Thursday, July 2, 2009

Beetles, ants, cats, jays etcetera

Here's one for fans of purple flowers and of bugs. One of the globe thistle beetles, though pic still not quite as sharp as I'd like, does show quite different head form and antennae from the red beetles that are even more numerous on the thistles. I also look out for anything else such as bees and that flower weevil that showed up once, and the crab spider that had caught a wasp which was neat. Always worth looking, never know what will show up next.

I also attempted some busy ant pics.. a trail crossing valley road carrying food and apparently the same large red and black species the boys photographed the other day (that one was close to the north valley dirt road, edge of gazelle field), but was not happy with them- I had wanted to capture their formidable mandibles but didn't manage today. Will try again!

Below, another frequent hunter on the hillslopes, a feral cat. This one has almost completely wild colouration right down to the magnificent barred tail but others, such as the ginger just visible top right, have more typical feral cat patterning. Often it seems the cats are trying their luck catching hyraxes though I've never seen them succeed but in this case I think this was a more 'social gathering'. It was waving its tail ominously and there were several other cats edging down towards a female in a rocky hollow just down from valley road.

Bean like seed pods of an acacia near the east valley water course.

For fans of Prince the jay, another mug shot of him showing a different angle on his 'moustache' . He's eating and drinking but still very quiet, probably not a bad thing given how loud they can screech.

Gazelle: no luck today. Hyrax: Not as active as yesterday. Feral cat, down from valley road, apparently a female in oestrus amongst the boulders.

Bee-eaters: Active over gazelle field, higher, a more closed flock of at least 25 individuals moving about.
Hobbies: Some calls unless it was a sparrowhawk, very similar but less shrill, but call was brief.
Turtle doves: Intermittant quieter coos heard in bunker rubble area.
Blackbirds: Some song.
Collared doves: active, cooing, couple up on the lines over east valley watercourse.
Eurasian Jays: Active in the woods, individuals glimpsed between trees.
Graceful warblers: Some calls.
Greenfinches: Some calls and foraging for thistle seed etc in gazelle field, then return flight to trees.
Hooded crows: Loose flock flying back from forage in the north, heading to windsurfer hill.
House sparrows: Around buildings as were Laughing doves:
Sunbirds: If they were calling in the garden I slept right through it!
Syrian woodpeckers: Numerous calls.
White spectacled Bulbuls: A couple foraging by valley road.

Today's range: 22.5-29.5 ( 72.5 - 85.1 degrees F)

Time of walk, just before 7 p.m. 25.8 degrees ( 78.44 degrees F )

Wind WSW 10.4 kt, humidity 38 %

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