Thursday, December 31, 2009

early flowering

These red anemones were found just at the north edge of the young pine forest, the one just west of gazelle field. There were three of them, none seen elsewhere and earliest bloom we've seen yet (Monday)

A Gagea : Star of Bethlehem.. now sprouting in many places under the pines. (Monday)

Savyon in sapling field. The larger leaves amongst them are mostly those of growing milk thistle. These two views taken late last week.

Clumps of asphodel foliage near east valley watercourse, each bearing spikes of pale pink flowers.. just discernible.. perhaps click on it to see them a little better. The closest clumps are likely actually part of the same plant linked by an underground rhizome system. The whole plant takes up quite a bit of room and reaches up to my chest. Brown patches in the back were done by park authorities not mole rats. Yet more!

Below.. one of the Asteraceae (composites) but not sure which yet.

white flower is one of the brassicaceae.. shepherd's purse or near relative, not sure which.

Apart from these other plants noticed for first time lately.. Thorny burnet flowers! Male, by central trail and beginnings of female flowers too. Some deadnettle (purple labiate) flowers by edge of neighbourhood and more mustard.

Thurs Dec 31st: sapling field a riot of savyon now, quite delightful, as well as the small purple and orange jobs and a tiny white flower that is definitely one of the Brassicaceae.. a nasturtium? More asphodel coming out all over the place. definitely earlier this year.

Gazelle.. at least nine including adult buck, grazing north field area.

Black redstart on rebar at bunker rubble.. we were out an hour earlier than usual and I waited till he was back in action. Syrian woodpecker heard, Collared doves about, flock of feral pigeons over our street, laughing dove soft cooing in the garden. Sunbird in cape honeysuckle as well as house sparrows.

Sunbird singing up a storm in the garden like a robin on caffeine saturday , occasional black redstart, .

Sunday 3 Jan:

Gazelle.. adult buck with a number of females and young, at least 8 counted altogether, possibly more.. grazing in field by north watercourse, buck occasionally getting involved with some of group members.. brief sparring with young males (we'd noticed in the past the young males, rather unwisely, sometime start up with the adult buck and he puts them in their place! A little later he ran after a female for a stretch, straight run, no bounding, pretty level ground, alluvial area.

I checked north facing slopes of north valley in place we'd found cyclamen before.. sure enough plenty leaves by boulders but no flowers yet, not expected. Wild mustard is blooming, however, by valley road and stonecrop leaves already spreading over rock flats area by north dirt road turn off. Great place for little ponds.. some already teeming with life.. fly larvae most visible but I think microcrustaceans and other stuff in there too.. need to get samples for boys to check with microscope.

Two Eurasian sparrowhawk sightings plus kestrel circling over north valley. Laughing doves cooing in the garden today.. seems volume slightly increased, hen chaffinch spotted high in eucalyptus, their calls have been heard around a lot lately especially in north valley.

Birds also about lately: jackdaws, hooded crows, feral pigeons, house sparrows, graceful warblers, chiffchaffs, Syrian woodpeckers and great tits getting more vocal. Hyrax and fox not seen last few days though we were in right places.

Monday: Gazelle group seen almost all the way up the hillslope to the north, grazing peacefully, adult male amongst them, rest females and young. Young male standing on the crest, buck just a little way down from him. At least 8 individuals, hard to tell with their appearing and disappearing act amongst the boulders and bushes at that distance.

Feral pigeons, laughing doves, house sparrows about buildings, Hooded crows and jackaws around generally, lots of thin piping of insectivorous birds calling in the pines, thought we heard chukar just down from Shadiker hyrax colony but we've been fooled before by some kinds of alarm barks of hyraxes which sound very similar to 'chuckles' of chukar. When a small pack of feral dogs appeared down there made it even more likely we'd heard hyrax though I still say they sounded more like chukar. Nice view of a Eurasian sparrowhawk flying over. Blackbird brief song and chakchak pre roost calls.

No comments: