Tuesday, November 24, 2009

foxes, cat and field diggings,

Looking north- eastish at the digging covering most of the ground between the water channel and the young pine grove.

Photograph of some of the numerous diggings in gazelle field, almost half the field is now covered with these square shapes.. husband there for scale. Tree planting soon? This pic facing towards central trail/look out corner. The pistacio grove in the far background.

Feral cat lurks down the bank from valley road, north facing slope on the north watercourse side. It was noticeably warier than the usual feral cat and given its wild type markings it may have been a wild cat Felis (sylvestris) lybica (which could occur in this region and habitat) or more likely a wild/feral cross. It fled into deeper shade. We've already seen feral cats with wild markings particularly the three bars on the tail (photographed a few months ago) and I read that they will interbreed quite freely. The wild cat tends to have a bit more sandy colouring and perhaps not quite so short haired but there could be regional variation.

Tuesday 24 Nov: Around house, sunbird, white spectacled bulbul since dawn, also house sparrow and softly cooing laughing dove.
3 white wagtails calling and flying over the end of our street as we headed down
Jackdaws, Hooded crows seen, heard. Chaffinch like calls in pines just down from Shadiker hyrax colony but none clearly seen. As we entered woods heard calls like chiffchaff, also Syrian woodpecker, blackbird.

Wednesday 25 Nov: Around house, sunbird, white spectacled bulbul and laughing doves as yesterday.
Also about, feral pigeons, jackdaws, hooded crows, blackbirds, Syrian woodpeckers, insect eating birds in the pines which managed to stay elusive but probably chiffchaffs and such.

Two gazelle down by the almond row bounding along across away from the fence, thin horns, not adult males.

Much work has been done on gazelle field.. patches each about a metre square dug out regular intervals possibly for tree planting, most of west side and area by crossing watercourse. The Pistacio grove has been pruned and various dead branches of eucalyptus sawn off including the dead tree at look-out corner. Thistle patches by east end of north valley watercourse have been mown.

Most interesting sighting today was at about 10.30 p.m. when we took our dog (cairn terrier) out for a walk. Colby was standing pretty much frozen and staring at the start of the central trail. I saw in my peripheral vision what I took for a ginger cat crossing the road right in front of us and heading down onto central trail. (He was running free and since we heard a horse approach behind us we decided to put him on the lead as that horse is a touch nervous I approached to get him).

The boys with the horse approached and we got into a conversation. One of them had raised several chickens and this fox or another had raided his coop, killed the lot.. even been so bold as to approach and try to get one out of his hand. The boy was under the impression the fox was sick- not good since foxes can carry rabies around here, but we are not sure on what he based his opinion- the fact it was bold and hungry or signs that it was out of condition. I need to ask for more details.

As we spoke the fox remained just down the bank a few metres away, watching us. Presently it slipped off parallel to the road down the bank and crossed valley road again on the pumphouse side, and headed up the bank, turned, crossed valley road again and headed back to central trail, completing its circle, then headed off down the trail east. A few minutes later we saw a fox head up the bank by the Shadiker hyrax colony - given timing and a few small details of its appearance we decided this had to be a second fox, and this one Colby wanted to chase.. we had to restrain him! Husband wished he'd brought camera as the fox came so close, up to ten feet at one point.

Thursday 26th Nov: gazelle spotted heading from sapling field into woods between valley road and east watercourse.

Bird life pretty much as yesterday.

This evening husband caught the feral/wild cat pic though of course we were hoping for the foxes again and this afternoon we took some pics of the dug patches on gazelle field.

Saturday 28th Nov: First chaffinch sighting of the season! Male perched on top of one of the trees on the forest side of valley road, not far from the pumping station.

Lots of hyraxes active today by valley road of various sizes though no very small ones. Birds seen/heard: white spectacled bulbul, syrian woodpeckers, blackbird (including brief song), collared dove, laughing dove (coo), graceful warblers, hooded crows, jackdaws.

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