Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More pink and purple and Bug eyes.

Another leek flower, this one standing about four and a half feet high just off the service road through the pine grove at the east end of north valley. In checking for an I.D. I found something interesting. I think this is Allium ampeloprasum, simply known as wild leek and as shum gavoa in Hebrew. Apparently it has quite a range of variation from quite deep purple to very pale.. just like the pale specimen we found growing close to east valley watercourse and posted in the May 27th entry (close up on June 1st) . Photo of pale version had a purple stem which our pale one did not (there's likely variation in this as well), but the purple floret stem bases matched and as I said at the time the Hermon species does not have that. Till I found that pic of the pale variation I wondered if we had three species of leek on the area but now seems to be two, including the pinker, shorter Carmel. Below, zoom up of florets from one of the other pics I took.

The flower in the pic below seemed to be similar to the Linum pubescens, the hairy pink flax we found much earlier in the spring, but that is supposed to be finished blooming a month ago and this seemed different in some ways.. not so close to the ground but growing up stems a foot high or more, leaves small and narrow and all flowers pretty much closed like this but it was almost sunset when we found them. It was growing in the same kind of habitat as the pink flax, this one found on the eastern slopes of the hill north of gazelle field.

After having failed to catch up with any of the Satyrid (brown) butterflies fluttering about the pine grove where we found the leek - they were very flighty today and didn't seem to want to settle on anything for more than a fraction of a second- I finally found this fly resting on a twig. It's one of the blow flies, family Calliphoridae, possibly one of genus Chrysomya but what struck me was the big brown eyes in contrast to the bright red eyes I've usually seen on this group. It probably also means there was something dead nearby.

We left valley road shortly after its turn south and headed down through the pines cross country to meet with the north valley dirt road and from there we took the service road up the hill (though it's hardly that, more of a rough trail, we call it a road because it's clearly used by heavy vehicles from time to time). From those hillslopes we headed down east to the watercourse (now dry of course) which runs along the east side of gazelle valley and from there, by the cistern, bunker rubble, look out corner, then back to valley road via central trail.

All the ground behind look out corner, under the eucalyptuses and pine grove behind it had been charred by yesterday's fire but it had not spread to the orchard or to the ground west of east valley watercourse, or farther south than that grove. A small patch was burnt across central trail and patches here and there each side of central trail on the way to owl glade.

Two adult buck gazelle sighted across north valley watercourse not far west from the bat cave. We've seen two male gazelle walking and running together in that region several times now and wonder about their relationship. Are they brothers? Chums from childhood? I find it interesting to see two males together like this, not part of the bachelor herd.. unless they are part time, and not attached to herd of females and young. Does make me wonder.

As usual collared doves and some turtle doves cooing in the woods, laughing doves cooing in garden and active foraging in the street. Flock of jackdaws accompanied by some hooded crows foraging on lower hillslopes north of gazelle field. Quite vocal. At least 30 or 40 birds, concealed in long dry grass and vegetation for much of the time. Graceful warbler calls by valley road, greenfinches quieter today, blackbirds? Young great spotted cuckoo heard on the way down first set of pines and glimpsed flying over us. Wheatears up on the rocks by the fence up on east side of gazelle field.

Bee-eaters, 8 or 9 or more resting on electricity lines along the service road leading up the hill, then taking off with their melodious contact calls and hawking over the hill slopes.

Garden: White spectacled bulbul and sunbird calling from dawn as usual now, along with the chirping of house sparrows.

Warmer today! Temps ranged from 21 to ~32.5 degrees C. Time of walk, ~6.45 p.m. ~26 degrees and falling. Humidity: in the 40s% and rising, wind: NW/W 4-9 knots

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