Sunday, August 30, 2009

Raptor conflict, dog days, sat-mon

Two eucalyptus tree views showing the drying ground cover, and below, Hizmeh hill behind. The fields are favoured by black eared wheatears and stone curlews ('thick knees), as well as foraging hooded crows and jackdaws, grazed by gazelle, and roamed by dark foxes. The trees are used by Syrian woodpeckers, greenfinches, bee-eaters, hobbies, hoopoes, masked shrikes and other birds.

Gazelle: Saturday: Boys saw at least half a dozen earlier in the afternoon, I spotted buck, made his way down hillside to graze north east corner of gazelle field. None on sunday but scat seen in sapling field, scat also seen today many places near north valley watercourse, some clearly repeatedly used.
Hyrax: Sun,sat, alarm calls and glimpses pumphouse colony and cypress slum colony. mon, alarm barks and shrills at Shadiker colony.
Feral dogs: two today, lone male by pumping station, another lone dog along security road, not totally canaani, looks like it had some mastiff.
Reptiles: where are the agama lizards? haven't seen any this season at all. Aharon says he sees them earlier in the day when the sun is higher, which makes sense.
Bee-eaters: not a peep from them for days.
Hobbies: Sun: two briefly harassing a Eurasian sparrowhawk over north slopes of windsurfer hill. They came from direction of Hizmeh. After brief aerial interaction one headed back to Hizmeh, other flew over towards peak of windsurfer hill. The sparrowhawk headed towards woods, look-out corner direction.

Collared doves: from pine grove east of cistern to cistern pine and then across gazelle field to younger pines.
Eurasian Jays: calls, glimpses all days
Feral pigeons: aloft, about buildings, quite active late afternoon
Jackdaws: vocal, active esp lower slopes of hill on which Hizmeh stands, calls all days
Hooded crows: a few up on windsurfer hill
House sparrows:about buildings, chirping early mornings
Laughing doves: cooing in gardens
Sunbirds: squeak calls from gardens. neighbour reported full song.
Syrian woodpeckers: calls esp. around eucalyptus grove
White spectacled Bulbuls: last few days many gutteral calls.. saw activity of at least three, probably more in the willow, likely whole family, late brood of fledgelings, one at top seemed to have food in bill for them.

Today: monday, we walked towards the quarry. Again bird life limited, mainly Eurasian jays. The yellow thistle, the blue tuft thistle and that small headed purple job I photographed a few weeks ago still in bloom, as is the low yellow pea family plant by the road verge and polygonum. Everything else is drying and going to seed. Only green is on cypress and pine, the growth of Inula and what looks like
the foliage of Chiliadenus iphionoides, (''goldilocks'') a composite with a brilliant yellow small star like flower. I photographed the flower at the end of september last year, it started to bloom shortly after the first rain had fallen. I've been watching this foliage grow up in clumps all over the place for the last few weeks.. watching and waiting for it to bloom. I suspect this is the goldilocks but may be wrong.. will just have to wait and see!
Seedpods of spiny broom had burst open revealing tiny seeds.. I made pics but must add them later.. (husband downloads them onto his pc but not copied to mine yet, may still be in the camera! )

Blackbirds, Chukar partridges, graceful warblers, great tits, greenfinches, stonecurlews: keeping low profile lately

Weather: mon: range 18-27 degrees C. (64.4- 80.6 degrees F) , wind: westerly at night, NW/N much of the day.
humidity, ~36% early afternoon, 94+ at night.

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