Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Olive orchard, Hidden watercourse

These photos are from today's (thursday's walk) around the hidden watercourse . Above, a Campanula, captured by Akiva. There were many blooming up and around those slopes, each tucked demurely by the rocks. Below: a crab spider I came across, perched on some goat grass.

Below: Akiva took this one when I wasn't looking.. and I love the clarity of the petal form. This is one of the two scabious flowers now blooming in many places. I think this one is Prolific scabious, Scabiosa prolifera. The other, Scabiosa rhizantha, is similar but has a wonderful lilac/blue tint- pics posted on previous seasons.

Below.. these are all over- I thought they look like some kind of clover seed head and are often found next to star clover. I was enchanted by the diaphanous rosettes. They are in fact the later stage of the scabious flowers above.. (may be S. palaestina, both these white scabiouses have similar seedheads)

The following pictures were taken, wednesday 7 April, we walked to the small olive orchard in east field. The olives themselves are now no more than tiny nodules.. looks like we missed the flowers, which are tiny, green and delicate.

A sage common in open areas right now, often by stone walls and trails in little stands. I.D.d as Salvia judaica.. Judean sage. Quite a few stands in the lower parts of east field.

Above, flower, below, leaves of a bindweed: best match I've found Shaggy Bindweed Convolvulus betonifolius. Only one I've seen in the area.. this was growing near the olive grove, a relatively flat open area with much ground vegetation, richer deeper soil than that in most of the area.

Beetle on one of the Asteraceae.

Tuesday 6 April
Bee-eaters 18/19. First turtle dove of the season heard, middle of east valley in a tree near the watercourse. Jackdaws, jays, a big brown job, Buteo type. Collared doves, greenfinches.

Wednesday 7 April

After sun up heard some phrases of what sounded like a blackcap in the garden. Earlier, around dawn, house sparrows, hooded crows first, then bulbul and I think Orphean warbler.

late afternoon: More bee-eaters, now flock at about 30 individuals. Syrian woodpecker, European cuckoo call near east watercourse, pair of great spotted cuckoos between pine grove and Pistacio orchard

Thursday 8 April: Today we headed across north watercourse and up to the hidden watercourse. The acacias looked green but, as it turned out, in the case of the lower, larger tree.. I did not check the other, not because of leaves but thousands upon thousands of the tiny round green seedheads. There were some leaves but not so many. The lower branches which had been scorched by fire two years ago were apparently dead.

Most significant news today was a new bachelor herd of mountain gazelle.. 6 individuals, all with obvious, but not large, male type horns.. clearly younger than the group we saw on the hills farther to the north. These are young males that have broken off from the female and young group and formed their own association.. and also separate from the older bachelor herd we have seen. Will they join together? Akiva noticed some brief sparring. We also noticed another male, obviously more mature with well developed longer horns, watching us and the young herd at a distance.

Two hoopoes flew from hidden watercourse area over towards trees by bat cave. Greenfinches, collared doves, wheatears, bee-eaters, all heard. European cuckoo heard near look-out corner, Great spotted cuckoo also heard. Jackdaws, Hooded crows Eurasian jays, blackbirds, graceful warblers about. One Hooded crow appeared to be (successfully) chasing away a feral cat.. seemed it wanted to forage on the ground and didn't want the cat there.

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