Saturday, July 23, 2011

23 July > 31st July

Saturday 23rd July

Gazelles: 1 adult male with good size horns grazing low on the slope near the trail leading from valley road north corner to north watercourse dirt road

Another with short horns seen from hoopoe corner, in woods towards owl glade

Low part east field two individuals running from open field towards small olive grove.

Looking towards windsurfer on upper field adult male, farther towards fence in that favoured grazing area south east corner of the field, at least six.

Birds: graceful warblers vocal and active, 3 young birds flew over north watercourse dirt road from watercourse acacias and into pines.

hoopoe from open area ''hoopoe corner'' flew into pines.
hobby calls from ahead of us over young pine grove, called shrilly, repeatedly, rose and circled, a sparrowhawk took off, seemed because of hobby, flew off toward look out corner and east valley woods.
another raptor over to north east, large buteo type circling, long legged buzzard? too far to get detail.
some turtle dove coos, collared doves active but not cooing, though some coos of them heard towards sunset last week. Eurasian jays active and vocal, just down from shadiker
greenfinches twittering in eucalyptuses look out corner.

Sunday 24th

5.18 a.m. bulbul

At least 5 gazelle in the Pistacia orchard, none with adult male horns.. one of them smaller than others.. this year's young? High spirited, every now and again jumping about and kicking as if wanted to play and trying to get the others involved in it. Akiva said he saw a couple of others respond briefly.

turtle dove coos, hoopoe by 'hoopoe corner' , graceful warblers very vocal and active, stone curlew calls briefly. cicadas. Eurasian jays. Greenfinches and Syrian woodpeckers quiet today. Hobby short vocalizations as it grew dark, from trees by east watercourse. View of fox near hawthorn, dark sided, running to and fro between pauses.
Hooded crows, house sparrows, jackdaws pretty much as usual.

Monday 25th

reacheda bout 34.5 degrees C today.. when we set out , just after 7 p.m. was just over 30 degrees and 30% humidity.

Hyrax sprawled on valley road, looked like road kill! Then picked up only its head and looked at us.. then lolopped off..
gazelle, 1 short thin horns head of shepherd's trail, moved off towards windsurfer.

Birds: bulbul in garden, laughing dove coo in street, hooded crow heard, in woods, collared dove flight call, a number of graceful warbler calls, brief blackbird alarm, stone curlew calls, distant falcon call, Syrian woodpecker calls.

cicadas, black millipedes

Bat on way home,

Tuesday 26 July

Shortly after return: about 27 degrees C, humidity ~50% and rising.. (max earlier about 35 degrees C) lots of hyraxes including youngsters at Shadiker colony,
several gazelle v short horns by north watercourse, 1 adult buck,

5 hoopoes dirt road 'hoopoe corner', (near rock flats where north watercourse dirt road turns to meet central trail) , turtle and collared doves cooing, stone curlews, sunbird, bulbul, greenfinches betw. bunker rubble and eucs of look-out corner, syrian woodpecker calls, cicadas
in cypresses up from east watercourse dirt road

Wednesday 27th July

not more than about 31 degrees C today, down a few degrees from yesterday's peak
.. some gazelle in the dry oats field, east field, short thin horns, including young. Adult male near north watercourse.
turtle dove cooss, Syrian woodpeckers, blackbirds, hoopoe on dirt road usual place.

also operating near there.. didn't get good view but mode of movement, perching , flying down returning and white outer tail feathers.. not a masked. Red backed young?

Thursday 28th July

a few gazelle in the oat fields and pine woods, stone curlews, collared doves, blackbirds, Prinias, Syr. woodpeckers, hobby, jackdaws, hoodies
Saturday 30th July

Gazelle, about 10 in east field in various places, mostly lower slopes though didn't see the alpha male, or not clearly.
Hyraxes; several active by valley road around sunset, only adults seen.

Hoopoe: 1 near cistern, several collared doves on ground around cistern, one turtle dove on top of pomegranate tree, two wheatears hunting insects around bunker rubble, really nice views, using barbed wire and rebars for perches, one adult male, other was juvenile or female. Much more like hispanica subspecies than the melanoleuca we usually see.. much more buff/orange, and almost grey grown.

As we headed down saw flock of bee-eaters heading over lower neighbourhood, about a dozen, soon followed by about another two dozen. Syrian woodpeckers, many calls, Eurasian jays spotted active in many places, Prinias active and vocal. greenfinches calling in trees euc grove near cistern. stone curlew calls from north field, relatively early.

cicadas, again esp in trees up from east watercourse dirt road, past orchard, almost at saplings.

Sunday 31st July

As ascended shepherd's trail group of gazelle including one with adult male horns ahead of us, headed into field. Soon after saw the usual two groups.. the one with the larger horns between windsurfer hill and small olive grove, though only a few females/young visible, and a little later, the male with slightly shorter horns between small olive grove and cypresses in company of a few short horned individuals including one horn. Groups keeping consistently within known regions.

Hyraxes on and by valley road, a number in the acacia at foot of ramp coming down from back of buildings, scrambled down on our approach.

At least one hoopoe about, foraging mainly along edge of valley road. Possibly (flight) lame pigeon near head of ramp, grey rump as original rock doves of area, Eurasian jays, hooded crows, in garden, laughing doves, still cooing, by valley road, bulbul. Quiet day! Cicadas.

Peak today about 33 degrees C, about 27 when we headed out, 50% humidity and climbing, winds light north westerly.

Monday, July 11, 2011

11 July > 21st July

Monday 11 July

Cicadas last few days even up till sunset , heard in cypress and Pistacias but not located, well camouflaged. Temps to low and mid 30s C peak time of day.

Gazelle: 9 in east field.. 6 between small olive grove and windsurfer north slopes, another three between olive groves and trees, lower part.

graceful warblers very vocal lately, Eurasian jays about, short sharp calls of hobbies in tree tops and brief glimpses.,

strange call in garden tree.. sounded like slow soft but carrying trill.. as if a bulbul were imitating a turtle dove . Sunbird calls. Laughing doves, house sparrows,

Tuesday 12th July

Several gazelle seen in various places about the woods, 1 over on path near cistern, alone, not adult male,
Hyrax active and vocal

Hoopoe, jay, turtle dove calls, stone curlew, blackbirds active and vocal but not singing, short low contact notes, graceful warbler and bulbuls around garden. Graceful warbler calls approach to look out corner.

Shabbat 16th July

Several Gazelle seen almost every day esp in east field, usual places. Today three down near fence foot NE windsurfer slopes.
Hyrax activity by street

Graceful warbler, at least two in our garden and adjoining garden active lately. Bee-eaters late afternoon heard from house. In woods Syrian woodpecker, wheatear on a sapling tube in Pistacia orchard.. another a few days ago same area. stone curlew heard.. Eurasian jays more in evidence lately.

Bulbul and sunbird calls also garden, house sparrows, laughing doves.

Sunday 17th July

6 gazelle in total, hyraxes, hoopoe, hobbies, stone curlews, much greenfinch activity between eucalyptuses of look out corner and the bunker pines, Syrian woodpecker calls and glimpses, blackbirds spotted though not singing, occasional relatively soft alarms. Turtle dove and collared dove coos, hooded crows.

Bulbul and sunbird in the garden.

Monday 18th July

8 gazelle grazing in favourite place south east of east field, down near fence and foot of slope. Great tit calls heard, Syrian woodpecker calls, some stone curlew calls as it got dark, sounds like collared dove and turtle dove coos mostly abated now but replaced by numerous insects.. cicadas of low pitch end of afternoon, various crickets as the day darkened. Hoopoe by road near pumping station, flew off to tree in sapling field.

Laughing dove coos, melodious bulbul calls, Prinia calls and occasional sunbird calls in the morning. Forgot to mention a few days ago a couple of lizards noticed amongst fence pieces by patio.

Wednesday 20th July

Hoopoes, at least two around hoopoe corner, usual other birds in woods, blackbirds, stone curlews, (from direction north fields) , great tit scolds, graceful warblers, syrian woodpeckers. As most days this week, cicadas buzzing at various pitches, pitch lower towards sunset.. temps in low 30s early afternoon but humidity down to about 25% at hottest time of day climbing up to about 50% at night

Thursday 21 th July

10 gazelle grazing around windsurfer mountain, on high north west slopes and low down by foot of north east slopes including adult buck who I observed on hill trail up from us repeatedly rubbing his horns against stones or bush or ground, hard to tell. . Also including two in the forest just south of central trail, female and young. Could have been twelve if we didn't count two twice. There were two running to and fro on mid west slopes, apparently chasing each other, fast, almost like play, not significant horns, we didn't know if these joined the others on the north slopes or not.

Quite a bit of hyrax activity by valley road, some juveniles out, adults of various ages.

Syrian woodpecker calls, blackbird alarm, great tit alarms, glimpses of raptors, probably hobbies but very quick views, could also have been sparrowhawk. stone curlew calls. Some collared dove cooing in pines by north gazelle field. Some greenfinch twitters, lark (?)calls in east field. Didn't see for confirmation, may have been wheatears. Akiva heard bee-eaters from house mid afternoon. I heard ring neck parakeets shortly after dawn when I went out to feed the chickens.

Street: laughing doves cooing on roof edges,

Saturday, July 2, 2011

July 1st-9th

Garden gets regular spraying and interestingly the kind of vegetation we get there we don't necessarily see in the valley. Most of it is goosefoot but recently this , above, began to bloom. I appealed to facebook friends for I.D. and one of them, Kyron Hanson positively I.D. it as common purslane, also known as pigweed. Portulaca oleracea, likely accidentally seeded by birds from other gardens.

Saturday 2nd July

Gazelles: As we came up shepherd's path three ahead of us, subadults from the look, females/young females, and a group of that constitution has been seen in that area a number of times.

Also consistent.. in field just north of small olive grove adult male licking flanks, nearby two females or well grown young grazing nearby in old oats and by thorny burnet. As we were speaking I spooked a fourth gazelle, female with only 1 right horn, she ran towards the other three.

Another 4 grazing over beyond the almond tree row

stone curlews quite vocal as dusk came.
greenfinches: some alarm calls
syrian woodpeckers: calls
collared doves: some coos, quite a number of flight calls.
falcon over field just north of windsurfer hill, brown back and wing coverts, not as russet as those of kestrel.

garden: sunbirds, bulbuls, laughing doves, house sparrows.

psittacine calls.. last week we noticed three lovebirds lose end of Shadiker, calling to each other between pines, a fig tree and ailanthus.. we've been hearing them over the last few days up and down the local streets including this morning.

Sunday 3rd July

Gazelle.. buck spooked on way down from valley road north corner and north watercourse dirt road. Later: in east field betw. small olive grove and pines again the buck in company with the four young females including one horn.. I get the impression all young pre breeding immature females which would explain why they're with him and not in the main herd with the longer horned male closer (and around) windsurfer hill.

Lots of hyraxes active in Shadiker colony area including young ones.

Garden: 5.10 a.m. bulbul, a few minutes later, sunbird. Later, laughing doves and house sparrows, former coos and feeding on ground.

valley: greenfinch twitters usual lowest altitude pines.. lots of Syrian woodpecker calls and some sightings. Hoopoe on dirt road north watercourse turn off (favourite place for spotting these) , Graceful warbler calls, stone curlew calls, bee-eaters about above calling. Hooded crows about. Collared dove coos and flight calls, also plenty turtle dove calls today.

globe thistles have the usual blue/green and red beetles as in last season, the bluer and fresher, the more infested, probably enjoying the pollen.

Monday 4th July

Hyraxes by valley road very active, otherwise day pretty quiet in terms of birds, unusually so.

Tuesday 5th July

At least three hoopoes at and around the usual dirt road turn.. I had the impression more.. Turtle dove coos in pines by north valley dirt road, collared dove coos and calls as we approached look out corner area.. brief view of chase, only fraction of second but looked to me like hobby chasing off sparrowhawk.

Several gazelle, 5: 1 adult male close to north watercourse , treed area, two more, females/well grown young on hillslopes north east, two more in woods just south of central trail.

Graceful warbler calls .. in garden again and also up by fence by north gazelle field. Sunbird calls in garden numerous times. Syrian woodpecker calls, greenfinch calls. stone curlew calls north fields/low hill slopes shortly after sunset. No bee-eaters today and crows low profile.

As usual lately calls of geckoes heard on buildings in the evening.

Wednesday 6th July

Following gazelle trails around west and north slopes of windsurfer hill. surprised some chukar partridges and a couple of small groups of gazelle including adult male who later made his way down to his usual grazing area near fence, along with at least six females and well grown young.

Hooded crow harassing raptor, long tail with subterminal dark band like kestrel but seemed a little larger , but not sparrowhawk, which has three bands. Crow repeated attacks, two separate incidents separated by at least fifteen mins.

stone curlew calls after sunset. Syrian woodpecker calls. No bee-eaters today. Plenty hyrax activity by valley raod.

Warm, temps even late afternoon 28 degrees C.

Globe thistle and thyme still flowering though many of former finished, those not are heavy with the red beetles.

Thursday 7th July

On way down from valley road to north watercourse dirt road adult male gazelle grazing on slope as a few days ago, prob same one. Three more gazelle grazing amongst Pistacias, females/well grown young.

Turtle dove coos, some collared dove vocalizations. house sparrow flock edge neighbourhood.

At least two hoopoes in usual area near the rock flats/dirt road turn off. Graceful warblers very vocal. Also near there some nice hobby sightings and vocalizations.. at least two individuals in the area. Syrian woodpeckers also very vocal. Jackdaws and hooded crows also heard and some greenfinch calls. Woodpecker also heard in /near garden at dawn as well as graceful warbler in cape honeysuckle. Sunbird and bulbuls also heard, latter from about 5.10 a.m. , later laughing doves as usual.

Jays, bee-eaters, blackbirds, stone curlews not seen or heard on walk.

As we approached pumping station calls from hillside I thought chukars, Akiva thought hyraxes.. the latter do have some vocalizations very similar to chukars.. habitat for both..

Saturday 9th July

MUCH vocalization of hyraxes on rocks by valley road, 'cypress slum' colony but we couldn't make out what the fuss was all about.. no dogs or cats about , much high pitched shrilling alarm calls, barks and bark snorts from many individuals but they weren't alarmed by us, and a mother was nursing three kits on a rock nearby unpeturbed. Perhaps a ground predator in one of the dens, like a snake?

No gazelles seen in any of the fields though one without horns just south of central trail shortly after sunset.

Sunbird garden, melodious calls, on street: laughing doves, bulbuls, house sparrows, woods, Eurasian jay activity. Also hooded crows, jackdaws, graceful warblers.

Hot today, got to 36 degrees C max, dropped below 30 after 6 p.m , cicadas still going at sunset though later, 10.30 p.m breeze picked up and clouds coming over from west. Easterlies were only for a couple of hours this morning but enough to really pick up the temperatures.