Sunday, April 17, 2011

16th,17th April

North gazelle field, approach to shaft.. fields yellow with wild mustard.
Pistacias looking a lot better after their pruning, much more growth and greenery.

Nigellas by north valley watercourse dirt road.

Below, Syrian thistles with black and white spotted beetles.. many blooms had these visitors.

Below, A rose chafer visits a Syrian thistle.

Saturday 16th : Gazelles: At least 10 between north and east fields, in small groups or twos.. adult males seen in each field, in north following a female , in east by himself though probably associated with the females there.. ( they often prefer to graze apart from the females and young and can still be the alpha male of the harem ) . This could mean a buck with females in each area? Possible.

Neighbour Rabbi Goldwasser recently observed sparring behaviour in Pistacia grove area.. looks like there's a challenger to the east field male. Same one as a few months back or another one from bachelor herd trying out? Can't know for sure without marking them some way.

Sunday 17th : Adult male near north watercourse, quite close to us, good size horns.

Interesting behaviour in rocks above bat cave.. Akiva first noticed a fox there.. as I zoomed in with binoculars noticed there was a hyrax sitting on the rocks there. The fox circled but the hyrax stayed completely still, apparently unfazed. Then suddenly, after the hyrax moved a little, though not obviously threateningly , not from our point of view anyway, the fox ran off toward the east. The fox is nearly twice the size of the hyrax but the latter can be quite feisty fighters and the fox had no interest taking on a mature adult. This is also the first time we've ever noticed a hyrax on those rocks. A nomad? No colony over there. Later, hoarse hyrax barks heard at dusk from direction of cypress slum colony.

As the fox moved off we heard much agitated calling from stone curlews.. probably a pair had a nest out on the hillside there and the parents were raising the alarm. They would probably want to distract the fox away from the eggs or chicks.

A call drew my attention to the cypresses just west of the bat cave. A hobby was perched up there, nice look out position. A short while after we watched a pair circle over the watercourse, not very high but quite a bit higher than canopy level. No chasing behaviour so we took them to be a bonded pair. They then headed off towards the owl glade.

Jackdaw flock roosting in eucalyptus, look out corner. Relatively new roost due to building on south west slopes of windsurfer hill, disrupted their usual haunts and behaviour patterns.

Much calling from graceful warblers heard, some greenfinch calling though not as much as previous years, calls of bee-eaters heard earlier , (bee-eaters also heard friday afternoon over edge of neighbourhood, about a dozen spotted) , collared doves in trees usual north western corner of east field, some blackbird song, hooded crows about as usual. Shrike heard from near pumping station.

Garden: bulbul and sunbirds heard before 6 a.m. but still later than first house sparrows. Laughing doves cooing later. No Orphean warbler. Unusual unfamilar high pitched call heard earlier on saturday but could not find cause.. single notes repeated insistently. Not psittacine, too thin but loud.

Much pollen in the air! Most of north gazelle field has wild mustard neck high or higher along with wild barley and oats, along with pine pollen. Yellow Nigella found in a number of patches along north watercourse dirt road, had never seen so much of it there before.. as well as much blooming Syrian thistle. Gundelia flowering is finishing, more Acanthus than I've ever seen before, Asphodel is making seed capsules and its foliage turning orange, very obvious on the hillsides. We'd noticed caterpillars but as yet no marbled whites about. Many Umbellifers like Ainsworthia, though florets fewer, more sparse. not sure of ID at all, so many self similar of those.

Some flowers on hawthorns.. not as many as a few years back but improvement on last year when we found no blooming hawthorns at all.

No comments: