Thursday, June 25, 2009

Walk with the boys

This is a view east down the central path towards the bunker rubble and the pines there. Today we took the boys, Moshe and Avremi- always livens things up!

Within a short while Akiva spotted two gazelle in the shade of the pines off to the left of the path (north eastish). Through binoculars one had thin uneven horns, the other had none visible at all and was noticeably smaller though not tiny- looked like mother and young. A few minutes later another well grown youngster, alone, strolled out of the east valley woods from the right (southish), entered the near part of 'gazelle field' and stood and gazed at us for a few minutes while Moshe took pictures. After a short while it recrossed central trail and headed back to the east valley woods.

As we admired it we also noticed a hoopoe and a Eurasian jay foraging on the trail nearby- such a difference in styles- the hoopoe meandered about like a chicken poking its long bill delicately at the red dusty ground and the jay pounced about, jabbing aggressively, flying briefly between positions.

We heard fluid bee-eater calls and waited as they seemed to be approaching. Presently they flew into view from over the eucalyptus by look-out corner, first a dozen.. then more and yet more till the sky whirled with them, at least 70 individuals, and heading north not far above canopy level towards the hillside.

Akiva spotted a fourth gazelle later, just emerging onto gazelle field from the most north easterly tip of the pines- this time an adult male with beautifully curved horns.

Below: when I arrived at this globe thistle (near the cistern) there were at least half a dozen of these bees on top of the flower. They took off together at my approach like a squadron and made themselves scarce but after a minute or so this one came back.

Many of the leaves of Pistacios in the eucalyptus grove were infected with galls- hard bulbous red growths probably caused by tiny parasitic wasps or some other insect.

Reptiles: Geckoes heard from a building as we returned to the neighbourhood shortly after sunset.

Turtle doves: Brief cooing in the pines
Blackbirds: song, calls.

Collared doves: Coos and activity, stone curlews: some calls.
Eurasian Jays: Quite a few raucous calls and activity
Feral pigeons: a few flying about Graceful warblers: vocal by valley road
Great tits: some calls. Greenfinches: some calls, Syrian woodpeckers, calls
Great spotted cuckoo, calls and brief glimpse by Akiva

Hooded crows, House sparrows, Laughing doves: as usual. Sunbirds, vocal in the garden

Temp: reached 32 degrees Celsius today, (~89.5 degrees F)

Time of walk (approaching 7 p.m. ) 86 degrees C, humidity ~50%, NW wind

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