Monday, June 8, 2009

East valley discoveries

Compare this with the flowers in # 459 June 4th entry. I do think I got that pic upside down! I corrected this error. They are basically the same kind of flower but these blooming this year are definitely more yellowish and lower petals more spread- could be a related species. These were south west of the pumping station, up on the west bank but just like those between north watercourse and hidden watercourse. The paler ones from last year were found near the bat cave so I need to check those again this year.

For all those who were wondering what happened to the "Maccabee's blood" Helichrysum sanguineum, I can now relieve the suspense. We found many that were showing rosettes of dandelion like hairy seeds.

Below: a small tree, barely more than a bush yet a few feet high, growing on the slopes near the others above. Only one of its kind I've seen in the area so far. Boissier, Kermes and Mount Tabor oaks all have this kind of leaf and grow in the Judean mountains. To know for sure which I'd have to see the acorn and this little specimen was too young for that yet.

This husband spotted just down from valley road under the cypresses just after sunset: a mother hyrax feeding four babies on a boulder! It was much lighter than this to the human eye but already dark for the camera. After getting this shot husband tried to get closer but other adults on the slopes chirped an alarm and mother and little ones scurred down and under the rocks. This pic is a zoom of the original and I have also enhanced the contrast to show the hyraxes against the rock more clearly. The mother's left retina is reflecting the flash which unfortunately was not close enough to illuminate them better.

For a change we turned right instead of left after crossing the bridge over the east valley watercourse, heading south/west towards Pisgat Zeev. I then recrossed the watercourse to explore the slopes on the other side in the hope of finding any vegetation we might have missed so far. We were rewarded by the baby oak and the flowers above.

Garden: White spectacled bulbul, sunbird, laughing dove, house sparrows.

Woods: Eurasian jays, Syrian woodpeckers, Hooded crows, jackdaws, chukar partridges, collared doves, blackbirds in song. Hobby call?

A tiny lizard scampering amongst the fallen wine coloured eucalyptus leaves and rocks.. unfortunately too quick to escape from the camera. One of the Lacerta lizards and a young one.

Weather: 19-31 degrees C. Time of walk: ~6.45 p.m. ~25 degrees C, humidity, 65%, W/NW 5-8 knots

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