Monday, June 22, 2009

Snowflake sighted again.

Say ''hello" to the hyrax! Recent photo by Akiva. This one shows a good view of his front feet.

Some trees are struggling valiantly in the sapling field though surrounded by milk thistle almost as tall as themselves.. the park authorities need to cut that again! Some were Pistacio and some Ailanthus, hardy choices that can manage well in this dry climate. Ailanthus is also called ''Tree of Heaven" and is found all over the city. This one I took yesterday (Sunday) but wanted to devote that entry to the globe thistle fauna.

You'll probably need to lean back for the pic above so that you can make sense of it. The flank stripe and white belly are obvious but otherwise it blends into the surroundings. It has a big white spot on its forehead, a feature which makes this one easy to recognize. (''Snowflake". We've seen this one grazing near the central watercourse of gazelle field in the past) We need a telephoto! So much sharper and prettier in binocular sights, this does not do it justice at all. Those are ears you see, no sign of horns. This was in the pine grove between the north valley dirt road and watercourse where it heads out into gazelle field.

This is one of three gazelle we saw in that area, this with the white spot, another with thin uneven horns (but not lefty), - these two were seen together not long after making their way through the field not far from the north valley watercourse, very casual and grazing. They knew we were there, we were upwind for a start and they could see us but were not spooked, as long as we are at least 70 yards off they show no fear at all. We also saw a handsome adult male, first noticed him under the same pines and then he too moved out into the open and grazed across the watercourse. For a little while he seemed to be pushing his horns repeatedly into a bush as if he were sparring, then he settled down to graze.

Hyrax: Some activity by valley road.

Bee-eaters: Heard calling somewhere up above over the forest most of the walk.
Hobbies: Some calls. Turtle doves: some coos
Collared doves: some coos, flight calls, flying about, general activity.
Eurasian Jays: About, between trees, busy.
Graceful warblers: Calling by valley road as usual.
Great tits: Some calls amongst the pines near central trail
Greenfinches: Calls in the pines as usual
Hooded crows: returning from forage somewhere north and east towards sunset, very loose flock.
House sparrows, Laughing doves: around buildings as usual
Stone curlews: Calls from fields towards sunset.
Sunbirds: In the Bauhinia, heard calling sharply and melodiously shortly after 5 a.m.
Syrian woodpeckers: Some calls.
White spectacled Bulbuls: Calls in the Bauhinia about 5 a.m.

This handsome specimen below we found taking a stroll on valley road at about 10.30 p.m. We don't usually take the camera on those walks but we had spoken recently of seeing nocturnal life and husband remembered. It made no attempt to attack us and of course we didn't provoke it, assuming it doesn't mind the flashes.

I think this scorpion is a Jericho Nebo, Nebo hierichonticus, and measured just 5 cm from claw tips to the curve of the tail. (Add another couple of centimetres for the tail itself) . This species can get double that size. First scorpion we've seen this season.

Weather: Range: 20-29 degrees C ( 68-84.2 degrees F) Time of walk: started just before 7 p.m. again 25 degrees C, 77 degrees F. Humidity: 40-45%, wind W/NW 6-11 kt.

No comments: