Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A collection of days

Image from Wiki of Stonechat, Saxicola rubicola - now just returned to the patch.. see below.

Grasshoppers still abound in the fields. This is a Pyrgomorphella again, a very common though strange looking type with its elongated eyes and knobbly antennae type. A second grasshopper was nearby, more typical, green and pale brown longitudinal stripes and a fraction of the size, but was apparently camera shy...

'Everything comes down to poo..' We found several mounds of scat like that on the left, far more elongated than regular gazelle poop (and much too small in proportions to be porcupine poop, similar in shape) and here we found both kinds side by side. Why the change in form? More moisture due to the rains? If so, why does other gazelle scat stay spherical? One grazing near the watercourse, the other up on the hill? Perhaps that on the left is a female's and the male deliberately deposited his right next to hers?

Tuesday 27 Oct: Lots of hyrax on valley road, variety of ages.

28 Oct: Two large flocks of jackdaws at least one hundred individuals each returning from forage in the north towards sunset, shortly after followed by about 40 hooded crows.
Syrian woodpecker calls, blackbird chak chak calls at dusk, bats?

Thursday 29 Oct: Gazelle,
lone male buck north field/lower slopes just east of bat cave about sunset. No other gazelles seen today.

feral pigeons about, house sparrows, sunbird in the garden singing early afternoon briefly. Eurasian jays, some hooded crows and jackdaws flying home to roost but not in numbers as yesterday

Some rain today, cooler but still mild.

Saturday 31st Oct: Most significant.. the return of the stonechats! Numerous individuals heard by bunker rubble, around cistern, around dry stone walls and almond row in general.. one spotted in fading light perched on top of thorny burnet.. just after sunset they call to each other from every direction.

Gazelles: Mother and quite well grown young lower north slopes of windsurfer hill. We walked up shepherds hill, over part of the lower slopes and surprised a female that had been behind some boulders just off the path.. she ran down towards the olive grove where she then caught the attention of an adult male who was grazing there. That caught his interest and he chased her southward alongside the fence. Poor girl, from one thing to another! So 4 gazelle in all, all in east field. None spotted in north field though didn't scan lower hillslopes extensively. certainly none in gazelle fields.

Hyraxes by roadside. Jackdaw, flock of at least 110 with small group of hoodies amongst them, flying from north west over neighbourhood, heading towards windsurfer hill. From house main birds heard today house sparrows, hoodies and jackdaws) Rain on and off.
Eurasian jays, Syrian woodpeckers, graceful warblers, active and vocal.

Sunday 1 Nov: Laughing dove coo joined the house sparrows early morning. Chaffinch calls late afternoon in the trees near Shadiker colony? Birds in flight seen were some kind of finch..
Four gazelle on slopes of hill to the north, one young, rest females/well grown young.
Eurasian sparrowhawk over hill ridge to north briefly. Otherwise, blackbirds, white spectacled bulbuls, jackdaws, hooded crows, Eurasian jays, graceful warblers, Syrian woodpeckers.

Monday 2 Nov: Not much time for much of a walk, the skies opened again as we approached the pumping station along valley road. We did see a mature hyrax scamper across the road earlier. It has rained non stop since then and it was raining on and off during the afternoon. In the intervals when the sun peeked through the local birds hurried to forage, the sparrows, jays, bulbuls and such and various more furtive passerines.

Temps today: 9.5 (now) to 15 degrees C (early afternoon) ( 49-59 degrees F) as you see, quite a drop since Mid October!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

learned a lot