Monday, June 1, 2009

Cuckoo troubles the crow roost.

Close up of that leek flower head we found near east valley watercourse a few days ago.

Click on this to see better, the leaves are covered in stiff little spines, part of an adaptation of this succulent to the dry summer and strong defense, not sure if the gazelle would eat it!

Leaves and foliage of wild fennel Ferula communis growing near the east valley watercourse. Flowers not in bloom. You can break off the stems and suck the licorice flavoured sap. Leaves are merely filaments, another adaptation to the climate.

Yet another hoodwinked hoodie, this time in cypresses by east field. We heard the young great spotted cuckoo call incessantly somewhere in the tree. Hooded crows were visible but seemed they were focussing on pre roost discussion and no feeding observed. After a short while those crows departed to the east valley crow roost. How soon do breeding crows rejoin flocks like this? Does having a young cuckoo to raise make this sooner? The cuckoo followed the other crows and this seemed to cause an upset at the roost. Would the other crows also be fooled or would they attack? Not clear what happened, they were definitely calling a lot and agitated, but we should check under the roost trees tomorrow.

This is the third crow/cuckoo brood we've found this season. This one by east field, one near the owl glade and the two young cuckoos near the trail down to north valley.. all separated by enough distance to make it likely we're not seeing same broods.

3 gazelle in east field, one on the north facing slopes of windsurfer hill, another two grazing by the dry stone walls closer to the little olive grove. None adult males. Hyrax activity at the cypress slum colony though only adults seen.. we didn't stay there long.

Collared doves heard as were great tits, greenfinches and graceful warblers by valley road. House sparrows around the houses as usual but seen in more places in the valley lately, edges of east field and gazelle field, foraging for grass seeds no doubt. Laughing doves and White spectacled bulbuls in the garden dawn on. Husband heard a single whistle from direction of neighbourhood which he thought was a Tristram's grackle by quality. Stone curlew calls heard from lower part of east field somewhere. Blackbirds about.

Bats seen more frequently these days at dusk, geckoes heard calling around the buildings any time of night. Millipedes much fewer now.

One last note about Tel Aviv trip.. husband and boys also brought back some shells, mostly cockles, a mussel shell and a cuttlefish 'bone', (of course not from a fish but from a squid like mollusc) - first I've seen straight from wild and not being sold in a petshop for birds! I put it on the windowsill to dry out thoroughly as it was rather smelly.

Today's range: 16-27 degrees C. Time of walk- ~6.30 p.m. or soon after- ~25 degrees C, 50% humidity, winds westerly 7-10 knots.

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