Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More blooms and other reports

Found this one growing about half way up the hillside.. just one small growth.. known as 'ground pine' or 'Chian bugle', Ajuga Chamaepytis, it's a member of the Lamaceae which also includes mint and thyme. The Israeli thyme is also filling out with leaves and wonderfully powerfully aromatic if one brushes past it.

A delicate purple bell like bloom growing alongside the pale monkwort type. There's a lot of blue and the white monkwort in bloom now in many places. (wednesday)

This red anemone was growing near east watercourse (tuesdays). Others popping up all over the place.

Interesting vegetation near east watercourse: One of the Euphorbias? Somewhat like Euphorbia chamaesyce in leaf shape and arrangement.

I never tire of the myriad forms of greenery, each has its own recognisable pattern, each unique, each is a new wonder.. and I ramble from patch to patch like a kid at rockpools of the shore.

Tuesday 12 Jan : Bird of the day, a white breasted kingfisher! Haven't seen that in months! Husband saw it leave a pine in the grove behind look out corner.. (I'd spooked it walking over there), and headed off in direction of look out corner but did not call.

Greenfinch calls and a couple seen in the top of a tree just east of valley road.

Around house: house sparrows very vocal, laughing dove cooing, sunbird squeaks (?)

Temps have been very mild lately.. today was overcast this afternoon but midday temps in upper 60s earlier this week, just over 60 degrees F at peak today and minimum (dawn) just over 48 degrees F.

Wednesday 13 Jan:

Sunbird squeaks and hooded crows about dawn, house sparrows and laughing doves later.. (latter as also thursday morning). Jackdaws, Eurasian jay calls,

stone curlew just after it got dark, from direction of east field.

More stuff blooming.. we crossed north watercourse and wandered up the hill. I found Bellevalia.. those small pale versions of monkwort, I found the species but don't recall right off, more red anemones.. a blue bell like flower I remember seeing in gazelle field last season but still did not identify and some very nice Ajuga. All this blooming this early, I just don't remember seeing so much so early last season. Either I have a better eye for it now or it really is all blooming earlier.

Group of four feral dogs in north valley. Adult male gazelle sighted up on the hill ridge.

Thursday 14th Jan:

Today was cool/mild, some threatening cumulus this week but we didn't get caught in the rain. We headed up shepherd's trail up onto the lower slopes of windsurfer hill and found plenty new insect life. Apart rom the web tents made for armies of very small caterpillars there were numerous hairy caterpillars of at least two different species already quite abundant over thorny burnet and surrounding vegetation including asphodel leaves and stalks. One kind had a row of reddish hair, the rest brownish.. take a look back at last season.. Moshe took a number of pics of these back then. I took some pics today but in husband's pc at the moment or the camera not sure, at any rate, I won't be able to get to those till saturday night (due to Shabbat and its preparations) so they will have to wait.

There were also many plant bugs on the asphodel leaves, longish, brown with diagonal orange/yellow markings, which I recognise from last season, already causing some leaf damage up on the hillside though I haven't seen them in the valley asphodel yet. It was a Mirid bug, Capsodes infuscatus

(See Rittner's great pic at http://www.nature-of-oz.com/heteroptera.htm)

Husband noticed a pair of Tristram's starlings today in the middle of town, just at the junction between new city and the south west corner of the walls of the old city .. there is an open area there with some date palms. I have seen Tristram's starlings many times in the Old City, once actually perched on the western wall but more often 2-4 birds on various parts of the Al Aqsa mosque and round about. I have sometimes referred to them as grackles as they are also known here but starling avoids confusion as they are not at all related to New World grackles but are members of the starling family.

Other birds today included stone curlew (calls after dark again), hooded crow, large flock of jackdaws low over Hizmeh, Eurasian sparrowhawk flying quite high over east valley towards south about sunset, graceful warblers vocalizing, chiffchaff calls, chaffinches on cypress tops, blackbirds and our usual garden sunbird, laughing dove and house sparrows.

By contrast, chukar, stonechat and white wagtails have not been seen or heard lately though we did hear white wagtail today briefly around valley road.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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