Monday, November 7, 2011

November 2011

Winter crocus, Crocus hyemalis, found blooming along saddle watercourse trail, midday on 28th

Monday 7th Nov.

Rain with thunder and lightning a couple of days ago, a fair fall. Temps have dropped a lot to just over 10 degrees C at night, today up to 18.5 degrees max. (1.30 p.m.)

Sky almost clear of clouds! Sparrowhawks at least two.. calls and fly byes.. one from trees by bat cave.. heard calls, then it crossed north watercourse and headed towards east valley, other , Akiva believed not same one, skirted edge of east field, At any rate we heard calls from north field somewhere after first had flown south so def. at least 2 in area if not three or more.

Syrian woodpeckers, calling and seen in eucalyptus grove by bunker rubble, stonechats heard around cistern, seen in fields by dry stone walls betw. us and small olive grove.. in one, male with female ,

jays active and vocal various places, jackdaws several score around open ground, buildings south end Hizmeh hill, hoodies passing over from north to south in singles, some calls, returning from forage likely, collared doves at least four up on lines over near where the watercourses meet, , some very vocal Prinias by dry stone walls by small olive grove, several gazelle, two in the Pistacia grove and other places in the valley, and the sunbird in the cape honeysuckle STILL singing.

Still no black redstart by bunker rubble , sad. None seen by dry stone walls either.

Sunbird heard singing in cape honeysuckle quite a lot lately.. house sparrows about garden, laughing doves foraging on ground quite regular and the occasional bulbuls passing through gardens, various calls. Occasional ring neck parakeet calls.

Akiva has heard occasional stone curlew call lately but not so often now.

Sunday 13th November

quite mild.. sky pale porcelain blue with scattered altocumulus, gazelle were up grazing on the western slopes of 'windsurfer hill' 2 in sight, rest probably around out of sight on western face (we were looking from north) Syrian woodpecker call, great tit churr and
and chaffinch calls in the pinesnear descent to dirt road, chiffchaff (?)high contact calls (by central trail) , stonechat calls just after sunset as light fails out in the east field field, hyrax barks from their colonies, sparrowhawk glimpsed over north watercourse, and the usual jackdaws and hoodies
calls from a covey of chukars over across the north watercourse yesterday as well as most other birds as today.

Garden: house sparrows, laughing doves, sunbirds, bulbuls usual most days lately.

Monday 14th Nov.

Walked back from Pisgat Zeev mid morning, via saddle watercourse. a mature shaggy coated hyrax on sentry duty near pumping station, where, to my amazement, some mullein still blooming, or blooming again, second wind due to rains. Jerusalem autumn crocus many places western slopes of windsurfer and in one place, a little blooming thyme
stonechats calling in fields, sunbirds, bulbuls in gardens, white wagtails over street, jackdaws, laughing doves and others about

quite a few white butterflies seen, surprisingly also a salmon Arab right by foot of stairs to our entrance.

Afternoon: chaffinch calls near pumping station, east watercourse flowing, had reached about level with ascent up shepherd's trail when we got there.. jays, jackdaw flock up hill, hoodies,
15 Nov. Tuesday

Cooler today, misty in the east, Max 15 degrees C today, just over 12 degrees for most of walk, humidity about 50%.

street: house sparrows, laughing doves, bulbul
woods: Jay, Syrian woodpecker, those high pitched contact calls again but still couldn't get a glimpse, but clearly seasonal.

gazelle: At least 3 well horned bachelor males euc. grove/bat cave north watercourse area.

Hooded crows mobbing large hawk, mid/pale even brownish mostly rather than barred but not good view.

East field no gazelles noticed, whistle calls of small jobs but not seen, prob stonechats but didn't hear the chak chak call, covey of chukars filing away from us on one of the trails, towards the hill

Wednesday 23 Nov

4 p.m. and it's about 16 degrees C, up on yesterday

some gazelle behaviour at least 6, group lower north hill slopes, at least one buck but most females and well grown males.. one female looked very skittish, running about, nervous, several high back kicks.

Two more near bridge treed slopes to east of east watercourse dirt road.. both snorting, clear view of one, adult male, other presumably also, snorted in turn.

sparrowhawk seen and heard calling in trees by bat cave, chaffinches calls, chiffchaffs, presumably high contact calls, stonechats in fields by north watercourse, hooded crows tree tops and flying over, singles, jackdaw flock again absent. Stone curlew heard about 5.20 p.m. already dark.

House sparrows seen and heard in the garden, prob also laughing doves but not seen. Bulbuls or sunbirds not heard at all last couple of days. Feral pigeons on roof tops, still, just perched.

lots of autumn crocus

Thursday 24th November

Black redstart - on a dry stone wall in the east field.. not many metres from the cypress grove. first definite sighting of the season, finally! Also, several gazelle, (one buck in field betw. olive grove and cypress, other with the longer horns over near fence. Stonechat on shrub mid field, and song heard, hoodies singles , passing over, another perched on wires post, wing lifting, soliciting? , jackdaws calls over neighbourhood, Prinias calls, white wagtails calls heard various places, Syrian woodpeckers calls near cistern and Pistacia orchard, collared dove flew from pumphouse into dense eucalyptus.

Tristram's starling heard calling from house a few days later.

Monday 28th Nov

clear skies, temp ~12 degrees.

singing great tit heard! Late morning Pisgat Zeev, by 'tayeret haducifat', a major road along the edge of the neighbourhood.

Most significant and sad today.. shortly before noon fox found lying in east watercourse (dry), just 'upstream' from bridge.. still but breathing, yellow staining on thighs, upper tail.. saliva noticed coming from mouth but not foam.. then we saw it have convulsion as in strychnine poisoning.. sometimes put out for stray dogs. We had noticed a pack a few days before and wondered if they had been reported and poison put down for rabies control. Unfortunately we didn't have a good means available to put it out of it's misery and hoped it was ''out of it'' enough not to be suffering too greatly and would die soon. We all felt horribly helpless and frustrated and sad we could do nothing for her. On our return about 4.30 p.m. she was gone from former position but had managed to drag herself several feet under the bridge, into the concrete tunnel. She was also still alive, poor thing. It occurred to me then that she could be in final stages of rabies infection. On our return Akiva called our vet who referred us to city vet. Our vet said rabies was indeed a possibility. Instinctively neither of us had got close to her so we had no significant exposure. About forty minutes later he was in the neighbourhood .. Akiva took him down to show location. The vixen put up a surprising amount of fight and resistance for her condition but was clearly unable to flee. Vet took her away for testing. He said no rabies in neighbourhood. We shall be in contact to find out result of tests and post here when/if we learn something.

House sparrows, calling sunbird, laughing doves, bulbuls in gardens, also graceful warblers, Syrian woodpecker calls, a sparrowhawk over north watercourse later afternoon, hoodies, jackdaws, white wagtails on Elias about their favourite tree and on rooftop, various small unidentified jobs about.

Tuesday 29th November

sparrowhawk flew over north watercourse to mid woods.. regular! , several gazelle north field, lower hill slopes 1 buck, two females.. watched female scratch herself on side of neck/chin area with her left back hoof, other licking her flanks.. common gazelle thing, , black redstart about 10 ms up on spikes on one of power pylons in that field, blackbird alarm calls in woods.. as also yesterday, forgot to mention him above, sunbird calling in cape honeysuckle, jackdaws .. and the coral gum saplings have been hit by some kind of infection. Below.. notice exit holes.. some kind of insect. Most leaves hit relatively low on the saplings, higher leaves could be clear or almost clear, lower leaves entirely covered with reddish purple discoloration.

Lots of purple crocus in those fields, no white, some autumn squill in parts.

Wednesday 30th November

8 gazelle, 2 groups, 4 bachelors eucalyptus grove by north watercourse near bat cave, grazing, 4 females/well grown young about foot of twin pylons, male black redstart at the bunker rubble, hurray! First seen in that location this season, stonechat calling near the bachelor gazelles, hoodies flying over in singles, sparrows about gardens, feral pigeons about roofs, white wagtails, Akiva noted flying over edge of neighbourhood, Eurasian jays alarm calls in woods by north watercourse, Prinias calls.

1 winter crocus near north watercourse, rest purple. (Jerusalem autumn crocus)