Thursday, December 16, 2010

Week leading to winter solstice

Thursday 16 Dec.

cool, clear, a few high altitude clouds, otherwise cloudless, peaking at 21.5 degrees C

Gazelle: 9 today. 6 in view grazing same place we've seen them lately, east field near fence foot of windsurfer. Another three, well grown young by dry stone walls by small olive grove.
Hyrax: several adults on rocks by valley road

White wagtail:calls. Also Akiva has noticed them again around central bus station mid afternoon.
House sparrows:gardens, buildings
Feral pigeons: around tops buildings
Sunbirds: heard in cape honeysuckle

Black redstart: none in the usual places despite good conditions.
Syrian woodpeckers: calls
Great tits: scolding calls near pumping station.
Jackdaws: flock of at least 80 heading south to windsurfer hill , vocal
Hooded crows: foraging on ground around olives. Old fruit?
Tristram's starlings: heard whistling up in neighbourhood mid afternoon.

Friday 17 December

Sunny 10-18 degrees C

House sparrows: active in garden
laughing doves: active in garden, foraging on ground
white spectacled bulbul: various calls
sunbird: calls in cape honeysuckle
jackdaws: calls, hooded crow calls

Friday 18 December

Clear skies
Gazelle: at least 6 about, mid north slopes windsurfer hill, including adult male, others females and well grown young, grazing together. As we reached top of shepherd's trail two sub adults were watching us, they moved towards fence to join the others, as did the adult male, then all proceeded towards west slopes.

Foxes: as we watched the adult male gazelle a fox walked up onto the top of some boulders just behind him and stared at us, then ran quickly behind. Gazelle and fox ignored each other

Judging by mounds just beyond top of shepherd's trail as it emerges from trees, fresh mole rat activity lately, line of mounds leading to large boulder, and around it

Black redstart: none in usual places despite good conditions, nor chaffinches or stonechats.
White wagtail:calls
Chiffchaff: contact calls
Blackbirds: calls around dusk

Collared doves: 19 on lines, over NE of gazelle field, where watercourses leave area
Hooded crows: calls, activity
Great tits: calls and two different songs around pumphouse area

Jackdaws: calls, activity
Syrian woodpeckers: calls in pines
Tristram's starlings: calls

Monday 20th December

Cool/mild, almost clear skies, some high altitude cloud.

Gazelle: 4 in all. betw windsurfer/cistern dirtroad and small olive grove, 1 adult male with good size horns, I think same buck that was with the herd. Soon after, two subadults together. A little while later another adult buck betw large almond, hawthorns and pine grove in mid north field. I think this latter male is the same male we have seen lately grazing in the small olive grove, moved over NW as the more dominant larger horned buck moved towards olives, but just speculation.
Hyrax: none noticed by valley road

oxes: 5 sightings though probably just 3 individuals. (1#) was seen just a few feet away from the first adult male gazelle, also gazing back at us, great sight to see, the two of them looking at us and the second time within a week that we have noticed fox near adult male. One wonders if it might be one of those associations you get between species.. like friendships between dogs and horses. Different location , last time it was up near where shepherd's trail comes out of trees but almost definitely same fox and buck. Then shortly after I saw (#2,#3) two running down alongside dry stone walls around small olive orchard, towards fence. Likely that first fox was one of them though not necessarily. A few minutes later I saw another one (#4) ahead of us heading off windsurfer/cistern dirt road and into Pistacia grove. This was a third fox if first fox was part of the duo, or it could have been the first fox. Then Akiva saw #5 by dry stone wall across north field near large almond, likely that was same individual as (#4) . Speculation based on timing and location but clearly at least three individuals involved.

Feral dog: 1 nice red colour on his own, working his way along east watercourse, foraging.
Feral cat: sitting on rock off central trail

Black redstart
: finally a sighting again! 1 male looking rather still and a bit fluffed on bunker rubble, not bobbing or hawking, sitting a bit more horizontal and low than usual but clear view.
Chaffinch: female top of cypress. Other small finches about but not clear views
Chiffchaff: contact calls

Stonechat: nice view of male on thorny burnets mid north windsurfer slopes.

Graceful warblers: call by valley road, edge of neighbourhood
Great tits: calls

Hooded crows: calls and flying over, one foraging ground top of ramp leading backs buildings to valley road

Jackdaws: at about sunset flock about 150 birds heading north to south towards Pisgat Zeev, returning from forage to roost, shortly after another ~50

Sunbirds: male seen in willow

House sparrows:about buildings
Tristram's starlings: calls, two seen flying quite high over valley road, changing direction a few times for no apparent reason, and calling.

Tuesday 21st December - winter solstice

Am I feeling the solstice? Something in the air, a sense of excitement, expectation, the sense of turning point, the promise of spring. It seems the trees and earth speak of it and rejoice. Cool/mild, sunny, mostly clear skies.

Gazelle: Lower slopes of hill to north, 4 grazing, females, well grown young. Adult male also in area. In east field, two subadults pretty much where we saw them yesterday, between olive trees and cistern/windsurfer dirt road. Then we saw adult male coming from western slopes following female, he stood for a while at the place the dirt road starts to get steeper. Female continued into open field in direction of young ones but did not join them, grazed in place.

Foxes: 1 on north hill slopes moving west, quick pace along limestone ridge line.

Black redstart: none around bunker rubble
White wagtail:calls
Chiffchaff: some contact calls

Great tits: whistle churr calls in north watercourse acacias

Hooded crows: about as usual

House sparrows:gardens
Jackdaws: the usual large flock 150 +, foraging mid northern hillslopes on the ground, spooked by a rambler, wheeled around but weren't ready to head to roost yet, must be good ground forage

Syrian woodpeckers: calls in pines
Tristram's starlings: calls from hidden watercourse direction, at least two birds

No comments: