Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tree with green fruits

This picture hardly does justice to the charm of the little tree perched atop the lichen covered rocks. After taking the pic I climbed up to find out what kind of tree it was, expecting a hawthorn or something like that but it was quite different, below showing leaves and developing fruit. Broad leaves shiny and waxy above, pale below and fruit like small figs. I wondered if it might be a sycomore fig but I don't know if any grow at these altitudes. I shall have to watch these fruits and see how they develop. I haven't seen any others like this in the area.

The pale plants just below it are Ballota and most other small bushes are thorny burnet, some cypress and pine standing tall farther back and behind.

We climbed up past the tree to connect with another trail which would take us back down to the dirt road and on the way found what appeared to be an old mikveh (for ritual water immersion) excavated out of the rock, two rectangular cavities, the larger with large rough steps leading in. At first I thought it might be a cistern and husband thought perhaps it was used as a hiding place during one of the wars in the last century.

Above, more drying seed heads. Below, an example of ''you never know what you'll get" even after we've arrived home from our walk. On zooming in to the pics of the pink flowers we took on the hillside (June 3rd entry #458) I found this tiny plant bug at the base of the flower. On another of those flowers I found a tiny bright orange spider with white spots, though the photo of it was rather blurred.

Nice views of hobbies flying to and fro over north valley, almost sunset. Chukar partridges heard on the opposite hillside. Turtle doves not noticed but collared doves active and vocal, flight calls also heard.

Hooded crows and jackdaws about as well as blackbirds, graceful warblers, and all the time calls of bee-eaters above the valley plying to and fro and hawking for flying insects. Screams of swifts as it started to get dark.

Street and gardens: laughing doves, feral pigeons, house sparrows (which continue to forage quite far from buildings for grass seeds) . I don't remember if I heard bulbuls and sunbirds today.

No gazelle or hyrax noticed today. Low fire by the trail from valley road to north valley dirt road, we went down by a different route and stayed upwind.

Weather: Today's range: 18-25.5 degrees C, time of walk- almost 7 p.m. ~23 degrees and falling. Humidity: 55% and rising fast, wind W/NW, 6-9.5 knots.

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