Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday 19th April-30th April

Checkered beetle on Achillea

Tuesday 19th April

: adult male west heading into woods after crossing dirt road from windsurfer hill to cistern. Small individual at the foot of this trail near cistern.

Fox: heading into woods west of gazelle field.

Two hobbies flying high over valley road. Greenfinch call and twitters around look out corner about sunset but not as much as previous years, just a few individuals, not a flock. Graceful warbler calls. stone curlew calls at dusk,

Garden: sunbirds, bulbuls, house sparrows, laughing doves as usual.

2 black veined white butterflies clinging to a Syrian thistle on the way to the cistern as dusk set in.

Wednesday 20th April

Headed to 'butterfly meadow', between north watercourse and hidden watercourse. On the way heard turtle doves, first I've heardthis season. On the way we saw a number of marbled whites, first I've noticed this season.

On the way back small flock on the hillside , didn't get good view but seemed to be linnets as far as I could make out.

A number of gazelle, both male and female, scattered and grazing on hillside beyond hidden course, in twos and threes.

Tristram's starlings calling up near wall, near head of hidden watercourse. Chukar partidges seen and heard. Shrike heard on the way back near north watercourse.. probably masked. European cuckoo heard. Glimpses of hobbies and sparrowhawks.

Thursday 21st April

Linnets on bank, got good view of one , corroborating yesterday's linnet sightings. More turtle doves.

Windsurfer hill: lots of clumps of Cistus on north and north west slopes, very light almost sandy soils there. pink butterfly orchids found withered with well developed seed pods on western slopes.

Several gazelle seen on the hillsides.

Monday: 26th April

Plenty gazelle seen today: east field in olive grove, long horn male, from horns I think the east field harem alpha. A female nearby behind. A couple of others, looked like well grown young, in field between grove and cypresses at foot of hill. North field: a second adult male up on back near fence, up from watercourse. A third adult male with several females and well grown young, at least five, in the field behind almond row. Further confirmation both areas have adult male with male/young group as well as a spare male between the two, none belonging to the bachelor herd, though the middle male may have been part of that herd, hard to know without marking. At least a dozen individuals seen today.

Hyraxes about and active forest side of valley road.

Buteos , 3 soaring high over east field. terminal tail bar, dark shoulders , otherwise nondescript brown barring on off white.

Hobbies, seen last few days over valley, sometimes one, sometimes pair, also calls.

turtle dove and collared dove coos in woods, laughing dove coos about houses. House sparrow flock by almonds/cistern, at this season they go into fields for grass seed.

Graceful warblers very vocal by east field east watercourse and other places. Blackbird song late afternoon. Stone curlew calls after dusk saturday. Syrian woodpecker one call.

Achillea, bright yellow relative of yarrow, blooming in many open places. One by valley road had largest crab spider I've seen, very camouflaged, had ambushed and grasping not sure what, hoverfly? Or bee, didn't see too close, didn't have camera for shot.

Sat: 30 April

More on Achillea.. on one small stand by north watercourse late last week found a marbled white, several green caterpillars, a checkered beetle and various larvae that may have been ladybird larvae or of some other beetle as well as ants on the stalks.

Gazelles: 3 up near top windsurfer hill, buck following female centre forest and couple females/well grown young lower treed slopes windsurfer.

Fox on one of the rockpiles just north of centre trail, in shade of woods, walking about, investigating. Looked our way a couple of times. Briefly saw another mammal just behind another rockpile beyond it.. got only two very brief glimpses , seemed to be avoiding encounter, got impression it was another fox.

Birds: Flock about 30 bee-eaters around cistern, settled in cistern pine and then took off together, wheeling around, calling. Hobbies about, multiple calls, appearances. Thursday: also hobbies, had nice view of sparrowhawk landed on branch just beyond north watercourse dirt road.. grey wings, top head, back, breast horizontally streaked pale and light rufous.
Also swifts, greenfinches twittering between eucalyptus and bunker pines on sat late aft. collared doves, turtle doves thursday but not sat, latter cooler, that's perhaps why. They seem to prefer cooing on warmer sunnier days but the cooler days don't put off the collareds.

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