Wednesday, March 23, 2011

23 March > 9 April

Happily Nurit/ Persian (or Turban) buttercup are back! We didn't see any last year but this year they are blooming in many places.

Wednesday 23 March

First corn poppies seen! three on woods side just past pumping station, amongst wild wheat, mustard and other vegetation, a bunch more on the verge of east valley dirt road, in usual place near sapling field but notably double or triple numbers in any previous season as far as I've noticed. Other usual site for them is by bunker rubble but didn't check there today.

Adult male gazelle seen just south of olive grove moving towards it, long horn one. Shortly after saw adult male heading into pines and cypress at very north end of east field though uncertain if same one or if it was the 'losing' male that has haunted that stretch in past.. Could have been switch over in olive grove region, light already getting dim.

As we passed look out corner I said ''look out for foxy!'' as we had seen one in that area passing by at dusk. Akiva expressed his doubt we'd see one in the failing light then seconds later pointed as a fox crossed the east watercourse dirt road and headed into the Pistacia orchard a few yards ahead of us! Second time this week that has happened.

Bats over valley road, a few spotted in last week.

As we came down from the hill I heard a European cuckoo call from direction of east watercourse and as we passed look out corner, several more calls from direction of owl glade/shaft. Also heard yesterday.

More calls of stone curlews after dusk today and yesterday and jackdaws, hooded crows making big noise over larger trees along east watercourse as usual these days. Collared doves some coos.

Also heard, great tits, Syrian woodpecker (yesterday) , blackbird song and graceful warbler calls by valley road both days.

Garden: melodious sunbird calls around dawn, house sparrow chirps before dawn from about 4.30 a.m. when still v dark. Laughing dove coos.

Saturday 26th March

Gazelles: 5 in the field beyond the almond row, (which , like most of the forepart of gazelle field is now a yellow riot of wild mustard of at least two different species. ) 3 more gazelle in east field just south of the small olive grove. All females and well grown young, no adult males visible.

Birds: garden, house sparrows, sunbirds, laughing doves, bulbuls, linnet call?

Forest: blackbird song, European cuckoo calling at the corner of the bank, near where the bee orchid grows (must check on that plant)

Now more clover about.

Monday 28th March

21 (+) mountain gazelle: Bachelor herd 16 grazing by north watercourse in eucalyptus grove near bat cave, varying ages from fully mature males to a younger males, horns only about a quarter the size. A little farther east more out in the open a group of at least 5 females and well grown young.

While viewing the females picked up sight of a fox which was making its way along the banks of the north watercourse, then headed across the field in the direction of the shaft.

Birds: greenfinches chaw, cooing collared doves, chatter of great spotted cuckoos every now and again, a Buteo overhead..

Sunday 3rd April

Several more Buteo seen, generally very dark body.

Today, 5 gazelle, north hillslopes, an adult female, an adult male, both by skyline though not together, then group of three we spooked, headed down hill.

Fox, yesterday heading down hill a little north of shepherd's trail under trees, brown/red body, paler face.

Crested larks on hillside, a few individuals seen, calling from rocks, flitting about, flying low. Collared doves, greenfinches about and vocalizing, Jackdaws , hooded crows foraging on ground on hill near top, Graceful warbler calls. Pair of great spotted cuckoos flew over hill, may have been scouting olive grove or other trees to north for suitable nests.
Stone curlew vocalizations after dark.

Vegetation: Persian buttercups (Nurit) (most not great condition compared with two years ago but blooming many places) , pink (hairy) and yellow flax on hill, Alcea various places, full variety of clovers over hill esp. star clover. Gundelia starting to open. Most of rest, wild grains and grasses.

yesterday: that nice specimen bee orchid found near old machneh up from corner picnic site same place third season now, several more on trail across valley road from there and down slope, but much shorter individuals. Also near there: toothed orchid and Ajuga.

Sat. 9 April.

Bee-eaters! First time we saw this season and first time I heard though Akiva thought he had been hearing them a few times over the past week. First about 12 over valley road and neighbourhood shortly after we went out and later about two dozen over neighbhourhood and pumping station closer to sunset.

Blackbird song in two places on the bank, one atop a cypress, another in an acacia farther toward the pumping station.

Also graceful warblers about, jackdaws and hooded crows as usual. Pair of kestrels flying over neighbourhood up from pumping station, circling over/about buildings.

Gazelle: 2 bucks in view near bat cave grazing in open. Those two bucks we've seen before in association or were there others of bachelor herd out of view? Aggravated sounding hyrax barking from atop a boulder up from pumping station. Could be just territorial, no fox or cat in view.

Garden: consistent over last few days: Bulbul heard melodious shortly before 6 a.m. sunbird soon after, house sparrows early, from around 5.30 , laughing dove later, around sunrise. Listening for the Orphean warbler we heard last year but not heard.

Haven't been out much over past week due to fall on hillside, smashed knee on rock, decided better to rest it till worst pain gone.

Vegetation blooming now: milk thistle, purple and white , more viper's bugloss, yellow milfoil

1 comment:

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