Monday, May 30, 2011

May 2nd Half

above: Broom, in bloom here and there not far from east watercourse.

Beetle on pomegranate leaf.. many were flying about the tree near cistern between sunset and dusk, as well as lacewings (further down the page). Below, this species of ladybird (or ladybug but of course really a beetle) seems the most prevalent right now. Its larvae also found on milfoil, thistle and some other plants. (Black aphids also quite common now on fennel and various composites)

Below, mating robber flies on thorny burnet. I realised these seeding composites by the burnet are actually fleabane.. they're everywhere.. given the small size of the flower itself the seedheads are unexpectedly spreading. Caper bugs about, many nymphs seen but still plenty healthy capers.

30th May

Much earlier vegetation starting to dry out now, grasses turning yellow, most thistles and fleabane going to seed and we're picking up 'caterpillar burs' and nasty sainfoin seedpods on our walks, but other vegetation just getting green, such as mullein and Varthemia sprouting up fresh everywhere. First blooming thyme noticed today! The thistle which has small blue tuft blooms has come up everywhere but not bloomed as yet. Caper vegetation esp along valley road.. we noticed blooms more at night than day. Wild carrot is everywhere, Polygonum has put forth fresh green, fleabane making surprisingly spreading seedheads and a large purple late thistle noticed, not milk thistle. Hawthorns produced more fruit than last year (which was none) but far from their best. Pomegranates in full bloom now. Horehound and Ballota now in bloom. Thorny burnet berries mostly brown.

Birds: Prinias very active and vocal, hobbies about , calling esp. round sunset. Blackbirds in song then too. Some stone curlew calls. Hooded crows as active as usual and jackdaw calls on and off through the day when their flocks are active. Collared doves less now, intermittant, more muted. Turtle dove coos sometimes heard. Greenfinches twittering and chawing around bunker rubble area but seem somewhat fewer than previous years.
Around the buildings: house sparrows, bulbuls, sunbirds, laughing doves, feral pigeons and several times a week noisy calls of ring neck parakeets heard.. they fly from forest to/around neighbourhood and back, favouring the eucalyptus by east watercourse. Syrian woodpeckers today heard around north watercourse. In last week various young birds heard calling for food, some of them sounded like young great spotted cuckoos but didn't get sightings. Bee-eaters heard a few times, but not in notable numbers, the odd large brown job passing through, stopping by to roost overnight (honey buzzards?) , occasional Tristram starling calls, chukar partridges spotted on rocks around the area .

Plenty gazelle grazing activity noticed lately.. up to at least a dozen gazelle active in east field and windsurfer hill slopes, various bachelors still seen between north watercourse and hidden watercourse. Hyraxes active in the usual colonies and some young seen. Hedgehog heard on our walk the other night, snuffling in vegetation close to valley road. Occasional fox sightings in various places but no more cubs spotted.

Insects: see above. .Bath white butterfly spotted yesterday, various small blues and Satyrids but not good close views. More grasshoppers, the one with lateral broad stripes and crimson underwing. More black millipedes. Cicadas heard at the zoo last week but not up here yet. Crickets at night.

More gecko activity on building walls at night heard. No agamas seen yet. Correction.. Akiva saw agama in small park near central bus station early afternoon yesterday. I

This blog is four years old now! Wow so much discovered in these few years, more than we realized could be here since we arrived in north Jerusalem about 18 years ago..I feel like I only actually LIVED the last four from a natural history point of view.

31st May

Yesterday evening, 30th May we spotted 'glow worm' (really a beetle) on rock not far from valley road, low bank.. it was dark and no camera for pic.. but looked like she was arcing front part of her body up and backwards.. the last three segments of abdomen glowing steady light green.

Another hedgehog making its way through milk thistle, didn't see, just heard.

Spookiest thing, this evening (31st) after 10.30 7 (or 6, we were so astonished we both totally forgot to count) appeared to be large white birds appeared over east valley, about twice canopy height and together silently flew over us, slightly fluttering (against wind) somewhat up and over the neighbourhood, looked ghostly white reflecting all ambient light, quite large .. only thing that remotely fit were egrets but not quite like them either and at such a late hour. Couldn't make out head shape but broad wings. Entire owl family? Never saw so many owls flying together and only thing that would look so light would be barn owls which I don't think are here.

Italian Anchusa in bloom on upper valley road (from edge neighbourhood to below pool), also broom near east watercourse(above, top)

Today's afternoon walk (31st May) .. Hooded crow with great spotted cuckoo juvenile on electic cable post, crow hopped right over the cuckoo which was calling incessantly.. ignoring it. As we approached to take a pic the cuckoo flew into some nearby pines but crow remained. Singing blackbirds various places east valley, Prinias, jackdaws, Syrian woodpeckers.

1 comment:

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