon clump, south back to pumping station and back by valley road.

Plenty hyraxes active by valley road toward dusk, various sizes, families out foraging. (husband also saw adult male gazelle in the pines just down from valley road this morning)

Sunbird calling in the garden. Perhaps the boys can find the nest again as they did successfully last year, though I don't encourage nest finding as I don't want the developing young disturbed. Last year the timing was great.. they found it on fledging day.

In the woods: blackbirds, chukar partridges calling just south of bridge, two groups from the sound. Syrian woodpeckers calling and active. Eurasian jays about, couple of dozen hooded crows in their eucalyptus roost by east valley watercourse at dusk. Bee-eaters heard somewhere over gazelle valley, common swifts heard, three seen in a dramatic chase over look-out corner area. Buteo on a boulder up by the fox's playground but no foxes today. Collared doves and turtle doves cooing. Blackbirds, graceful warblers vocal, great tits (young) heard by Pistaccios. Stone curlews last night.

Friday: husband saw and heard a Tristram's grackle up in a pine whistling on and on, may have been a song. He had the opportunity then to show residents the bird as they were unfamiliar. Always a pleasure! House sparrows, laughing doves, bulbuls also about.

boys also made observations of a gecko they found in the neighbourhood.. how eye like a slit in the light but quickly dilates to black circle when light dimmer. They also noticed its two major toes on each foot and how they have gripping scales. We must get photos of these.. have been hearing geckos quite a lot recently, a loud ''tack tack" from walls , foundations etc.

At the snapdragon clump was a very nice white crab spider, a handsome shiny green small beetle and honeybees, incentive to take the camera there tomorrow. Also remarked how the Eryngium and a centaury almost identical in form of stems and thorns though different in colour and flower form.. (and family). Great example of convergent evolution. Must get a shot of this as they often grow close together.

Weather: 22.5 degrees C - 31 degrees C. Definite upward swing! Time of walk, shortly after 6 p.m. ~26.5 degrees C, humidity 24%, northwesterlies since early afternoon 4-5 knots though since then wind has dropped and veered to north.

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