Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Moving into May

This one I got of bee and caper flowers at just after sunset today: 9th May. Click on it to see the bee a bit better.. it was lucky.. only had chance to take 3 shots- on first - no bee. On second the bee was in there but almost hidden by stamens but here lucky to get almost clear shot just above the flowers to the right. Seems small on the pic but definitely bulkier than a honeybee.

Monday 3rd May: Fox seen near east valley watercourse

Tuesday 4th May
: Hyraxes active by valley road, adults on boulders on forest side, no young seen today. Fox seen moving into the pine grove just east of cistern, on the northern side. No gazelle today.

Jackdaws about hill slopes, hooded crows, one seen taking food to treetops west of gazelle field so still feeding fledgelings (own or cuckoo? No cuckoo calls heard there) , Tristram's starlings heard, two flying from neighbourhood toward Hizmeh, another call from direction of bipass road. Collared dove flightcalls heard, not so much cooing lately but turtle doves heard here and there. Stone curlew calls heard from east field or hidden watercourse direction each day as dusk began to fall.

Garden: last few days: sunbirds, bulbuls, house sparrows, laughing doves as usual. Great tit song.

We visited the snapdragon by the watercourse which runs along east side of north gazelle field: in bloom but interestingly slightly less than half the height it was last two seasons. The old stalks from last year still standing in contrast. The vegetation around it had been mostly cleared by the recent work on the area so perhaps the increased light and openness had caused the plant to 'decide' to keep a lower profile this year. No need for height, little competition with other vegetation. I want to wait a bit to see if it gains any height before posting our comparison pic.

No hawthorn blossom noticed this year yet anywhere.. usually it blooms in April. What's with that? I visited again (on 9th), the tree just off central trail by an old drystone wall. Full leaf but no sign of flowers or haw fruits at all. Do they skip years? The two trees by the large almond, similarly without white and those along the trail to the quarry also showed no signs of enthusiasm.

Wednesday 5th May: Swifts last couple of days high over valley shortly after sunset.. sparrowhawk heading over neighbourhood. Syrian woodpecker call. Last few days much twittering and chawing of greenfinches in eucalyptus and pines around cistern area. Stone curlew have also been very vocal from sunset on.

Thursday 6 May: Hyraxes active, one gazelle spotted, not adult male, slopes north of north watercourse.
Hobbies heard and glimpsed, just the short call. Great tit fledgelings also from the sound of it. blackbird song,
Eryngium and cat-thyme germander in bloom now. Eurasian jays about as well as hooded crows and jackdaws.

Friday 7th May: by 5:20 a.m. still pretty dark , bulbul melodious calls and house sparrow chirps.

Saturday 8th May: late afternoon in east valley watercourse:
Gazelles: 2 , females (or female and well grown young) , grazing on mid west slopes windsurfer hill, an area they seem to prefer that time of day.
Hyrax: some adults active both sides of valley road, cypress slum colony. A few more way up the west slope pumphouse colony. Fox: Akiva saw one by dry stone wall near large almond, gazelle field.

collared dove: coos and flight call. Turtle dove coos, from pines on the bank by valley road and more near the Pistacio grove. Great spotted woodpecker calls esp. from eucalyptus grove east of cistern. Hooded crows, jackdaws, Eurasian jays vocal and active throughout and over the valley. Some greater spotted cuckoo calls from direction of owl glade, some Tristram starling whistles. Great tit dead on ground look-out corner- adult, no signs of predation. Graceful warblers vocal and active various places. House sparrows have been visiting the country round about lately, probably for seeds.. we've noticed this previous seasons.
Greenfinch twittering heard towards sunset as we reached Pistacio grove. Bulbul calls east valley watercourse, stone curlew calls from direction of north gazelle field as dusk fell. Blackbird song on and off in various parts of the woods throughout our walk.
No hobbies today.

Sunday 8th May: Similar in almost all respects to above in terms of birds though no cuckoo and nice view of hobby flying right over us.

No gazelle but hyrax active on valley road, one laid out on the tarmac, belly to the ground, 'sunbathing' - though the sun not shining there the road still gave warmth. Hyraxes have a slightly sluggish circulation and like to baske like iguanas between scampering amongst the boulders. We also noticed the colonies are largest where humans (incidentally) left the boulders after building in the area farther up the hill. Other localites, such as all the rocky areas across north watercourse and lower slopes of windsurfer hill, not a one, but numerous again around the quarry. We have inadvertantly provided them with ideal shelter.. the loose boulders provide lots of gaps for dens that they don't get from the natural limestone terracing in the area.. they don't dig much if at all.

No comments: