Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cold rains continue

Pea type plant found just past the wattle tree on valley road.. flower was so large we wondered if it might be a garden escape rather than a wild legume which usually have much smaller flowers. but not I.D.d as yet. Below, whole plant. It's garden pea! Pisum sativum.

Below, the white broom down the bank at the north loop of valley road is in glorious bloom and looks about twice as large as it did last year. Close ups in last years seasons entries. This little tree so enchanted me I use a pic of the flowers as background for my twitter profile. This is the only white broom I know in the area.

This curious dense bundle of webs and insect remains found on a pine sprig- I'd first taken it for a nest of pine needle eating caterpillars but seeing this gruesome larder suspect some kind of spider at work.

Above, storksbill flowers and, on the left, the seedpods which give this group their name.

Monday 8 Feb: It has been raining almost every day recently esp. at night but some days much of the day, and rain so cold we have thought perhaps it would snow. Most not with thunder and lightning. At other times the sky has been clear, as most of today.. (which is great for our solar water boiler) though that means temps drop in the evening.
temps 2.5 degrees C (last night) -9.5 degrees C (mid afternoon peak) ( 36.5-49 degrees F )

2 gazelle seen on mid north slopes of windsurfer hill, looked like mother and well grown young.

white spectacled bulbul (east edge of Pistacio grove), great tit calls, white wagtail calls, (also heard over last few days passing over to roost) , Eurasian sparrowhawk over gazelle field. blackbird.. song in the garden shortly before we left for our walk.. now about 4.30 p.m.

Group of at least four feral dogs near the quarry, barked at us, show of bravado, they always back off when we approach.

Tuesday 9 Feb: Hawfinch on top of one of the cypresses just east of valley road but my favourite bird sighting of the day was a European robin perched on top of one of the rebars at the bunker rubble near the cistern. This is usually the site of a black redstart and though I searched found none but happy to see the robin, first sighting and positive I.D. this season though a few times we heard calls that were probably robins.

Otherwise: large flock of jackdaws up on windsurfer hill and calls many times today, calls of Syrian woodpecker, chaffinch, graceful warbler, chiffchaff, and stone curlew over to the east as it became dark.
calls in the gardens. Honeysuckle is blooming and fragrant, common as well as cape and it seems they like the nectar of both though I mostly see them around the cape honeysuckle. Bottle brush tree and other ornamentals are attractive to them.

No luck with gazelle or hyrax today. Temps a little higher than yesterday with plenty high altitude cirrus.

Wednesday 10th
Adult male gazelle seen in east field then group of eight, perhaps nine (we only got one count of nine as they were running and I may have been mistaken) , females and young heading from olive grove up windsurfer hill.

Otherwise, chukar calls, blackbirds, white spectacled bulbul, graceful warbler, hooded crows, jackdaws, house sparrows, sunbirds, laughing doves.
husband heard Tristram's starling up near Klein's school, (near top of hill)

About half a dozen of the caterpillars that are normally on the thorny burnet found draped over a dead eryngium. Why would they go there? Totally bare and exposed unless they would pupate there.

Thursday 11th Feb
3 Gazelle in north field grazing just beyond the almond tree line. Plenty hyrax activity by valley road, on the boulders across from the bank. All adults/well grown, no small ones. It's cold but dryer and sunny and I had a hunch that they'd be out and about today.
Hawfinch again up on top of a cypress near there.. Akiva tried to get a shot but it was wary and flew before he could get anywhere near close enough. We need a 400 mm lens!

Otherwise, jackdaw flock, Syrian woodpecker, Stone curlew shrill fast repeated call , could be alarm from direction of bat cave , perhaps because of a fox. Great tit calls, blackbirds, house sparrows about the houses as usual.

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