Saturday, September 12, 2009

The boys' pit exploration

Here my boys share with you their (supervised! ) exploration into a pit on the hills slopes between the east watercourse dirt road and villa hill, Pisgat Zeev. The pit is about a quarter of the way up the slope or less and is partially blocked by a large boulder, though still with a hole big enough for entry. Someone chalked 'danger, fall!' (sacana mapolet) on the boulder.

Below, Avremi descends into the darkness by rope. The boys had already checked the location of the bottom by flashlight, between 15 and 20 feet down.

The pit turns out to be flask shaped, the lower part widens out at least twice or three times the diameter of the entry 'neck'. Clearly you don't want to be trapped down here. This is why we brought rope and strong father to haul them out when they were done! The cave has a side tunnel, artifically excavated but unsafe, signs of cave in. The boys wisely decided not to go that way!
Below, view looking up at the entry and the boulder.. don't worry, it was way too big to fall in! Note also the maidenhair fern in the neck, now the third location in the area I've found this plant.

Much of the bottom of the pit was a pool of water, hard to tell how deep, Moshe judged at least a couple of feet. This and the pic below of the 'roof' were enhanced in terms of brightness and contrast to bring out the fantastic patterning.

Below, Moshe leaves, rather reluctantly, after having made a little video down there and taken more pics.
Biblical stories come to mind. Joseph was probably dropped into a pit very like this one. You wouldn't get badly hurt falling in but escape would be pretty impossible without help and/or equipment. This also brings to mind the well covered by a rock in the story of Jacob, which he moved singlehandedly though normally several shepherds were needed. Moshe found a bucket and cord at the bottom amongst other debris, no doubt used much more recently by shepherds/goatherds.

This is the second one we have found just in the Yaar Mir region, the other being near the turn off to north valley though that was about half as deep and without the accented flask shape, though also with a boulder on top.

What has been around lately? Reporting today, saturday night.

Gazelle: Today I found an adult male with a white marking on his forehead, grazing just beyond the line of almonds in north field. Later also found a group of at least four on the lower slopes of windsurfer hill. A few days ago noticed another individual near the top of windsurfer hill.

Hooded crows were doing their windsurfing stuff a few days ago, as usual, just off the upper west slopes where the westerlies buffer the slopes and provide endless entertainment for these crows. Jackdaws were also about but don't seem to be interested in tumbling around in the air currents.

Lots of Hyraxes about. Today alarm barks heard near the pumphouse station, (slopes up west), lots of young ones seen at the cypress slum colony recently. A dead adult seen a few days ago at the Shadiker colony, no obvious injuries. Within a day a dead adult seen on valley road.. husband thought same one and that perhaps one of the feral dogs had been trying to drag it to its den near the pumphouse but been interrupted. Black feral cat seen hunting by the fence on the east. No foxes seen lately at all but does seem a general rise in number of feral dogs about. Bat seen today at dusk on our way back to valley road.

Hobbies regularly heard and seen, at least four in the area, perhaps more. One heard calling at about 10.15 p.m. in the north valley.

Syrian woodpeckers vocal, some stone curlew calls also after dark, occasional blackbird alarm calls but no song. Collared doves still about, but turtle doves not seen or heard from recently. No peep either from bee-eaters or chukars.

In the garden some melodious white spectacled bulbul calls and sunbird song heard early afternoon today. Feral pigeons about around rooftops and jackdaws heard frequently. laughing doves quieter than usual lately.

Geckoes heard from outside long after dark, crickets still chirping like cell phones, German wasp in the house (that will increase) and increase of ants noticed. Still occasional large black millipedes on walls and sidewalks.

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