Saturday, June 27, 2009

Brief Saturday Report

Another view down the central trail towards the bunker rubble. Turn off to the north valley on the left, pine behind the cistern ahead and slightly to the left, hillside leading up to Hizmeh behind. Towards the right are the three pines by the bunker rubble, back right, eucalyptus trees at look-out corner, on the right you can see some of the charring from the fire which burnt up the ground behind and around look out corner.

Below: this is what the thorny burnet berries look like now, all rough and brown.

This plant below was growing right by the cistern and part of a little group. New growth in a relatively bare patch. Not sure what they'll be yet, there was a hint of beginnings of small yellow flowers in the centre.

Gazelle: Adult male seen in the morning in the watercourse behind the cistern by Akiva, we both saw him again towards sunset grazing behind the row of almonds. Most likely same one as the males are territorial over areas inhabited by females and young. Magnificent horns, we saw him rub them against some shrub
Hyrax: Plenty about by valley road from the cypress slum colony.
Reptiles: Gecko calls heard.
Bee-eaters: A number of bee-eaters seen on the ground on the dirt road next to the Pistaccio orchard, at least a dozen possibly more.. what were they doing there? We looked at the patch but found no ant activity so what were they doing, just chilling, cooling down in the dust? We noticed this same behaviour same time of year last year.

Blackbirds: some song heard in the pines.
Collared doves: some coos, flight calls, activity, flying about between trees, and ground.
Eurasian Jays: quite a few vocal in the pines, seen active between trees, foraging.
Feral pigeons: Seen flying over
Greenfinches: calls, twitters around bunker pines
House sparrows: chirps around buildings, garden, some activity in gazelle fields foraging for grass seed.
Laughing doves: cooing around buildings as usual.
Stone curlews: calling in gazelle field just after sunset.
Sunbirds: calling around dawn in garden last couple of days, with bulbuls.
Syrian woodpeckers: A few very vocal in the eucalyptus grove just east of the cistern
White spectacled Bulbuls: vocal in the garden from before dawn and a few other places on our walk.

Weather: Range today: 17-26 degrees C ( 62.6- 78.8 degrees F)
Time of walk: ~7 p.m. 21 degrees C (69.8 degrees F)
Humidity ~75%, winds westerly 9-20 kt . Given these winds it may have been difficult for the bee-eaters to hunt - perhaps they were quite literally grounded.

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