Monday, June 29, 2009

Jay rescue

This above - by valley road I noticed the short leguminous shrub growing together with Polygonum (horsetail knotweed) and thought the combination pretty so took some shots- noticed later on the zoom the red and black plant bug, probably Pyrrhocoris apterus, also known as the firebug. (or Scantius aegyptius or related )

Avremi captured this pic of an opened seedpod - magnified, the actual seedpod was barely half a centimetre across. All this kind had three chambers like this and each held at least two seeds.

(As I write I can hear Bauhinia pods bursting out their seeds every few minutes, a disconcerting effect if you don't know what it is! )

These were between valley road and the north valley turn off, we headed off the path under the pines near where we found that carob tree and Moshe always has fun jumping down the limestone shelves and boulders.

Below: Hyrax, eyes lit by the flash. They must have good night vision to have light gathering retinas like this and we have seen them occasionally scampering about well after dark especially in the neighbourhood gardens along the snake path.

The boys found a very busy ant nest, ants of two distinct sizes collecting and milling around industriously. The large ones were quite aggressive and swarmed onto us if we let them, the boys received a few nips. We need a better pic to show their mandibles.

Gazelle: We noticed an adult male today in gazelle field not far from the north valley watercourse, peacefully grazing.
Boys noticed a gazelle up on the hill to the north but couldn't make out definite horns.
Hyrax: A few hyrax noticed at the Shadiker colony.

Boys noticed the
fox family this morning on their return from their campsite, must have been around 7 a.m. Mom vixen and three cubs making their way quickly up the hidden watercourse and then up its northern banks.

The younger boys also came with us for the walk this afternoon. Avremi likes to use the camera and Moshe wanted to check out the cistern for toads or whatever. Turned out to be a good decision!
Bee-eaters Lots of activity over gazelle field, eucalyptus grove and the lower part of east field beyond. Scores, hard to estimate numbers because of the way they moved about and that we did not have all of them in view at any one time but something over 60.

Turtle doves: Some coos heard.
Blackbirds: no song but a pair whistling thin alarm call by central trail on the way back.
Chukar partridges: some calls heard as we arrived at the north watercourse dirt road.
Collared doves: coos, flight calls, general activity.
Eurasian Jays: Activity, calls as usual, and a RESCUE! The boys found a bird that had somehow become waterlogged in the cistern. They rescued it and before they could even ask ''can we keep it" I told them to take it home as at least a temporary pet. Jays are omnivorous and therefore quite easy to feed on table scraps and was already taking pieces of bread by the time Akiva and I arrived home. Soon it was sitting quite calmly on Moshe's hand without restraint. We used an old cage we have for its quarters when not being handled, more to protect it from the dog and other accidents around the home. We must get pics of him when he looks less bedraggled! Aharon was impressed at the beautiful blue barring on his wings.

Greenfinches: Twitters and chaws in the pines as usual.
Hooded crows: A few flying about.
House sparrows: Around the houses as usual and a small flock today at the bunker ruins foraging on grass and apparently also thistle seed.
Laughing doves: around buildings and cooing as usual.
Stone curlews: Calls from fields from about sunset onwards
Sunbirds: melodious short calls in the garden since about 5 a.m.
Syrian woodpeckers: A few in the eucalyptus groves, calling and banging beaks into the eucalyptus trunks.
White spectacled Bulbuls: calling in the garden from about 5 a.m.

Mr. Goldwasser reported a large bird in the valley, from his description most likely a long legged buzzard.

Weather: today's range, 16- almost 30 degrees C, ( 60.8 F - 86 F)
Time of walk, starting about 6.30 p.m. ~27 degrees C. (80.6 degrees F)
humidity ~40%, winds NW/NNW, 7-8 kt.

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