Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hillside flowers

A low lying member of the legume family growing on much of the lower open northern slopes of windsurfer hill. Flowers are very like those of restharrow but vegetation completely different. Also below, another of the Fabaceae growing in the same area (both taken on Sunday)

Other plants in the area at the same time: clumps of Nurit,various small umbellifers ( wild carrot is also blooming now by the milk thistle by valley road)

The 'demon seedpod' plant story has suddenly become a little more complicated. Always interesting when that happens.

Today over at the northern end of gazelle field I recognized vetch leaves pretty much like those I'd seen in various places near the pines, often growing close to Palestinian vetch. Their flowers, as I've posted, are deep purple in colour. However here on much more open ground the seedpods, though having pretty much the same form, are significantly larger and the flowers are much much paler varying from offwhite with a hint of pink to rose.

Below: the spiny seedpods developing. Seedpod development is also different.. in the dark purple variety the seedpods are ranged along a stem at equal intervals and at least half a dozen on the stem. In this paler pink flowered variety seedpods are arranged in twos or threes at the end of low lying stems. Looks like we've got two species of 'demon seedpod' producing plants OR perhaps a variety within a species caused by different habitats, open or shaded.

A moth perched on Ajuga.

Saturday 20 March:

Early morning between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. heard bulbuls, sunbirds, house sparrows, laughing doves but no Orphean warbler.

late afternoon, about 5 a.m. walked along valley road, calls of great tits, blackbirds, bulbuls, and hooded crows were about, up on the hill to the east and flying over.

No hyraxes by valley road but there were a few up the hill by the pumping station, calling alarm, sitting out on the rocks. Turning 180 degrees I had a good feeling about windsurfer hill slopes and there on the grassy slopes just up from the trees we found a spread out group of seven mountain gazelles, no adult male noticed amongst them this time.

Sunday 21st March: 3 gazelle.. one just ahead of us near the shepherd's trail, ran up onto windsurfer hill slopes. As we emerged up onto the hill she was south of us, and cautiously returned under the trees. The second gazelle was ahead of us in the lower slopes area between us and the fence but we didn't see where it went. A third was at the north end of east field and headed into the pine plantation

Eurasian jay seen picking up nesting material, twigs, just up from east valley dirt road.
Also noticed, Hooded crows, jackdaws, collared doves both cooing and flight call, greenfinches calling. stone curlew shortly after sunset from direction of east fiel/far end of Pistacio grove.

Around the buildings: feral pigeons, laughing doves, house sparrows, bulbuls, sunbirds all day.

Monday 22nd March: early morning.. bulbul started about 5.05 a.m. house sparrows continuous for a while, jackdaws occasional and by 5.15 a.m. orphean warbler clear in the background. Not sure if I heard him yesterday morning or morning before... thought I heard his strains but distant, but this morning clear again. Hooded crow calls.

Monday: on our walk this afternoon: hoodies flying to and fro, several swifts aloft over east valley. collared dove cooing by the cistern, stone curlew calls.

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