Sunday, February 6, 2011

February 1st half

14 Feb: Mandrake flowers: This plant was found close to the north watercourse, though these days this stream only flows during substantial rain so it is relatively dry. This is the third mandrake plant we have found in the area, whole plant radial habit and about 2 feet across. I noticed when I handled the leaves, which were thick and almost leathery, a strange pungent aroma was immediately released into the air and lingered on my fingers for about quarter of an hour.

We looked for the plant by the long trail down to north watercourse dirt road but without success.

Sunday 6 Feb:

Blooming asphodel everywhere.

Today: gazelles: 1 female ran across central trail near look out corner, heading towards east watercourse area, looking over her shoulder frequently as if she expected something following her, at us, or at another gazelle farther back? We didn't see

Male adult on slopes up from east watercourse dirt road, between trees, heading south.

yesterday: gazelle spotted in small olive grove

Last week, sightings of a few sub adults

singing birds heard last couple of days early morning and sunset in tall trees of garden next to us and also in trees up from bridge.. sounded like same song. Too dim to see but linnets my best guess from song quality.

Blackbird heard in song occasionally over last week.

Stone curlews now heard frequently after dark calling from east valley. One day at look out corner as dusk approached heard three voices, from beyond orchard, north field and somewhere by east pine grove.

Syrian woodpeckers heard in woods.

Sunbird: this morning, calling, active in Cape honeysuckle.

Hooded crows, jackdaws, house sparrows about as usual. laughing doves foraging in garden.

Tuesday 8 Feb

Group gazelle up on skyline up from hidden watercourse 5 plus

Wednesday 9 Feb

Gazelle, (females/well grown young) group on west slopes windsurfer hill moving about together. A fourth seen nearby a little later, not part of that group.

Buteo, pretty nondescript browns, greys, no distinct barring, heading slowly north. Not harried.

Great tit calls. Tristram's grackle calls from somewhere up in neighbourhood.

Lark calls, two pairs over north slopes windsurfer hill.

Much more foliage lately.. spring groundsel , Senecio vulgaris (savyon) blooming in sapling field esp as well as a mass blooming of the tiny orange composites and some flowers of the delicate purple wild geranium Erodium acaule

Jackdaws and Hooded crows about, stonechat on thorny burnet, blackbird, stone curlew

Thursday 10th Feb

gazelle: 1 single adult male near bunker/look out corner area, two others, (sub-adults ?) near shepherd's trail.

Saturday 12 Feb

Linnets confirmed:) Small group twittering on top of tree next door, got good visual on three of them but from movements were more that moved away within the tree as we approached.

Gazelle: None visible in north and east fields but Akiva did spot one in the trees up slope imm. west of east watercourse dirt road.

Also seen and/or heard: Hooded crows, graceful warblers, blackbirds, stone curlews,

red anemone blooming amongst asphodel off valley road.

Sunday 13 Feb

Linnets again morning and evening choruses in next door trees. Sunbirds active, also house sparrows and laughing doves in garden.

Two gazelles, sub adults at top of shepherd's trail, including that individual with bent right horn.

Sparrowhawk glimpsed, blackbirds, hooded crows,

In fore part of gazelle field the Malcolmia is back in force and looking good, some lilac, as well as shepherd's purse in flower though latter looking smaller petalled and more delicate than I remember.

Monday 14 Feb: Linnets already arriving in the trees next door in several groups of twenty or so, flying in from north and east as we left the house , about 4.45 p.m.

plantlife stepping up- vegetation increasing all the time, wonderful! I love this time of year for the verdancy, green seems to glow from the ground in all its many forms. Fumitory already blooming by the street, first cyclamen blooming by long trail to north watercourse. Large mandrake found by north watercourse most significant.

No gazelle today but plenty hoofprints and some scat seen. One fox seen, darkish markings, heading into trees just west of bat cave.

Syrian woodpecker calls, various other usual birds, stone curlew very vocal just after dark.


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