Sunday, November 29, 2009

Foxes, Gazelles, Toads, winter rains

East valley watercourse- here it widens to spill over central trail and onto gazelle field when it flows. At the moment of the pic (this afternoon) any flow was indiscernible and the whole stream bed is carpeted green. After another rain this evening we could see light reflecting from the look out corner area from the distance indicating that fresh water had washed over.

Last few days on and off rain with cool temperatures, some lightning though mostly flashing up in the clouds, and a roll of thunder. Just under 9.5 degrees C, 49 degrees F (dawn) to 11.75 C 53 degrees F (mid/late morning)

Chiffchaffs heard calling in the pines a lot lately. This pic was taken by Ruthie Schueler and from the plant it's on, great willowherb, I'm guessing it was taken by the pond at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory.

Sunday 29 Nov: Gazelle: (two bucks today as follows) as we were walking eastward along the north valley dirt road husband spotted a buck gazelle moving across the alluvial area towards the bat cave, then heard a snort. I also heard a snort but it was definitely not from that direction but directly across the watercourse. Another buck was right there across the watercourse at the edge of the woods and in rather an uncomfortable looking position... balanced precariously, his back legs stretched way back, his behind as close to the ground as he could get standing on four feet. He held this for a little while then pulled up his back legs and assumed a more normal defacating posture for another minute or so. When he was done he bounced, literally bounced away up the slope and then slowed to a trot, and headed out of sight. I couldn't actually make out if he was defacating but seemed so.

Hooded crow
calls before dawn. Blackbird song about sunset. Sunbird calling in the cape honeysuckle as we left, husband could see some iridescence on it, young male? Harsh bulbul calls heard as well as some very vocal graceful warblers. Twitterings in the tree tops probably greenfinches but too far to make out.

Wednesday 2 Dec:
8 gazelle: 3 and then another three passed behind the cistern into north gazelle field.. running. Had something spooked them up there? A little later we saw another on east valley dirt road crossing over and then heading up the slope towards wind surfer hill. Had horns but poor view. Minutes later adult male gazelle appeared ahead of us on the road, stared at us for a while and then also continued up the slope.

Today and esp. yesterday jackdaw flock very active over neighbourhood, top of nearest hill.. soaring en masse, some vocalization but just milling around up there almost the way bee-eaters do when they hawk, just flying around, cross paths, social? pairing? Husband noticed distinct pairs already within the milling.

Sunbird in cape honeysuckle by entrance, Chiffchaffs calling in pines. Yesterday stone curlew heard from direction of windsurfer hill northern slopes

Saturday 5 Dec: Akiva heard Sunbird again, We heard Tristram's starlings, sounded like two birds whistling over towards pumphouse but didn't see them. Just after sunset near look out corner heard stonechats. Neatest thing happened while I was talking with husband at bunker rubble pines and noticed a fox pass by right behind him just at the other edge of the dirt road! I pointed it out to Akiva as it strolled nonchalantly past, from orchard towards east pine grove. It did not seem spooked by us at all even when Akiva turned and looked. He thought it resembled the one we saw with Colby though possible same one, can't be sure. Coat was greyish with slight red/brown tinge and seemed to have grown in a bit for the winter, quite hairy.Didn't have camera.

Sunday 6 Dec: Fox passed by same place, roughly same time! This time we were at greater distance. Husband took pic but poor definition due to poor light and distance. Group of at least half dozen gazelle grazing in north east gazelle field, water course area, near the snapdragon clump.

Monday 7 Dec: Hid by (sat behind) pile of cut eucalyptus on field side of look-out corner to see if we could photograph fox but no show, didn't pass by.. rain last night and this morning may have caused it to change its plans. We did hear calls of bulbuls, tristram's starling whistles over in the direction of windsurfer hill, graceful warbler calls, white wagtails (numerous calls heard over the last couple of days) but no sign of black redstart or stonechats today. Blackbird chak chak heard on the way back and sound of stone curlews roughly from direction of bat cave.

Also heard today in the garden: laughing dove coos, house sparrows, sunbird from cape honeysuckle. Feral pigeons, jackdaws , hooded crows also about roofs.
Kestrel spotted over neighbourhood recently.

Toad on the road this evening, not surprising with all the rain water on the ground. A big one by the first turn down on valley road.

No comments: