Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Latest flowers and birds

This is a view from our street, just across the road from where we live, looking roughly north east. At your feet you see the verge by the fence where we photographed round leaved geranium, fumitory and other flowers. (This pic was taken in April when the dominant vegetation is obviously wild mustard. ) The building ahead is a primary school.

You can just see the road I call 'valley road' down the bank to the east (middle right of pic). East and north watercourse dirt roads are much farther down out of sight amongst the trees. Beyond the pines in the valley you can see the green hillsides where the mountain gazelle most love to roam. We can sometimes spot them through binoculars from this view. Today (wednesday: middle of last week now) I saw 10 individuals down there including an adult buck, the alpha male, grazing on the lower slopes of the hill and at least one that was significantly smaller than the others.

Below, the storksbill we found just below this fence yesterday. One of the Erodium genus, probably E. malacoides also known as Mediterranean storksbill. Leaf on top left belongs to another plant.

Below, a mignonette.. genus Reseda .. growing back of gardens top of Shadiker hyrax colony.. near the wood sorrel (Oxalis) and ramping fumitory.

Wednesday 20 Jan: Blackbird song in garden at about 4 p.m. and also in the woods a little later. Chiffchaff calls along valley road and some great tit calls.

Thursday 21 st Jan: 9 gazelle in the valley today, same location, a little north of north watercourse in the open- counted them from the shaft look out position, adult buck did not seem to be amongst them.

Yet another Erodium or Geranium species or related, found again by that fence above. Similar flower form and colour but with complex fractal leaves, many small leaflets. Below, zoom of flower head and below that, whole plant with leaves. Haven't found a match yet.

This one below is something else, found on the long path leading down from Shadiker colony west down to north watercourse dirt road. Seems to have purple buds. We need to come back to this, see what it does next, leaves size of lettuce leaves but much glossier.

Below: the underground structure of asphodel showing multiple storage tubers or rhizomes. Some of these masses were exposed by winter flooding. Yesterday (sunday 24th) we noticed more asphodel infested with Mirid bugs along the path from valley road down to north watercourse dirt road.

Sunday, Monday: much rain especially at night, temps down to between 5 and 6 degrees C. . Male Black redstart spotted on rebar of bunker ruins late last week. Every day, jackdaws, hooded crows.. yesterday, Syrian woodpecker, chiffchaff and chaffinch calls and quite a few Eurasian sparrowhawk sightings. Stone curlews very vocal lately in east field area, just as it gets dark, again just before dawn. Sunbird active in the gardens from just before dawn. More blackbird song but not great tit in last few days.

Also blooming: more dead nettle, verge of street, roman squill, and the white broom brush down the steep bank, north valley road loop. The almonds are also starting to flower.

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