Monday, August 24, 2009

First half of the week

view from look-out corner looking north eastish towards the bunker pines and rubble. In this area we've seen black redstart and European robins in the winter, black eared wheatear family and bee-eaters in the summer, hoopoes, syrian woodpeckers and Eurasian jays pretty much year round. The trees you see are a favourite hang-out of greenfinches and collared doves and are also visited by goldfinches and others.

Monday morning: White spectacled bulbul started up a few minutes before 6 a.m. Sunbirds heard later in the garden.

Monday afternoon: plenty hyrax activity along valley road.. quite dramatic when two burst out between the thorny burnet right in front of us. Shortly after husband spotted a feral cat down there, amongst the rocks, cypress tree trunk bases.. no doubt that's what had spooked them up to the road.

Feral pigeons, Tristram's starling whistles heard from direction of windsurfer hill just as it was beginning to get dark.

Most interesting were the calls heard in the almond row and then not long after in Pistacio grove which sounded to me like those of masked shrike but we didn't see the birds, light already failing. I had not noticed any bird fly between the locations so expect we're talking about a number of shrikes in the area.

Tuesday morning: laughing dove started cooing about 5.55 a.m. and right after that just a few melodious notes of a white spectacled bulbul, a few more then a hooded crow at 5.57 followed by chirps of house sparrows. Sunbird alarm squeaks heard at 6.02 a.m.

Later on tuesday: another quiet day. Where did the bee-eaters go? Greenfinches and many others keeping a low profile. Jays squawking nasally, hobby calls, some collared dove coos.
Syrian woodpecker seen in the eucalyptus grove, female I think.

I did spot a group of four gazelle in the field/lower hill slopes just east of the bat cave.

Wednesday: morning: harsh social calls of bulbul in the garden ~5.48 a.m. 5.52 sunbird squeaks followed almost immediately after by house sparrow chirps. Melodious bulbul calls a few minutes later.

We again approached gazelle field from the north valley watercourse even though we'd be upwind because out in the open area they will be sure to keep at a distance comfortable for them even if they are aware of us.. which of course they were immediately. We first noticed an individual grazing by the bat cave.. I took it for a young male (?) but could not be sure.. markings esp. on head, seemed sharper, darker than those of females I've seen, short horns. An adult male approached from the direction of the young pine grove (where he's often been seen) and followed with interest.. at this point I thought maybe I was wrong, maybe female after all but still .. hmm wonder if an adult buck could make that same mistake? He kept a respectful distance, grazing nearby and approaching cautiously.. then casually sauntered over and put his head down, looked as if he were about to sniff hindquarters. The other got moving briskly and headed down towards the watercourse and away, the adult male still following. Could just be sharpness of features typical of 'teenage' gazelle, male and female.

Very young hyrax seen at Shadiker colony and calls from there later I took at first for chukars, they were so similar, but more grating.

Hobbies, at least two individuals very vocal in trees both sides of watercourse and took to air, circled a couple of times. Syrian woodpecker call heard. Hooded crows about.

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