Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The salmon that *flies* long distance, and uphill.

Today Moshe came with us and we walked down the short cut from the north west corner of valley road down to the north valley dirt road, spooking a few hyrax from the Shadiker colony along the way. Several adults scampered over the boulders for cover.

We were, as usual, on the alert for anything and everything. I can usually count on Moshe to find us extra goodies and we were not disappointed!

Moshe caught this image by the service road through the young pine grove. Rittner's site was helpful again, I I.D.d it as the Large Salmon Arab Madais fausta fausta. (Olivier) The upper wing is a pleasing pure salmon orange in colour with a couple of thin bars on the front of the forewings. This pic shows the underwing as the individual rested on a wild oat.

I just read they are a migratory species spending the summer months in the Levant (Here, Lebanon, Syria) and the winter in the Arabian peninsula, quite an astonishing distance for such a small and delicate insect, at least 900 miles.

Below, another of Moshe's pics.. a small but fully grown grasshopper found by the north valley dirt road. He was lucky, he got this one shot before it took off. How do we know it's an adult? Fully developed wings.

This pale heteropteran plant bug below I found on a dried up plant, also by the north valley dirt trail. There were several such bugs on that plant, but none on any others I noticed. This is a nymph, as told by the undeveloped wings, mere scallops on the top flanks.

Tumble thistle Gundelia flower heads as they look now, the seeds already emptied out of some of the partitions but still packed like sardines in others.

Moshe pretended to use main strength to drag a Gundelia out of the ground, which was very comical. We left the tumblethistle on the dirt road and went on our way and seconds later heard a dry rustle, turned around and the thistle was already rolling after us. It was so funny!

Salmon Arab butterfly from above fluttering over a patch of Eryngium- not sharp but it hardly stopped moving and it was really difficult to catch a view of the upper wing. Moshe did quite a nice job considering and certainly conveys a sense of the colour.

I heard distant bee-eaters, husband heard distant stone curlews but we both missed each other's calls - so it goes. Other birds much more obvious were collared doves, cooing and in flight between trees, laughing doves, cooing in the gardens, feral pigeons overhead here and there, white spectacled bulbuls in the garden, sunbirds in the garden, Moshe spotted one foraging quietly low in the Bauhinia branches, right outside my window and I found yet another feather of one on a bush near the shaft. We all saw a flock of at least 20 jackdaws returning low and quietly south over gazelle field to roost and a little later some hooded crows.

I noticed a Eurasian jay up on top of an acacia by the north valley watercourse and wondered if this was the one that came to check out Prince. Moshe found a jay blue wing covert feather on the ground at the edge of the road but no others about. Graceful warbler calls heard but the greenfinches were being quiet. Hobby called briefly about sunset.

Husband spotted a young gazelle for me up on the skyline ridge north-eastish, very small and young, no sign of horns. Also no sign of its mum but she could have been grazing just the other side of the ridge.

Cicadas heard in the pines by the east valley dirt road after sunset and some eucalyptus shedding a lot of bark.

Bats seen as we rose from central trail onto valley road, getting dark then.

Today's range: 24-31.5 degrees C. (75.2- 88.7 degrees F)

At time of walk: ~7 p.m. 27.7 degrees C (81.86)

humidity 46%, wind 5.2 knots and westerly.

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