Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Season of blue/purple lily family flowers

I always delight in finding a species we have not ever noticed before. I always go out with an open 'you never know' attitude but after all this time I don't fully expect to find an obvious unfamiliar species. I almost missed these since they are somewhat similar to the autumn squill at a glance but more towards the blue end of the spectrum and the form and arrangement on the stem clearly different. At home I.D.d them from the pic as Autumn grape hyacinth or Baby's breath.. Muscari parviflorum

Close to the north valley watercourse as it comes out into the open field we found a cypress with this affliction on some of its cones. Husband rubbed a few off with his fingers and found them rather soft and fibrous, like small silky coccoons.

These long 'snouted moths are quite common. I took a few shots but in some the subtle shaded barring at the ends of the wings was clear but head and antennae blurred, in others, such as this, vice versa. Many seed leaves are visible round about.

Wednesday 11 Nov: Gazelles: Two noticed grazing close to the large almond. Female and well grown young? Both had very thin horns and one did seem a little larger than the other. As they became aware of us they made their way back towards the north east corner of the pines but unhurried. We also found many tracks and some scat in the Pistacio orchard esp the east end.

Black redstart present at the bunker rubble when we arrived there. Erasian jays, Syrian woodpeckers, graceful warblers, blackbirds also heard.

Melodious calls of White spectacled bulbul heard in the garden at about quarter to 6 a.m. when still dark. Later, hooded crows, jackdaws, house sparrows, soft coo of laughing doves.

Thursday 12 Nov: Gazelles, two on the dirt road near the shaft. They were aware of us but not spooked, they took it in turns to graze and stare over at us. Both small thin horns, one had one crooked horn, I think the right. I think they were the two we saw at the almond yesterday.

My favourite find today was the autumn grape hyacinth, (above) found just down from the shaft, between the north valley dirt road and north watercourse in the open. There were also many Jerusalem autumn crocus in that area as well as numerous autumn squill but we only found a few of the Muscari. All these were given partial cover by old thistles and thorny burnet. I also found one three spot Dianthus flower emerging through a thorny burnet, many of which now bear small leaves, and a few clumps of Goldilocks in bloom .. late bloomers since so many of them farther west along the watercourse have already gone to seed.

Eurasian jays, Syrian woodpeckers, calls probably of chiffchaffs, hooded crows, flock of about 100 jackdaws foraging up near wall by A Ram, calls of great tits, white wagtails, white spectacled bulbul outside my window again at about quarter to six calling melodiously and husband heard Tristram's starling whistle somewhere off east.

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