Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yes! Pink bud plant exploded into flower

We were delighted to find the pink bud plant again! Husband spotted it from the trail now wide open and glorious on a long stalk, the flower itself stood at the height of my hip, was at least 10 cm across and accompanied by a smaller flower, about half height, less developed and branching off from the main stem close to ground level. Leaves were long and narrow, simple, as you'd expect from monocots. This time we took a good location fix so we can come back and see how it develops from here. Below, flower detail. I still don't know what it is yet! Who knew so many flowers would come from that little cup? Matches Carmel Leek Allium carmeli

Another great find today, this jawbone, which I presume is that of a gazelle based on its grinding molars, size and shape. Found a short distance north of the north valley watercourse where the ground begins to rise. 16cm long. We took this pic as it was found, then brought it home for our 'museum'. We looked around the area for a while to see if other remnants of the skull could be found (particularly horns) but unsuccessful.

No idea on the I.D. of these beauties yet either. I found a whole clump of them growing in the north valley watercourse. Here are a couple of flowers showing the variation .. yellow to velvety orange, and, below, their leaves.

Another find that delighted me was Eryngium, a purple thorny plant which looks like a little like a thistle but is actually more closely related to carrots. I took some good pics but want to wait a little longer to see how the flower heads develop- and I don't like to post too many pics in each blog entry, I still have more from today and yesterday! I was particularly delighted to find it as I'd just read about it a few days before in the Hebrew journal ''Teva Hadvarim" and learned that the leaves are edible and used in cuisine. I'd been on the look out for it since it mentioned they're widespread and easily recognizable and there were plenty cropping up along that stretch.

(While looking through flower site revised my opinion on those curious tiny deep purple jobs on the hill. Ellie had I.D. it as a Scrophularia and I agreed, and possibility of S. peyroni was considered. Now, considering sepal colour I'm thinking it's S. hierochuntica. No English name as far as I know. )

What else today? Much cooing of collared doves and turtle doves, flight calls from former. Laughing doves active on the street esp. by crumb corner. Greenfinches heard, also singing blackbirds, graceful warbler calls,

White spectacled bulbuls started calling in the garden shortly before 5 a.m. Masked shrikes heard near the watercourse at dusk and Tristram's grackle whistles heard over west from direction of quarry though they were probably closer than there.

Swifts and bee-eaters overhead calling and hawking aerial insects over the valley.

We almost photographed a darkling beetle (Adesmia) perched on a boulder but it became alarmed at our approach, either good vision or felt vibrations. It simply pulled in its legs and rolled off the boulder with a light clatter, then scurred underneath. Economical way to travel!

More bees and beetles about. One particularly huge bee (apparently) was buzzing around the stand of yellow viscid Jerusalem sage. The 'bee' refused to alight and stay still for me but I did notice it had the most extraordinary turquoise coloured eyes, though otherwise almost black.. never saw that on a bee before. I also noticed that the sage was taller than I'd remembered, now I was standing right by it and could estimate it stood at about 5 and half feet. I checked Rittner's site but found no bees like it, nor flies that resembled bees.. which is also a possibility.

Fairly fresh gazelle scat close to the watercourse in cypress grove .

Weather: 13.5-22 degrees C. At time of walk ~6 p.m. it was 19 degrees C. Humidity 60% winds NW/NNW ~7,8 kt.


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