Sunday, August 9, 2009

Here, there and everywhere

European kingfisher Alcedo atthis , by the beach near Hadera on the Mediterreanean coast. We have also seen these on a rocky pier in Tel Aviv and in both cases the birds didn't seem to mind that plenty people were using the beach nearby. The salt water doesn't seem to do the plumage any favours, in the Tel Aviv birds too I noticed a significant darkening of wing colour from their normal iridescent turquoise. Many years ago I noticed this kind of kingfisher perched by a rock pool at Southerndown beach in south Wales in early December but I remember that bird's plumage looking normal. Could be it had not immersed as much as these birds or that the pollution in eastern Mediterranean water has this effect.

Cattle egrets, Bubulcus ibis, are quite common in many grassy areas throughout the country. They have occasionally visited our patch and here several were strolling around the fields, not far from where husband and the kids pitched camp. A great place for camping if you like the wilds, no amenities whatsoever but free! Even nicer, I remember from last time, the earth was mostly sand which is very comfortable to sleep upon.

Below, the egrets take flight: As with most of the herons you see the head is pulled back, the neck in an S shape, in contrast to storks and cranes which hold their heads forward on a straight neck. (Akiva reported seeing a white stork in the Beat Shean area, just south of the Sea of Galilee. At this time of year! )

S= sunday, M=monday, T = tuesday

Sunday: 4.31 a.m. a laughing dove started up cooing but probably because of disturbances outside, woke up. They coo at a drop of a hat. Today several pairs were feeding at crumb corner late afternoon. M, T : heard many times in the garden
White spectacled bulbul started up with melodious calls today at 5.39 a.m. M,T: similar. Sunbirds and, much farther off, hooded crows started up at about 5.48 a.m. M: loose flock heading home to south not long before sunset. Sunbird later heard, male, subsong and foraging actively in the Bauhinia outside my window early afternoon. M,T: many squeaky alarm calls heard, and sunbird glimpsed foraging in the Bauhinia

Today (sunday) husband and the younger kids went to the beach, Mediterranean coast around 'Hadera area. Akiva e mailed me that they had seen a small flock of ring necked parakeets, some egrets ( probably cattle egrets), seen European kingfisher (above) and also heard and saw stone curlew.

Fruit bats also seen near the beach. Rousettus aegyptiacus

Afternoon walk here: great tit calls, some greenfinch alarm calls in the rubble pines, some twitters but otherwise quiet. M: did not hear these. T: greenfinch twittering in bunker pines
Collared doves very much in evidence in that area between bunker rubble and cistern, flying about the field, between trees and some down by cistern, joined by turtle doves. Hoopoe noticed dust bathing on the path just east and beyond the cistern.

T: collared doves cooing. Chukar partridges also heard just south of the pumping station.

Graceful warblers very vocal sunday and monday, watched a whole family on the move in scrub on the bank below the north curve of valley road. Calls also tuesday.

Hobby calling somewhere in the pines just north of central trail. T: calls heard somewhere south of pumping house shortly after sunset.

Bee-eaters S: heard on and off through the day. Tuesday: Flock on the other side of the eucalyptus grove, several dozen but impossible to count on the other side of the trees.. settling on the branches, then taking off and hawking over the north end of east field.

A few Jackdaw calls somewhere and raucous screeches of Eurasian jays somewhere in the pines. Syrian woodpeckers heard numerous times, also monday and tuesday.

Salmon Arab butterfly
noticed by bunker rubble.

barks also heard sunday and monday, latter at pumphouse colony. Some activity also at Shadiker colony on monday. Heard also on tuesday.

On Monday: At Park HaYarden just north of the Sea of Galilee Akiva reported that the family saw bee-eaters, ring necked parakeets, kingfishers, egrets, hooded crows and insect eating bats but they were much too busy having other fun to take more observations!

Monday's weather back here in Jerusalem: Range: 19.5-28.5 degrees C. ( 67.1- 83.3 degrees F) , humidity range ~50% in the heat of the day to ~95% at night, winds, westerly, veering north in the heat of the day, and later blowing in small cumulus.

No comments: