Wednesday, September 2, 2009

More fire damage and recovery

Up from the ashes. This looks like one of the broader leaved eucalyptus type though the eucs all around had quite different leaves, longer, thinner narrower.. so how did it get there? This area burned weeks ago, I mentioned it back then in the blog and now we could see the tree damage. All the pistacios on that side of the dirt road from the main orchard had shrivelled leaves, they being quite short trees. The largest of them was already sprouting new leaves from axils on all levels. The eucs were damaged at least half way up their height so it was good to see this new growth above.

I neglected to mention that a new area burnt quite recently, about a week to two weeks ago. This new area is mainly that between the water course running roughly north south across the middle of gazelle field and the pines to the west of gazelle field. The damper area (in the rainy season) between the watercourse and bunker has still managed to escape charring.

This was a pic I took yesterday of the seedpod and seeds of spiny broom. They remind me of sweet corn! Much tinier though. Below, seeds of fennel or a close relative, not sure, was growing low amongst the thorny burnet and broom type by the north bend of valley road. Fennel is usually much taller.

Below: not as sharp as I'd like, I want to redo this tomorrow if I can. Some of the caper bushes along valley road were already sprouting new leaves after the bug damage but almost all of them were sprinkled with eggs on the underside. A few caper bugs were still about, one adult right next to one batch of eggs so it seems quite likely they are theirs.

Again bird life was relatively quiet last few days. I heard raucous white spectacled bulbul calls before 6 a.m. and a few melodious ones shortly after.. sunbird alarm sqeak calls heard many times today but no melodious calls or song. Plenty house sparrow chirps by the house.

Jackdaw calls heard several times throughout the day, from the sound of it a good size flock nearby about dawn. A flock was also somewhere over below Hizmeh late afternoon. A few hooded crows returning south home to roost late afternoon. Jays heard and glimpsed in the forest. Collared dove heard cooing near the cistern area, Syrian woodpecker call in eucalayptus grove.

Hobbies heard and seen numerous times over the last couple of days. Hard to know how many are about.. are the two we see often over east valley the same pair as over north valley or two pairs in two different territories? I suspect the latter from the number, location and frequency of sightings but can't be 100% sure. We did see 4 individuals flying north together over gazelle field about sunset, no chase so likely two of them were the young of this season and these bred successfully, always good!

Yesterday's walk: Shortly after sunset large quiet broad winged raptor type bird flew from look out corner area, made a brief arc over south part of gazelle field and returned to east valley woods. From shape and movements I'd say long eared owl.

Not a peep from greenfinches, chukars, bee-eaters, shrikes or turtle doves. Probably heard laughing dove in last day or so but don't recall particular instance.

Weather: 15-28 degrees C. Nights are getting cooler! 59-82.4 degrees F.humidity: ~30% late morning -early afternoon, 95% at night. Wind: mostly westerly veering NW/N much of the daylight hours.

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