Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stroll in the fields.

These feathers we found on the bank of the watercourse where it borders the north east end of gazelle field. Those above are primary wing feathers and leading edge is indented about half way ( 4 mm wide top half vs 1 cm lower half) . Length, 35 cm long and 35.5 cm. You can't see the feather tips on this pic, the feather colour becomes considerably darker brown for the top 6 cm. Those below are much shorter and probably wing coverts, as you can see by the scale with my husband's thumbnail. There were also at least half a dozen smaller feathers which tells me this isn't moulting, this is remains of a wing! We looked around and found no bird corpse, we can probably assume a fox carried it off. From markings I'd guess they are of one of the Buteos but I'm asking Amir Balaban about these.

(27 aug) I just heard from Amir Balaban. He thinks the feathers look like those of a honey buzzard, Pernis apivorus, a large hawk that passes through here on migration in the late summer.
They don't eat honey but they will eat honeybees though they prefer wasps.

Below, eucalyptus flowers about half way along east valley watercourse trail. Different in many details from the euc flowers I took 9th july at look out corner. These have much darker central pits and no reddish colouration. The leaves are also shorter.

Gazelle: two today, one small one on lower northern slopes of windsurfer hill and then shortly after a slightly larger one with no obvious horns crossed our path as we headed down through the cypress grove, then recrossed, decided to head down north eastish

Hyrax: Several adults of the cypress slum colony out and about amongst the boulders on the forest side of valley road, some alarm screeches heard, could be because some other people were about on the road, family with children may have made them nervous.

At least 200 crows up on the hillside of windsurfer hill, most of them jackdaws, rest hooded crows, foraging on the ground mostly, taking off every now and again, then resettling.

As we set out, about 6.45 p.m. a flock of 50 bee-eaters wheeled up from the valley and flew over our street. Later, towards the end of our walk around sunset there were bee-eaters active around the cistern area.. no way of knowing for sure if they were the same flock, returned. Bee-eaters also heard from the house about dawn.

Sunbird in the garden, many squeak calls heard today. Also about, house sparrows, laughing doves, feral pigeon. Haven't heard the bulbul in the last couple of days but may have slept through it. I don't recall pre-dawn calls though. Husband thought he heard a Tristram's grackle, I briefly glimpsed a falcon, hobby I think.

Here's your memory of Wadi Qelt for the day. It strikes me as one of the Chenopodium, (Amaranth family) but could be something else. Like many of the vegetation we found there, none of it has been noticed on our 'patch' just a few miles up the same watercourse system.

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