Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fox company

This fox we encountered today, Sunday 14 Dec, on the bank just up from valley road, between cypress slum and the pumping station. It must have been aware of us but acted totally unconcerned.. this was shortly before sunset. It made its way silently along the slopes, like a dog, sniffing here and there investigating everything in its path. Akiva noticed it first this time, pointed it out to me and we both fell silent as we proceeded along valley road, husband taking shots, myself following quietly at a little distance behind. We followed it all the way to the pumping station where it took a turn up the hill and never seemed in any hurry. Akiva got nearly twenty shots of it.

Though thin, it looked in good health and condition. We got as close at 10m or so at times but for most of the walk the distance was between 10 and 20 metres.

Wednesday 9 Dec: Sunbird vocal in Bauhinia outside window early afternoon. House sparrows, white spectacled bulbuls about. Jackdaws and hooded crows vocal on and off all day, flying home south from forage late afternoon as usual.

8 gazelle- in east valley woods three noticed just north of sapling field. Then two noticed crossing east valley dirt road heading up the hill slope, joined by three more individuals .. all females and well grown young. As we reached look out corner saw three heading into the young pine grove, possibly the first three we'd seen and could not have been the three that headed up towards windsurfer hill.. so definitely 8 (with the outside possibility of 11 if the last group were a third group of three but less likely though we didn't see the three progress north through the east valley OR cross the road. )

What else? Syrian woodpeckers quite vocal today for a change, blackbirds, graceful warblers, great tits.

Thursday 10 Dec: 3 gazelle: seen from north valley dirt road.. two crossing watercourse towards trees by bat cave.. a female following an adult buck. (for a change). Another adult buck a few hundred yards farther west ('upstream' under same trees). Far from the first time we've seen two adult bucks in that region. I wonder if they are the same two that used to keep each other's company?
What else? Great tits (including some song in last couple of days, heard from house). Chiffchaff calls, chaffinch calls, small flocks moving between trees, Eurasian sparrowhawk (?), flying into trees by north valley dirt trail, in direction of owl glade from north gazelle field/hill.

Saturday 12 Dec: Hyrax very active along down by valley road late afternoon though didn't see any in the trees today and no very small ones.. not expected.
Akiva heard Tristram's grackles from somewhere up the hill from the pump station. Call of raptor up there, sparrowhawk? Calls of chiffchaffs about and as first stars coming out, stone curlew from somewhere by north valley. Chukar calls? Unless it was a similar hyrax call. Collared doves, two indivs, on two different lines near pump station. Chaffinch calls, small finch groups seen in flight over trees. Jackdaws and hooded crows vocal and active up on windsurfer hill. Small groups of white wagtails heading south to roost. (general note: 'heading south'.. we're NOT talking migration here, just their direction to roost.. which is more towards built up areas=more warmth so tends to be favoured direction for birds returning from forage)

up the slopes just east of east valley dirt road.. adult buck, looking down at us, handsome and looked like hair grown in, warmer, thicker winter coat.

Milk thistle leaves getting longer, more coming up, mustard leaves coming up on the bank below Lev Aryeh,( edible and quite peppery!), some winter crocus seen.

Sunday 13th: No gazelle today but amazing fox encounter.. pics above.

Apart from that: laughing dove cooing in the garden, sunbirds heard, large flock of jackdaws and some hooded crows scared off windsurfer hill by a chopper, milled over east valley for a while, calling. A pair of Tristram's starling flew over east valley, whistling. Sparrowhawk flew over eucalyptus grove area heading over east valley, southward.

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