Sunday, July 12, 2009


Look at the superb camouflage of the grasshopper above.. the dorsal stripe looks just like a stalk of grass and head area exact colour of the earth. The one below looks obvious from this close but even if you just stand upright the stripes break up its outline so that it 'disappears' amongst ground debris.

Today we made a late start because of vet visit, already after 7.20 p.m. summer time when we headed around valley road, via central trail to towards the bunker ruins then, because jogger near cistern would have spooked wildlife before us, we turned left onto the north valley dirt road, took service road through the pines (where we first saw the fox today), crossed north valley watercourse and made our way east along a rough trail, transversing the north part of gazelle field to the watercourse at its eastern border.

Most vegetation here now dried out and finished, grass harsh and golden, seedheads, seedpods, burrs, prickles of all sorts, mole rat mounds, deep dense soil in this region now cracked by dry season but not hard, grasshoppers everywhere very camouflaged. One kind that caught my eye had vivid red/orange wings when jump/fluttering but these vanished to perfect camouflage when they land. We did, however, find and photograph a couple, seem to be different species from each other and comparing with pics of grasshoppers earlier in the season, different species from those too. Not easy to tell until you compare photographs because they often have some basic markings in common (outline breaking stripes across body) but amazing how much the details can vary.

Gazelle: None today
Hyrax: Did not pass any colonies, but husband did notice one just below the school the other day, a part of the bank where seems to be a small colony, occasionally notice activity.
Fox in woods by service road, headed over towards bat cave, stood on flat rocks over there and gazed back at us before heading into the cypresses over there. light brown head paler around muzzle, darker patches on side.
Bee-eaters: Calls of flock just after 5.30 a.m this morning, flock active north west gazelle field around sunset
Turtle doves, collared doves: Some coos.
Eurasian Jays: activity between trees, foraging on ground in the woods.. Vet came today to give dog vaccination also checked out Prince and gave clean bill of health, yeah!
Graceful warblers: some calls, Great tits: some calls
Greenfinches: flocks on gazelle field again on the thistles.
Jackdaws: 5.48 a.m. heard from house somewhere to east.
Hooded crows: Heard cawing at least 15 mins before 5 a.m. and a few more times over next half hour or so
House sparrows:In the garden, chirping from ~5.20 a.m.
Laughing doves: In the garden, heard cooing from soon after 5.20 a.m.
Stone curlews: calls from fields as it began to draw dark, sounded like from field just east of Pistacio orchard.
Sunbirds: squeaky call heard in the garden ~5.20 a.m.
Syrian woodpeckers:
White spectacled Bulbuls: getting up a little later, 5.18 a.m. in the garden but another one farther off started at least five minutes earlier.

Range today: 22 -31 degrees C, time of walk: ~28 degrees C, ~32% humidity, wind W/NW 3-5 kt

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