Thursday, June 16, 2011

16 - 26th June

Jumping spider on underside of blooming globe thistle. As I circled the globe thistles, (getting lots of histamine inducing pricks from all the blue tuft thistle foliage around it) the spider evaded me by circling away. They have good eyesight! However, since there are two of us it was a simple matter to hand the camera over to Akiva and he wasted no time getting this neat shot!

Thursday 16 June

Early morning garden: sunbird calls in the garden and calls of ring neck parakeet somewhere close in neighbourhood.

Peering through young pines by service road to field beyond, saw a number of bee-eaters skimming low over the grasses, also a hoopoe flew into tree

In the valley far end of Pistacia grove three sub-adult gazelle sproinging in a circle, frisky, taking it in turns to gambol about lightfooted , delightful to watch.

Hyraxes heard chittering up by pumphouse, calls similar in some ways to those of kestrel.
Fox sighting:

Also heard/seen: Graceful warblers, greenfinches, turtle doves, collared doves, Syrian woodpeckers, jackdaws, hooded crows, bulbul (calling loop /bridge area)

As night falls I hear a gecko not far off outside our window, as many evenings and nights lately.
No more luck with lampyrids since those found.

Saturday 18 th June

10 gazelle, all in east field.. adult male joined females in oat field near small olive grove, seemed to be almost herding them, nudged one that was low on the ground, made her get up and move on, then moved to another to move, in direction of windsurfer hill. Was he anxious about our proximity perhaps?

Graceful warbler
lots of calls, greenfinches usual area, some Syrian woodpecker calls, jackdaws, hooded crows, bulbuls, bee-eaters,

hyraxes, some chukar like calls.

Sunday 19th June

4 gazelle in east field, adult male, indiv. with just one thin right horn and other female. Another nearby.

Several graceful warbler calls, greenfinches usual place, several hoopoes. Stone curlew calls direction of hidden watercourse, hobby in flight.

fox sighting.
Monday 20th June

8 gazelle : mainly eastern field.. two groups, one near fence usual area, other between olive grove and N/S dirt road. One male over there crossed into field from Pistacia grove, another male, limping, down in east watercourse pines down from valley road not far from sapling field, limping.

hyrax: 1 going into den up from pumphouse.. no other activity noted.

Bee-eaters: several low over north field or twice canopy level.. at least a dozen prob more.

hoopoes: several about east end of north watercourse dirt road and squatting on dust near cistern.

greenfinches singing in usual pine area, turtle dove coos in pines by north watercourse, collared doves, syrian woodpecker call, stone curlews, hooded crows, graceful warbler calls, jay calls

Tuesday 21st June

Graceful warbler calling repeatedly in cape honeysuckle about midday.
Walk: gazelles 4: adult male and another individual on skyline up on NE slope windsurfer hill. Another no visible horns in dry oat field betw small olive grove and cypresses. 4th edge field /dry area north of almond row.

collared doves active, no turtle dove coos today, some blackbird song, plenty syrian woodpecker calls, jay activity, bee-eaters active and vocal over both valleys, greenfinches calls and song in the usual areas.

Wednesday 22nd June

Gazelle: 8 east field windsurfer north slopes 4 indivs, females and well grown young running round to west slopes.. adult male big horns by thorny burnet near fence. On way up to east field three in cypresses, adult male slightly smaller horns with the one horn gazelle and another. 8th gazelle was at edge of young pines and north gazelle field, a female or well grown young.

Hobbies: cypresses by rock flats, at least one, very vocal, flew up and around, also one seen over north watercourse east end, same?

Hoopoes again near rock flats, north watercourse dirt road turn off.. at least two. Also Syrian woodpecker calls, blackbirds, great tits, collared and turtle dove coos, Jays incl. juveniles, jackdaws, hooded crows. In garden: house sparrows, bulbuls, sunbirds. Feral pigeons about as usual. No bee-eaters today, or swifts.. latter soon to leave.

Thursday 23rd June

Gazelle: adult male 'loser' moving from cistern area by Pistacias towards east field.
Hyraxes: a few of Shadiker colony and pumphouse colony active
fox: north watercourse, heading up opposite slope.

Hoopoes: at least two usual place beginning turn of north watercourse dirt road, flying from burnt area to pines and one taking dust bath on dirt road.

Syrian woodpecker calls, hobbies aloft, active, turtle doves and collared doves cooing, , graceful warblers calling, and also active around rock flats, some greenfinch calls in area, bee-eater calls, great tit calls.

garden: laughing doves coos, bulbul melodious calls, house sparrows.

Saturday 25th June

9 gazelle, mainly east field, bulbuls, stone curlews, hooded crows, hoopoes, Syrian woodpeckers, hobbies, greenfinches, jays.

Sunday 26th June

Gazelle briefly spotted up on windsurfer hill near top. Hyrax on wall of garden, back of buildings, top of bank, reaching up against fence to nibble tree leaves (fruit trees).. as we approached it ran surprisingly fast along wall towards tree on bank side, probably it's access to wall. Fox spotted at bridge just past pumphouse, jumped down into water channel under the bridge, (dry now of course)

Wind blowing briskly from west, coolish with that.. peak today just under 28 degrees C.
Great tit calls, Syrian woodpecker calls, brief hobby sighting, stone curlew calls from north fields and hillside, hooded crows about, Blackbird alarm, brief turtle dove coos, collared doves about. Bee-eaters heard just before we left the house .. at about 7 p.m. bulbuls.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

9th -15th June

Pistacia orchard looking nice and green while the ground level dries out.

The 'Blue tuft' thistle started to bloom on the 14th, this was near the turn off of the north watercourse dirt road.

9th June

Peak temp. 30 degrees C, definitely a rise on recent temps

8+ gazelle incl. 3 adult males: 1 male crossed north dirt road from woods to watercourse, Another from pine grove by eucs into east field (where later seen by thorny burnet clump licking his flank and grazing.. they may lick flanks to cool themselves?) , then female seen in woods as we ascended onto lower windsurfer slopes through the wooded area past Pistacia grove.. then at least five including an adult male grazing near top of windsurfer.
hoopoes, At least four in area of young pine grove esp around the bare burnt central area and past there to the rock flats (where little oak and cistern pit) on way to look-out corner.

Tristram's starling, I heard one call to north when we were on north dirt road, direction of hidden watercourse... Akiva heard another when we were in east field, from somewhere to north or north west of us.

stone curlew: some calls from direction of north field,

bee-eater: at least one about, calling, flying over us beginning of valley road,

nightjar: flew over lower part of east field, quite low from woods where we saw the female gazelle/ collared dove corner area , flew to almonds or olive in the small grove.

turtle doves: cooing in many places. Some collared doves about also. (laughing doves in garden as usual)
Eurasian jays: calls, individuals seen various places through the woods.

Syrian woodpecker calls, greenfinch calls and twitters around look-out corner, brief call sounded like ring necked parakeet from trees around east watercourse,

Gardens: house sparrows, bulbuls fledgelings.

Sat 11 June

Lots of hyraxes active by valley road. A few gazelle grazing high up on windsurfer hill. A fox ran up from east watercourse dirt road, up treed slopes. We looked for him when we got to top of shepherd's trail but didn't pick up sight of him again.

2 hoopoes dustbathing on dirt road, circle near cistern. Syrian woodpeckers. Bee-eater heard, 1 seen. Stone curlew calls up north of north gazelle field.
Collared dove flight calls and some activity, laughing doves on street, house sparrows. Hooded crows many places about valley as usual. Hobby aloft high over Pistacia grove soon.
before dusk. blackbird song, great tit calls, some graceful warbler calls.

Sun 12 June

House sparrows started up in garden about 5 a.m. still dark.

Hoopoe by rock flats again, heading into pines.. hobby calling, 2 circling high in flight earlier, Graceful warbler calls, greenfinches, turtle doves,

Lots of hyraxes including young by Shadiker colony rocks, 3 adult male gazelle grazing around north watercourse.. another in lower east field, couldn't see what , already light dimming by then. Stone curlew calls north field, 16 bee-eaters as we headed down..

Mon 13th June

Weather a little cooler, breezier, moist air, clouds blowing in from west, long thunder roll.
House sparrows, laughing doves, bulbuls in garden including fledgelings wing fluttering at dawn in Bauhinia, quite well grown but still asking for food.
Flock just over half dozen bee-eaters, flying about over valleys, calling, brief stone curlew calls,
Hobby calls and seen aloft, Jays about, young jay heard calling for food, graceful warbler calls, greenfinch calls around bunker area as usual, lots of Syrian woodpecker calls.

Gazelle: north watercourse a couple bachelors, another young adult male in woods near central trail, another couple ran up hill near batcave, spooked by some boys training on hillside, Lots of hyraxes, one climbing half way up acacia near pumping station, descended as we approached, lots by Shadiker including little ones,

Main flower in bloom visible now is globe thistle. Polygonum also blooming fresh, wild carrot finishing, blue tuft thistle foliage up but not blooming yet.

Tuesday 14th June

clear day today, mild, low 20s, humidity about 60% in the late afternoon

Gazelle: 3 in view grazing near fence east field nr foot of steeper windsurfer hill north slope.
Hyraxes: chittering calls near pumphouse

bee-eater calls, hoopoe over north gazelle field, headed into pines. Much twittering of greenfinches in a number of pines, some blackbird song, syrian woodpecker calls, great tit calls, turtle dove coos, collared dove coos. (garden coos of laughing doves and feral pigeons) , hobbies glimpsed.

(swifts and stone curlews quiet today)

Wednesday 15th June

clear skies, mild temps.. 28 degrees C earlier dropped to lower 20s later afternoon.

bee-eaters , flock about 18 hawking over edge of neighbourhood. Collared doves coos and display flight. Graceful warblers.

repeated sounds of ''hhan.......... hhan .......... hhan'' from down in pines , then spotted adult male gazelle , noticed when he made that noise, uplifted head and whole body momentarily stiff. Then he moved on with distinct tail wiggle, also acts as signal.

Vipers bugloss and fennel also in bloom

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 1st > 8th

Above 'on', below, front view and 'off'. Same individual . I love these shots! Nice job Akiva!

Wednesday June 1st

Weather late afternoon mild/cool, breezy

Gazelle: 1 male ran across path north watercourse dirt road..

Then two more, prob also bachelors, emerged from north watercourse to graze on banks..

A 4th gazelle buck seen running through Pistacia grove

2 more, (female and well grown young?) moving uphill treed slopes windsurfer away from east watercourse dirt road

birds: turtle dove coos, collared dove coos, greenfinch chaws eucs by bunker rubble, Syrian woodpecker calls, hooded crows.. tall cypresses north of way to look out corner, rattling croak call from two close quarters.. territorial or between mates? Other calls

golden thistle blooming in north watercourse

Thursday June 2nd

Gazelle: upper NW slopes windsurfer, four gazelle loosely grazing together, appeared to be two groups of two, mother and well grown young. foot of slope near security fence flatter area.. three more , male and two with much less pronounced horns. Same story in field between smaller olive grove and cypresses. 10 in all

Hyraxes: by valley road

Birds: turtle doves cooing, two on line over east valley, farther along, two collared doves.. also still active cooing.
(laughing doves continue in the garden and yesterday middle of the day a feral pigeon was cooing quite emphatically from a window sill)

Delighted when Akiva spotted a wheatear in the sapling field. Good chance they are still breeding there despite all the foliage changes! Was a female or perhaps an immature, hard to tell, was quite dapper. Probably a black eared wheatear.

Look out corner greenfinches as usual, occasional call of Syrian woodpeckers, calls of stone curlews, Akiva spotted two in flight beyond ploughed area, on stony patch but when landed, invisible to both of us. Akiva also thought he glimpsed a hoopoe flying over at about almond line into pine grove. Likely he did. Hobby heard. Hoodies about as usual.

Saturday 4th June

Gazelle: Several seen grazing east field near fence betw. small olive grove and slopes, treed slope windsurfer up from east watercourse dirt road.. a female. sub adult betw olive grove and trees.. Akiva affirmed ten total in that area

Hyrax: numerous active along valley road, quite a few youngsters out and lively.

Birds: Most interesting, two nightjars flew over foot main north windsurfer hill slope, one a few seconds after the other but in line, headed into woods up from east watercourse.

wheatear call from somewhere in east field but no good views of the bird.

Otherwise: jackdaws, hooded crows, great tit fledgelings? greenfinches, much stone curlew vocalization north of gazelle field, stony area but didn't see. Syrian woodpecker calls. No bee-eaters again. Collared doves cooing esp in usual sw corner of east field but no turtle doves today.

(cooler, breezier than usual for this time of year lately, peak about 28 degrees C). mainly north/northwesterlies but for easterlies a few hours in the morning. Humidity, 30 , when easterlies of course, to 85% later in the afternoon.

Sunday 5 June

Hobby over nr. Bat cave. 2 bachelor gazelle betw north watercourse and trees just nw of bat cave. A third buck gazelle in young pine grove by service road.

Much singing of ground, ground fire around north watercourse and around bat cave area but still good patches of grazing even there.

Couple hoopoes seen separately, one by Akiva, one by me, first was in the pine grove mentioned above, second over gazelle field. Turtle dove coos, some collared dove coos, swift calls over valley road area between sunset and dusk. Blackbird song. Much greenfinch chawing and twittering around bunker area. Akiva glimpsed Eurasian jay. No woodpeckers, Prinias, wheatears or other regulars today.

Around buildings: house sparrows, bulbuls, laughing doves, hooded crows and jackdaws.. latter two also throughout the valleys.

Found two female larviform glowing lampyrids ('glow worms') on our walk.. one in grasses on bank .. we had found another a few days before but not had camera, so have carried ever since. On our way back into neighbourhood found another one by foot of steps up to our street on a chunk of conglomerate.. I carried it home on this and Akiva got a couple of pics above.. taken in salon in relatively low ambient light. Soon after she switched off. I released her in the garden.

Monday: 6 June

House sparrows, bulbuls, hooded crows: in woods, singing blackbirds, some graceful warbler calls, some great tit fledgeling calls, Eurasian jays making fuss near Pistacia grove, stone curlew calls north gazelle fields area,

Gazelle: 2 north eastern slopes windsurfer near fence, female & well grown young, later, adult male ran out of cover of cypresses we were approaching, headed out into field between small olive grove and us.. a short while later a fourth gazelle in Pistacia grove. As we approached the cistern, fox spotted headed into the Pistacias, lean, mainly greyish, tint of reddish, tail straight out behind.. then stopped to gaze at us as did the buck gazelle. Foxes usually do this.. they trot or walk to distance they consider safe, then stare at us.

Wednesday 8th June

Circled windsurfer hill clockwise from our side.. near top one of dirt roads watched male black eared wheatear (melanoleuca race, or was it a pied? dang don't remember if the back was black.. so used to seeing black eared hadn't occurred to me to check that obvious detail but only had good view against foliage for fraction of a second- shows importance of getting such details esp with this family ) in song, perched on boulders, every few minutes changing his location to cover more of his territory.

Male gazelle sighted near saddle watercourse where we descended.. another glimpsed.. snorts heard.

Akiva found another 'glow worm' which he attempted to photograph but she turned off before he got a good shot. That also placed in the garden. Hopefully they might breed there given flighted visiting males!