Monday, July 20, 2009

A stroll towards the quarry

We found several cushions of this small composite growing at the lowest north east edge of the neighbourhood by Shadiker, near the beginning of the trail leading down to the north valley dirt road. It's a lot like groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) in flower form but leaves are very different, paler, hairy, small and simple in form. I did not find another Senecio with this foliage. Nearby much Inula (ragwort type) is coming up strong, much rank smelling foliage and already some blooms. Figs are green and getting larger on neighbourhood trees.

That yellow thistle is still out, though very little green on it, just a few green leafy thorns on the stem just below each flower, some mullein still flowering as well as the roadside low soft yellow broom type as well as globe thistle, now finishing, and thyme still peaking. Golden thistle is over and no sign Syrian thistle ever were. Gundelia found detached, an entire deciduous plant ready to roll the dirt roads like tumbleweed as I'd read. One really short stemmed globe thistle found close to the dirt road, a few of the green beetles on it but no red. We wondered if the persistent wind coming down that section had inhibited its growth since most globe thistles are about three feet high and how that affects which beetles it has- and how that in turn affects the plant.

Below, an earth (fox's den) we found just up the north bank of the north valley watercourse, not far from the quarry. No evidence of recent use.

Early birds today: 5.18 a.m. Bulbul, ~5.28 a.m. sunbird and house sparrow 5.33 laughing doves. Also hooded crow caws around that time. As you see, a few minutes later still as sun gets up a little later each day now, though all of these when still pretty dark.

No luck on gazelle today but some hyrax heard, shrill alarm calls from quarry colony.

Collared doves very vocal and active today, coos and flight calls and activity noticed between trees. No turtle doves heard at all along that stretch. Feral pigeon over the neighbourhood earlier and laughing doves as mentioned and foraging on sidewalks and crumb corner.

Jays active and vocal today but though we listened alertly heard no chukars or grackles. One small raptor overhead, kestrel? Graceful warblers vocal in various places, valley road and towards the quarry but blackbirds keeping a low profile. A quiet afternoon for birds! Jackdaws heard from direction of A Ram and from the house earlier. Bee-eaters also heard and flock of over 25 flying over NE edge of neighbourhood. Some hooded crows about.

Some Satyrid and a white butterfly seen but didn't get close enough to see which, and grasshoppers of course as well as ants and occasional black millipede still esp. on evening walk.

Weather: range: 22 to just over 30 degrees C today ( 71.6 -86+degrees F) - time of walk: approaching 7 p.m ~27.5 degrees C (81.5 degrees F), humidity: ~45%, wind: westerly 9-13 knots

No comments: