Thursday, December 13, 2012

November, December first half

 Sodom apple flowers  Calotropis procera

November posts accidentally deleted when clearing out old draughts..  oops! Birds pretty much as expected at this time of year, though low.. hardly any chaffinch sightings and white wagtails down also. Very quiet lately.

 Winter crocus (Crocus hyemalis) first noticed Nov 28,  Autumn crocus (Colchicum hierosolymitanum) from Nov 15th      First Dianthus noticed in ages on the 26th.  Flowers of Sodom apple photographed by Naama on 25th November ( pic above)  A number of ground beetles noticed in the house towards end of November.. Calathus genus or similar.. haven't seen this month yet.

December 5th

Family first which meant limited to no birdwatching opportunity on the Gilboa trip but DID notice goldfinches and chaffinches in open and agricultural areas, stonechats in scrubby wilder land, also Eurasian jays by roadside, kestrels hunting, great white egrets near Beit Shean.. Akiva thinks he saw white storks,  he also noticed a large very dark raptor sitting on fence right by road near checkpoint from valley into Beit Shean area.. probably black kite.  On previous Gilboa trip, two weeks ago, more great white egrets noticed from vehicle and large raptors aloft, probably also kites, but got no chance for good look. So tantalizing, other things seen from car but no chance to stop and have good look.
Shrike like calls heard in bushes both trips but not noticed.  Hyraxes also heard in rocks by road leading up to Malkishua yesterday.  In a woodland part of that road noticed numerous cyclamen already in bloom though we don't expect them in Jerusalem for another few weeks. Also a clump of several Dianthus seen by roadside, as many as I've ever seen together.

December 6th

About half a dozen adult male gazelle grazing in fresh new grass by both north and east watercourses and under pines, as well as female with one (right) horn and three subadults, not in one herd but spread out in twos and threes.

Hyrax barks from direction of valley road colony, blackbird song and alarms, robin alarms, small flock of collared doves on lines and in trees between hoopoe stretch and gazelle field.

December 10th

sunbirds active in the garden last couple of days, alarm calls heard, activity in the cape honeysuckle.  Bulbuls also heard.  Some ring neck parakeets heard in neighbourhood several times over the last week.
Hoodies and jackdaws heard,  blackbird song by east watercourse, settling down calls, some thin calls, prob chiffchaffs. No luck with black redstart or stonechats last week in patch,

December 14th

Absence of white wagtails lately but sunbirds and bulbuls, sparrows and laughing doves active in gardens,  hoodies, feral pigeons, jackdaws about the street and around.  Valley: great tits, graceful warblers and blackbirds heard but all else relatively low profile. Chaffinch calls.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

 Google maps link for annotated map of area showing the various watercourses and other locations mentioned in the blog

Thursday, November 1, 2012



Tuesday 2nd October

First autumn squill found, mid south side of shepherd's trail, small stand

sunbird singing in garden midday hours,  house sparrows, feral pigeons about.

hooded crows, jackdaws about, calls.  Ring neck parakeet early morning visit,  Akiva heard bee-eaters sometime in the afternoon.  In valley, several glimpses and calls of jays, blackbird noticed but quiet.  Some graceful warbler calls.

Gazelle.. three east field betw olives and hill, male chasing female followed by another female. Several down in Pistacia grove area, up to half a dozen, headed over to euc grove and pines east of cistern.

Saturday 27 October 

Has been a quiet month.   Some more squll found by north watercourse dirt road near shaft, north side.. no luck finding autumn hyacinth.. no crocuses yet.. just one day in which intermittant showers, other days dry and a week of unusual warmth mid Oct.. over 30 every day early afternoon

Sunbird song regular in garden,  also calls.  Activity and vocal several places in the valley also

have not heard ring neck parakeets since last record, nor bee-eaters.

hooded crows and jackdaws active as usual, Eurasian jays active in valley.

Graceful warblers regularly active and vocal,  occasionally in or near the garden.

Laughing doves very little cooing in last few weeks, only a few sightings but pair foraging on street today.

White wagtail heard and glimpsed flying over the street last week.  Akiva noticed in town previous week. 

No sightings of stonechats nor black redstart yet.  Chiffchaffs perhaps, some chiffchaff like calls. Did think I'd heard a stonechat a few weeks ago but were a number of masked shrikes about that week and may have heard one of those in the lower east field  

Gazelle: today four subadult gazelle in lower east field.  Hyrax activity recently quite normal by valley road, twilight barks and various other vocalizations. Bat seen this evening over valley road.. fairly regular this month in evenings.

Monday, October 1, 2012


5th Sept

hyrax nursing young on rock the other day, quite well grown, wondered if she made it deliberately difficult for them because she wanted to wean them

sunbird singing in the garden lately, flocks of finches about, green? Can't tell Syrian woodpeckers and the black capped Eurasian jays vocal and active, a few hoopoe sightings, several gazelle sightings and today several SCORE big brown jobs came drifting over north valley watercourse from the north east late afternoon, coming down into the pines to roost, probably part of the seasonal honey buzzard migration.

6th Sept

at least 12 gazelle in east field and Pistacias.. two groups of six, one in lower , other farther south area, lots of hyrax at the Shadiker colony including young, flock of several dozen honey buzzards sailing over to the south about sunset, jays, syrian woodpeckers, bulbuls and such, and turtle doves, 2 chillin' on the line as usual over most SW pines

stonechats back! at least two calling in east field

19th Sept

Quite a few masked shrike heard calling lately , forest edge land between shaft and look out corner, just calls, no visuals.

Usual birds but relatively quiet, the doves and greenfinches have stopped vocalizing.  Prinias still vocal as are jays and Syrian woodpeckers, some calls of great tits occasional, also occasional blackbird chakchak towards dusk.

chukar heard somewhere out north of north watercourse yesterday.  Lately including today swallows noticed zipping through.

bats noticed lately over valley road, occasional gazelle sightings, today female middle east woods, yesterday buck, female and young grazing in Pistacias which are turning red.  Hyraxes on rocks by roadside.

22nd Sept

Most notable, by NE picnic corner area of valley road, nice view flyover nightjar at dusk.  Apart from that, some activity adult hyraxes both sides of road, blackbird chacking settling down to roost over towards sapling field, hoodies returning to roost.  Earlier, jackdaw and syrian woodpecker calls,  sunbird singing in garden towards midday.

24th Sept

about midday.. couple dozen or more white storks seen circling high over edge neighbourhood about midday. On walk, about a dozen bee-eaters calling flying quite low over neighbourhood late afternoon heading north west, Eurasian jays glimpsed, lark calls, near north watercourse open, blackbird chaks woods down from valley road, bulbul calls from bank, and great tit calls, Syrian woodpecker and brief hobby calls, jackdaws and hoodies

end September... regular sunbird calling in garden.. rainfall on and off on 29th.  Ring neck parakeets visiting garden early mornings lately, lark calls by north watercourse in open,  jackdaw, hoodie calls, jays in woods.

Gecko calling outside window.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August cont'd

Sunday 12 August

lots of hyrax scampering about and vocal today, colony by valley road.. also Shadiker colony has been active lately.. .. hobby call in the cypress by bat cave, Syrian woodpeckers in the eucalyptus, great tits in the Pistacias, bee-eaters about, calls of hoodies, jackdaws, all the doves: feral pigeon, laughing doves about street and gardens, , collared and turtle doves on line in valley, Prinia calls and in the garden, sparrows, sunbirds and bulbuls as usual.

Blue skies. temps upper 20s during walk, peaked at about 32 degrees C earlier, humidity over 60% and rising.

Perseid meteor showers.. Avremi saw one from the garden last night, Akiva saw a bright green one this (sunday) evening

Monday 13 August

watched two kestrels gliding about together over to the east, over bipass road then heading up over Hizmeh, several gazelle including the Pistacia family, (buck, female, young) , at least three more foot north east slopes of windsurfer hill, also a female near north watercourse, lots of hyraxes about by valley road, great tit family foraging in Pistacias, calls of Syrian woodpeckers various parts of woods around look-out, various doves on lines, collared, prob turtle but no cooing, bee-eater calls heard on and off since we left the house, cicadas in the Pistacias, and lots of oriental hornets about. Geckoes also heard around building lately.

Lady living in the street (daughter of Basha Zusman) noticed in old city geckoes on walls facing down watching.. if saw cockroach would run down and bite head.

Saturday 25th August

Relatively quiet today.. Hoodies active as usual, quite a bit of hyrax activity by valley road today and lately. Eurasian jay calls heard but nothing from woodpeckers or bee-eaters. Greenfinches and collared doves also quiet. Some collared dove calls in last week but no turtle doves. Glimpses of sparrowhawks lately including today over east watercourse.

Carline thistle and thin safflower still blooming, some Polygonum near beginning of valley road near fig tree, probably getting effluent. Around there also on banks around and below Shadiker and other places, Inula starting to bloom. Still some shrubby restharrow flowers out and by east watercourse dirt road a late blooming thistle with small lilac blooms and olive green foliage, spiny spear like leaves.

Akiva noticed bird running in open space by road in north, from description, cream coloured courser. They also saw pied and white breasted kingfishers in Park HaYarden area as well as cattle egrets.

Black kite over Malkishua, Gilboa area.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


The owl found by route 90 on wed 8th, just north of Fatsael

Wed August 1st

peaked at about 35 degrees C mid afternoon, still low 30s time of walk, humidity betw 20,30% most of day. easterlies shortly after noon, otherwise light southerlies, westerlies, north westerlies.

House sparrows -relatively quiet today ; laughing doves -some coos, gardens ; bulbuls- calls edge of neighbourhood, bank area; sunbirds-quiet today; jackdaws-the large flock foraging and on the move over valley, some calls; hooded crows- singles, pairs about but relatively quiet; feral pigeons-roof tops, flying about edge neighbourhood, over valley in small groups; syrian woodpeckers- multiple calls in woods; Eurasian jays-some activity; greenfinches- not noticed; great tits- some calls various places; bee-eaters- calls of hawking groups over; hoopoes-one on north watercourse dirt road near shaft; chukar partridges-none noticed; hobbies-call area of trees by bat cave; collared doves-some coos and on wire; turtle doves-some coos and on wire; graceful warblers-calls heard; Tristram's starlings-none

gazelle- at least 5 females, well grown young, north west slopes of windsurfer, 4 adult males strolling ahead of us on north watercourse dirt road.. when they became aware of us (we were downwind, so most likely by sound) they headed across the watercourse towards pines on other side
hyraxes-active and vocal by valley road.

Thurs 2nd August

A few degrees cooler than yesterday with nice breeze coming from west/north west

House sparrows - calls, street, gardens ; laughing doves -coos and about street ; bulbuls- calls, street, gardens, ; sunbirds- Akiva heard earlier, gardens ; jackdaws- large flock heading from Adam towards windsurfer towards sunset, 150- 200 birds; hooded crows- a few scattered, active vocal, foraging on north hillsides as usual in last few days; feral pigeons- roof tops, flying about over edge neighbourhood as usual; syrian woodpeckers- calls in pines various places in valley; Eurasian jays- some sightings and calls; greenfinches- none noticed ; great tits- calls, Pistacia orchard, other parts of valley; blackbird- none noticed ;bee-eaters- calls a number of times, dawn and late afternoon over valley, over 25 on lines lower north hill slopes; hoopoes-pair on dirt road near cistern; chukar partridges- none; hobbies- none; collared doves- brief view pair in flight? ; turtle doves-coos and pair on line; graceful warblers- calls; Tristram's starlings- none, Masked shrike? , glimpse near where north watercourse dirt road meets central trail. Ring neck parakeets, heard gardens about dawn.

gazelle- at least two females lower north hill slopes up from bat cave, crows on ground all around. 3 in Pistacia orchard, female with two young of different ages.

Friday and Shabbat, August 3rd, 4th

bulbuls and sunbirds heard in garden last couple of days.. spraying on tomatoes has caused a veritable jungle, the rest of the garden full of garden purslane, black nightshade producing a mulititude of berries the hens like, and mostly goosefoot with Ailanthus and another similar tree growing up in a couple of corners. The Bauhinia definitely had a much better year than last year with many beans coming ripe and splitting after dark.
House sparrows, laughing dove coos, feral pigeons about the buildings.

congregations of jackdaws and hoodies on the hillsides both below the little owl road and on the north slopes, foraging in the ground for whatever.. grasshoppers?

The most bee-eaters I've seen this season over and around look out corner area.. scores, not sure how many, Akiva estimated well over 100, I saw fewer, maybe 80 ish.. at one stage they were all flying in a panic from a couple of raptors in the area.. but we didn't get good views of those, too quick.. larger ones, though, broader winged than hobbies.

collared doves cooing, bird on line looked like turtle from distance but didn't hear their coos or see any hoopoes today.. not sure about greenfinches but did hear Prinias and great tits, Syrian woodpeckers, and Eurasian jays active and vocal.

Sunday 5 August

just after 6 p.m. temp about 26 degrees C, humidity ~60% & rising, light north westerlies.

Bee-eaters heard over valley this afternoon and also about dawn from house, lots of sunbird activity today in a variety of places from garden to woods, 2 gazelle, females, grazing north field, hyraxes vocal and active by valley road, collared dove by look out corner, turtle dove was on ground hoopoe stretch, then flew to east watercourse trees, laughing doves garden coos, jackdaws vocal active valley and rooftops, watched one hop down from solar boiler when hoodie wanted that perch, hoodies, syrian woodpeckers calls and active, Eurasian jay sapling field area, Prinias calls, great tit call. Bulbul calls garden from before dawn on and off, house sparrow activity, feral pigeons, small group flying over valley to neighbourhood, all light, might belong to a coop.

Monday 6 August

Most notable sighting today was european goldfinch in top of eucalyptus at look out corner late afternoon.. heard twitterings.. saw one on top, then a short while later saw one farther down, one on top gone.. couldn't know if second bird but they usually travel in small groups of up to 30 so prob more about esp judging by the twittering.
active and vocal, as were syrian woodpeckers but heard no Prinias or jays and blackbirds are really keeping a low profile. No raptors either, though, of course, jackdaws and hoodies in evidence, foraging on hillsides, flying over, some calls. Feral pigeons over, house sparrows street and gardens as usual.

great tits foraging in Pistacia, adult male gazelle on hill up from bat cave, Hyrax calls, high pitched chittering from bank by valley road.

Tuesday 7 Aug

Over 32 degrees at peak, still just over 30 on our walk,
four gazelle in various places, onehorn and a kid edge of young pines by service road, another female just up from the bat cave and another mature female up on windsurfer upper SW slopes, Hyrax calling their barky chittery call up on the rocky slopes,

great tits in the Pistacias, calls,bulbuls and sunbirds in the garden, jays and woodpeckers about, grey falcon, probably one of the local hobbies, lots of jackdaws and hoodies as usual, ring neck parakeet heard earlier, bee-eaters about, calling and flying over the valley esp about dawn and again late afternoon.

Again, no Prinias, hoopoes noticed, nor the valley doves today.

Wednesday 8 August

Reached mid 30s in Jerusalem, mid 40s in valley.

Not long before noon, top of post outside army base just up from Jordan valley, not far from Maaleh Gilboa, perhaps at natural sea level mystery bird I can't find yet in book.. dark mask through eye prominent but cap grey, not crested, underside whitish, yellowish upper breast. Primaries black, coverts grey with dark bar going back down diagonally, tail long and dark. shrikish/cuckooish in jizz. perhaps a little heavier than great spotted cuckoo.

seen betw valley and Malkishua. there: many bulbuls, some greenfinches,

also seen, egret by date grove in Jordan valley, also found dead (little?) owl by road (pic above)

jackdaws, hooded crows, feral pigeons, laughing doves, house sparrows, kestrel on line? collared doves, turtle doves, many around agricultural parts of valley? graceful warblers

Camel 'spiders' (Solifuga arachnids) reported at Malkishua and at Shira's base but found none, no doubt in deep in cool dark places under the buildings probably, during the heat of the day.

Monday, July 16, 2012

2nd half July

One of a number of Lacerta lizards noticed lately, scurrying across trail. This one was at NW corner of valley road.

Injured hyrax by valley road.. probably had been in a fight. Unfortunately we did not have the means/facilities to catch and care for it.

Monday 16th July

Temp upper 20s, light north westerlies, humidity 40-50%

Several gazelle.. 3 relatively young crossed central trail, heading towards east watercourse, other just up from bat cave.

Lots of crows on hillside up from bat cave, prob hoodies and jackdaws, both about buildings also. Chukar and hobby calls heard from that direction.

Turtle doves cooing, one whole amorous display to female in pine branches, collared doves by contrast quite quiet recently, some coos. laughing doves still cooing. Feral pigeons about.

graceful warblers vocal, active.. greenfinches not started up when we were down there but have been twittering late afternoon most afternoons. Eurasian jays active and vocal esp. hoopoe stretch. 1 hoopoe seen over road near shaft, flew into pines. Syrian woodpecker calls.

bee-eaters about, flock flew over from neighbourhood to valley as we were going down, approaching 50, later seen assembling on lines near service road, and taking off to fly quite high over north fields.

also neighbourhood: house sparrows, several sunbirds in Bauhinia , saw one individual pecking from bean, sharp call, almost squeak, bulbul calls later from local gardens.

Tuesday 18th July

gardens: bulbul calls from shortly after 5 a.m. later, house sparrows, laughing dove coos, jackdaw calls from farther off. Feral pigeons active around edge of neighbourhood.
valley: around cistern area.. bee-eaters, Syrian woodpecker calls, greenfinch calls, Prinia calls, turtle dove and collared dove coos, chukar partridge calls from saddle
watercourse area.

large salmon arab butterfly in rubble area vegetation near cistern.

Wednesday 19th July

Highest temps I've known in Jerusalem, almost 39 degrees at peak.. early afternoon, today, humidity down around 30%, north easterlies. still over 31 at 8.30 p.m. I remember it reaching 38 a few years ago, and it hits 36/37 several times each summer, but I don't remember it ever being this high.

bird activity quite high at around 6.30 p.m. .. family of chukar partridges across north watercourse making much fuss, probably because of an approaching cat.. syrian woodpeckers, jays, blackbirds, all active, foraging, not singing though.. (jackdaws and hooded crows about, bulbuls, laughing doves, house sparrows, feral pigeons about houses as usual,) bulbuls in acacias by north watercourse , greenfinches also vocal and active along north watercourse, trail down to there.. hoopoe ground and lower acacia, graceful warblers vocal

Thursday 19th July

gardens: House sparrows, laughing doves, bulbuls, calls and coos
jackdaws, frequent calls today, hooded crows, latter on buildings, also about 60 on ground on rocks by foot of two pylons, open north field, again, just sitting there doing nothing in particular.

feral pigeons - on top of buildings and flying about; syrian woodpeckers - active and vocal in various parts of pine forest and eucs, Eurasian jays - active and some calls, greenfinches - twitters around look out corner area, bee-eaters - about cistern, at least a dozen on the dirt road by cistern, most just squatting in the dirt, a few noticed mud bathing, chukars, some calls? collared doves - some coos, turtle doves - some coos, graceful warblers - some calls, ,
gazelle, 4 , 1 male, 2 females and a young in Pistacia grove, hyraxes - several youngsters scampering over boulders down from ramp to neighbourhood

Saturday 21st July

House sparrows - gardens, laughing doves - street, gardens, coos, noticed one display flight over street, bulbuls - quite vocal in garden on friday early afternoon, sunbirds - calls in garden various kinds, seems like family reared in vicinity from the range of calls I've been hearing lately, jackdaws - flock, calls, hooded crows - congregation north hill slopes, flying about, feral pigeons over edge of neighbourhood, rooftops as usual, syrian woodpeckers - calls and active various parts of wood, Eurasian jays - calls and some activity, greenfinches - some twittering by look out corner, beeeaters - flock of 30 or so around cistern and fields, hobbies - brief call, collared doves - some coos, turtle doves - coos, not distinct, graceful warblers - calls and active by east watercourse,
gazelle, buck and a couple of others in Pistacia orchard
hyraxes, calls near valley road
agama lizard noticed climbing acacia trunk thursday.

22nd July
House sparrows- about houses, laughing doves - street and gardens, bulbuls - gardens, jackdaws- large flock east field, about 100 indivs, hooded crows - one sick or wounded by road up windsurfer, cypress stretch, others about, flying over, feral pigeons- street, syrian woodpeckers - very vocal, active, some squabbling, likely parents want young to move on, Eurasian jays - some activity, some calls, greenfinches - some twittering around bunker rubble pines, beeeaters - a number active over north field, cistern area, collared doves, turtle doves- about but relatively quiet, graceful warblers - some calls. Of extra note- blackcap ? song by top of trail heading down from north loop valley road to north watercourse dirt road.. song didn't sound like blackcap song I'm familiar with, pauses between repeated notes, though sounded Sylvid.. Akiva saw dark cap but briefly,
gazelle - 15 + east field, north field beyond almond trees, mostly females and well grown young but two adult males seen, one near olive grove, one farther south towards windsurfer ne slopes ,

23rd to 26th July
weather today (26) temps peaked low thirties, still about 30 at time of walk. humidity about 50% with minimum about 35 % late morning. winds mainly north westerly with swings to east earlier in the day
House sparrows: houses, street, also seen and heard foraging in Pistacia grove, laughing doves: street, bulbuls: trees on bank, variety of calls, gardens, sunbirds - north watercourse acacias heard, jackdaws: calls, flock about, hooded crows: numbers about, feral pigeons: roofs, flying about over valley, syrian woodpeckers: active and vocal in pine woods, Eurasian jays: vocal in pines, some activity, greenfinches: not so vocal this week, beeeaters: flock hawking over new sapling field by cistern, or flying about over valley higher, calling, hoopoes: couple of sightings on valley road, collared doves: some coos, some sightings several parts of valley, turtle doves: quiet this week , graceful warblers: active and vocal various places,
gazelle: today- couple of females open near shaft, north fields by north watercourse, adult male near east watercourse south of central trail,
hyraxes: active this week along valley road, group of youngsters regular around acacia by ramp up to neighbourhood.

26th July weather conditions similar, peaking just ovr 34 degrees C early afternoon

House sparrows - street, valley, relatively quiet lately, laughing doves - some coos gardens, bulbuls - vocal shortly after 5 am gardens, also bank area, jackdaws - flock over late afternoon, going on 100 indivs, heading south, noisy, returning from forage, hooded crows - active and vocal, indivs, pairs; feral pigeons - tops of buildings, flying over neighbourhood, syrian woodpeckers - active and vocal, Eurasian jays - some calls, greenfinches - in pines, some calls, not much, bee-eaters - 20 ish, cistern area, hawking high today late afternoon, , collared doves - some coos various parts of pine woods, turtle doves -some coos in pines, graceful warblers -active and vocal
gazelle - group of at least 12 mid east field betw dirt road up windsurfer and fence, females and well grown young , adult male in small olive grove, prob of small group in that area, the alpha male that attends the east field herd not seen. mother and young seen leaving Pistacia grove, possibly the olive grove male is the father of that one but cannot be sure, could be the larger horned male that usually found farther south east, has been seen to venture towards Pistacia so can't be ruled out.
hyraxes - bank area

end of July days:

House sparrows - street and edges of neighbourhood, and occasionally down around look out corner area and Pistacia grove; laughing doves-coos,street;bulbuls-gardens, bank area, some places in valley near watercourses;sunbirds-various calls in garden ;jackdaws- flocking over valley, regular flock of about 100birds foraging on hillside and flying over valley; hooded crows- street, valley, singles, pairs, small groups ; feral pigeons- rooftops, flying about edge of valley and over valley; syrian woodpeckers- many calls in the valley woods, various parts; Eurasian jays-some calls and activity in woods and small fields between;greenfinches-relatively quiet lately; bee-eaters- lots of activity, calls, hawking in various parts of valley, flock up to at least 40; hoopoes- occasional sightings, shaft to central trail stretch and valley road/bank stretch; chukar partridges-not in last few days; hobbies-occasional calls but activity down;collared doves- some cooing and sightings esp round shaft/central trail stretch, on lines; turtle doves-some coos and sightings;graceful warblers- active and vocal;Tristram's starlings-none in last few days. Great tits- calls in various parts of wood esp. off valley road towards pumping station and trail down from valley road to north watercourse.

glimpse of nightjar, by Akiva's description, brief flight between pines betw north watercourse dirt road and neighbourhood/Shadiker
gazelle- hyraxes-

Sunday, July 1, 2012

First Half July

youngster of this year seen regularly in Pistacia orchard, lower east field up to small olive grove. Another, smaller youngster seen near bat cave.. and at least one more in north field this year.

July 1

upper 20s degrees C, feels like just over 30 degrees.

totally clear and light blue skies, a gibbous moon, bee-eaters, a hoopoe, turtle doves, a couple of gazelle in the Pistacia grove, greenfinches, hyraxes, Prinias, Syrian woodpeckers, took more pics of the St. John's wort, saw a really nice size skinny wasp on fennel, black with yellow highlights, I think it was Sceliphron spirifex, but very regretfully didn't manage to get a pic..

July 7

temp conditions as above over the last week.. light north westerly breezes, humidity just under or just over 50% on walk, rising in the afternoon.

turtle doves, cooing or foraging on ground, syrian woodpeckers vocal, active, some squabbles this past week, Prinias vocal esp down in fields around look out corner area, hoopoes regularly seen on stretch between shaft and look out corner, and also between cistern and pines, about half a dozen gazelle in several locations, hyraxes, a blackbird alarm call but not song in last few days, great tits about, foraging, some calls, juveniles growing well, greenfinches much twittering,

more St. John's wort, clump also by north watercourse, and the thin safflower (previously termed ''blue tuft thistle, Carthamus tenuis) and carline thistle Carlina curetum (yellow summer flowering thistle) in bloom in various places.. former open area greenfinch area and hoopoe stretch esp, latter, by east watercourse and valley road

young gazelle noticed in north field with mother a few days ago.. today male chasing another male, both good size, mature, to west by bat cave.. the one ahead mouth open breathing hard, one behind, mouth shut. Mother with well grown young betw. Pistacia and small olive grove, also an adult male over there.

No Dianthus at all for months noticed, looking out for it.

8th July

Spitting cucumber, Ecballium elaterium, noticed growing under trailer shul, flowers and some unripe pods.. had been growing on bank opposite but hadn't seen there for over a year..

Akiva noticed 12 Tristram's starlings passing over, strung out flock, apparently in pairs.. flying from east field area, over part of neighbourhood towards quarry, about 9 a.m.

short walk just down valley road late afternoon.. greenfinches about valley road, and gardens early morning, Syrian woodpeckers quite vocal, also Eurasian jays calls. Bulbuls, (starting up about 5.05 am lately) jackdaw calls, hooded crows, House sparrows, laughing doves, sunbird earlier?

Sick or hurt jay brought to us this afternoon, very weak, would hardly take water, put in cage in shady place in garden to protect from cats with some chicken fat and flesh to eat and bowl of water, tried with dropper to feed. Concern of West Nile Fever but you can't catch that directly from bird, only via infected mosquitoes.. no marks or exudations.. spread out wings in cage.. last time I touched it it raised crest but closed eyes.. if makes through the night I shall be surprised.

July 9th

Jay didn't make it:(

cicada in the garden, low pitch, on lines by lower pines at least 15 bee-eaters.. also collared doves, and some coos. Still coos from laughing doves but no turtle doves noted today.
Call from edge north field, black eared wheatear quality.
jackdaw flock, hooded crows.
one gazelle grazing by bat cave, quite a few hyraxes valley road near foot of ramp as usual.
greenfinches, house sparrows, feral pigeons. Great tits also heard. Bulbuls, sunbirds.

Tues July 1oth

15+ gazelle

1 adult male near trail down to north watercourse dirt road, females and well grown young in open by north watercourse, female and quite well grown young in Pistacia grove, moved out into lower east field, 7 more towards NE slopes windsurfer hill

hyraxes, bee-eaters
perching in the eucs at look out corner and flying around that area, syrian woodpecker squabbles look out corner area, jays, greenfinches, some twittering, hoopoes at least 3 over fields near look out corner, from direction cistern, Prinias, calling in various places, a distant Buteo over hill ridge to NE, laughing, collared and turtle doves as well as cooing feral pigeons, all cooing, in their usual places, jackdaws, hoodies, bulbuls, sunbirds and sparrows.

11th July

quite a few gazelle, at least four females and well grown young grazing on upper north west slopes windsurfer hill, and lots of hyraxes active along valley road,
Syrian woodpeckers vocal, active, hoopoe flying over sapling field to pines across east valley, jay in pumphouse corner area, great tits, family in pine by valley road, greenfinches twitters in pines by valley road, ring neck parakeets between east valley and villa hill, Prinias, calls in east valley, blackbird call by valley road, hoodies, jackdaws, bulbuls, latter in garden, also pumphouse corner. ,
copper butterfly and Painted Lady (?) brief view, or one of that family.. on the thyme, western mid slopes windsurfer.

12th July

Female and young gazelle in the Pistacia orchard, young no horns, let us get within 50 yards without showing any fear, just grazed peacefully. Apart from this we also saw lots of bee-eaters swooping about and perching in the pines, at edge of rock flats by hoopoe stretch, hoopoes prob at least three in that vicinity, watched female greenfinches and young on thistles, hobby call from direction of bat cave, Prinias, turtle doves, collared dove coos near valley road, hyraxes. Sunbird near shaft/service road and also in gardens, bulbuls, house sparrows, jackdaws.. about 20-25 hoodies on rock up from bat cave just assembled on rocky flat, not foraging, not calling , just standing there for a while.. one flew to another rock a few metres away.. another two flew in from south east and joined them, then half flew off, rest just stayed there just standing doing nothing, not even preening.

14th July

bee-eaters by cistern landing on ground, about a dozen on the ground at a time.. hoopoes about on 'hoopoe stretch' (betw. shaft and junction of north watercourse dirt road with central trail) , German wasps around increasingly and coming into house. cicadas heard. Syrian woodpeckers and Eurasian jays particularly active and vocal, collared and turtle doves heard cooing, feral pigeons and laughing doves cooing about buildings. bulbul up at 5.05 am lately still, sunbirds still calling in gardens but have not heard song for a while. Occasional hobby and stone curlew calls. Occasional blackbird alarm calls but not song lately. Prinias vocal and seen foraging in pines. Another warbler in pines.. Hippolais? 1 shrike heard in last week. Jackdaw and hoodie calls heard regularly but not Tristrams for some days.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Second Half June

Dielocroce (chobauti ?) ''Threadwing'' on top of fish food one night. Akiva
11th, birds pretty much as 12th.. agama lizard on rubble, long masonry slab late afternoon.

great tits, hobby good view in flight.

12 June

''Blue tuft'' thistle just starting to bloom today, also some florets out on some of the globe thistles.

Syrian woodpeckers, Prinias very active and vocal in many locations, jays active, some calls. collared doves, some coos but no turtle doves heard today, greenfinches chaws and twitters in look out corner area, masked shrike in the Pistacia orchard, north east end, ring neck parakeet calls in the eucs and a few grazing gazelle in north fields.

bulbuls active and vocal lately, calls of their juveniles heard too. Starting to call shortly before five in the mornings , and in garden late afternoon.. also active edge of neighbourhoods, along water courses.

sunbird heard in garden, also spotted hoopoe corner area. No hoopoes seen for sure there today but did see hoopoe on burnt part of bank, near ramp.

Hooded crows about, active and vocal, as house sparrows, laughing doves, don't recall jackdaw today. feral pigeons seen about.

hobby calls near bat cave, kestrel in flight over north east field.

gazelle north field , several grazing, females and well grown young. Two more by small olive orchard

Tues June 19th

Last few days temps on walk just under 30 degrees, humidity about 50%, light north westerlies.

female and quite young gazelle in Pistacia, also an adult male. Yesterday long horned adult male east field, just south of small olive grove. Several gazelle seen in north watercourse area , eucalyptus and open area.

small flock bee-eaters eucalyptus grove just south east of cistern, great tits, Prinias, syrian woodpeckers, Eurasian jays all active and vocal. Greenfinches not yet when we were out today but have been heard chawing and twitterng towards sunset lately.

cooing collared and turtle doves yesterday but not today. Kestrel pair on north hillside up from bat cave regularly, using lines for look outs between hovers. occasional hobby calls in same area lately.. seems they are quite tolerant of each other, have not noticed any hostilities.. don't consider each other significant competition despite proximity, different prey choices.

hyrax youngsters near ramp, quite confiding, curious, not so afraid, one gazed at me today from about five feet, photographed a couple of days ago..

hoopoes quite regular around hoopoe corner now.. today one flying to and fro over open patch as if deciding where to land, finally selected lower branch of pine tree, relatively open.

garden: bulbuls from about ten to, quarter to five still dark before dawn, sunbirds esp around sunset, house sparrows, laughing doves.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

June, first week plus

chukar chicks squatting low , on 10th June

plant bug nymph on centaury

flower weevils on mullein buds (near pumping station)

Seeds from this are now all over my socks! .. (a small member of the carrot family) common in the fields now.. the individual burrs detach easily and stick.. the spines are so fine they are barely visible in the skin.

Gazelle various places.. open and in woods though lately bucks singles seen in woods a number of times. Hyrax active various ages all colonies.

ring neck parakeet family, observed feeding behaviour of young (lacking rings), group of three.. also independent group of two, all up and down east valley in eucalyptus.. parent seen foraging in acacia head.

hobbies, calls by bat cave and rather dramatic chase over Pistacia grove accompanied by a number of short , sharp calls.

hoopoes at least three on ground and in pines, hoopoe corner area , bee-eaters, heard various places, seen over east dirt road, Pistacia grove area.

syrian woodpeckers active various places, Eurasian jays, blackbird song, turtle dove coos, (all true last few days) some collared dove coos. yesterday collared dove flight calls and others, and bands of house sparrows continue to forage in grassy areas away from human habitation. Greenfinches about but quiet today, though twitterng usually starts later.

had fun taking photoes of green flower weevils on mullein, a number of small shiny black beetles with soft trailing wing points, on wild carrot. No cicadas heard today but have heard recently in Pistacia grove and in garden.

4th June

hyraxes, mature rather beat up blonde one on rock by valley road being sentry.. a little later young ones crossed from the bank, headed down to the boulders. glimpse of gazelle on lower slopes of windsurfer hill, turtle doves cooing, blackbird song, ring neck parakeet squawks, masked shrike, handsome well coloured, prob adult male, lower pine branch on bank
as well as neighbourhood birds, sunbird, (calls in garden) bulbul, laughing doves (coos) and such.. flock feral pigeons foraging on bank
swifts still about, in town, Akiva heard, but haven't noticed in neighbourhood in last few days.

5th June

pleasant, warm, clear skies.. start of walk about 24 degrees C and falling, peaking at 28 degrees earlier.

watched kestrel hunt side of hill to north over /near a group of six gazelle, mothers and young of various ages. Bee-eaters esp over east valley/orchard area, ring neck parakeets east valley, greenfinches on thistles, young grove, hoopoes on dirt road by young grove, jays woods by north valley dirt road, syrian woodpeckers, calls, active various places in woods, Prinias calls various places east field and elsewhere, turtle doves, active, cooing from shaft to look out corner area, blackbird song, sunbird territorial behaviour near Shadiker colony, male in top of pine very vocal, bulbuls neighbourhood and acacias north valley. Hoodies, house sparrow neighbourhood and roving bands in oats.

revisited those flower weevils .. two in mating position, a third joined them a few minutes later, as above

7 June

morning: bulbul started up about ten to 5 a.m. sunbird and house sparrows shortly after, laughing doves somewhat later, when it got lighter.

approaching 6 p.m. temp just over 26 degrees C, humidity falling, light south easterlies.

on return a sunbird outside my window giving squeak alarm calls

probably there's a cat about... valley nice walk- pair of kestrels up on the hillside to north east hunting in turn, pair of hobbies bat cave cypresses yesterday but not today

Syrian woodpeckers
very vocal and active, turtle doves coos, collared doves coos, bee-eaters calls and hawking, graceful warblers, hoopoes.. two usual dirt road bend by young pines, greenfinches twitters and chaws, also seen feeding on thistle heads lately..

we also heard from Tristram's starlings over north valley, hidden watercourse, also heard up centre of neighbourhood. and stone curlews calls heard from fields lately.. alarm due to falcon threat?

Sat 9th June

morning: bulbul shortly before 5 a.m. sunbirds, house sparrows heard shortly after. Laughing doves, hooded crows, jackdaws later as it gets light.

kestrel high over road to east. In the valley, Syrian woodpeckers, Eurasian jays active and vocal. Ring neck parakeets vocal up and down east valley. Akiva heard Tristram's starlings over to north, view of hobby in flight. Hoopoe on road by young pines. bee-eaters heard. Looked out for roller but not seen lately. Stone curlews heard to north later.

Sunday: similar to above, but no kestrels. Gazelle seen grazing on lower northern slopes. Chukar seen with four small chicks near the shaft (just north of north watercourse dirt road in open area_ , and just one adult. As Akiva approached, the parent moved off, leaving the chicks squatting on the ground, eyes closed, excellent camouflage. (above)

Evening of 10th, about 10.30 p.m. three 'glow worms' seen on various parts of slope in burnt area below tamarisk, separated from each other by several metres (probably Lampyris nervosa) .. no others seen.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May continued

Cricket - Gryllodes hebraeus.. under rock near top of shepherd's trail.

Found these close to north watercourse dirt road on hill side, on Sunday 13th, a whole patch of them standing about 10 inches high. Have not seen these before.

Saturday (Shabbat) 12 May

Swifts hawking over Pistacia grove , ring neck parakeet chased hoodie out of euc by east watercourse, just south of central trail.

about an acre of ground burnt by brush fire each side of valley road from ramp to back of houses to central trail, and further north along the bank, the tamarisk crowning the drain badly damaged.

Hoopoe on ground on terebinth grove, flew up and returned a couple of times.

No sign of bee-eaters last few days but sounds of juvenile great tits in various places commonly heard over last few days. juvenile graceful warblers I assume calls from bank on the way to pumping station.

Bulbuls very vocal gardens, around edges of neighbourhood, blackbird song on and off last few days also. Sunbird calls esp. gardens or not far from neighbourhood. Hooded crows about, foraging over burnt area as they often do. Jackdaw calls. Feral pigeons about roofs. House sparrows as usual, small groups heading out of neighbourhood to forage for grass seeds.
Chukars along north watercourse seen, heard.

Sunday 13 May

Bulbuls, calls, active. Blackbird: some calls, song. Sunbird.. calls in gardens late afternoon. Hoodies.. about as usual and one mobbing a long legged buzzard that was flying over NE field and some almost kestrel like hovering into the wind. (light WSW winds) , Some jackdaw calls, some feral pigeons about.

2 hoopoes seen by young pines near look out corner, ring neck parakeet call from usual euc by north watercourse, some greenfinch calls by look-out corner and also near pumping station. Nice view of fully plumaged great spotted cuckoo by north watercourse, flew from shaft area into trees by watercourse... from place where we later saw hoodie foraging so seems to be this year's chick but already fully plumaged? Some calls from over near bat cave, hobby or some other falcon. Band of house sparrows foraging in hoopoe area for grass seed, one male repeatedly calling from lower branch overlooking them.. warning others of our approach?

no bee-eaters or swifts heard or seen today.

Seen flowering for first time.. some Marrubium, very small flowered type, dense rosettes by ruins by east watercourse, some Eryngium turning blue though most still olive green in colour. A few caper flowers seen for first time.

collared dove coos, flight call, threesome chases, turtle dove coos.

Some hyrax activity. Yesterday heard hyrax calls from direction of new building site between Pisgat Zeev and windsurfer hill area.. moving into new loose boulder sites below building? Potential for two or three new colonies along lower edges of building there.

Gazelle: 4 up from bat cave, 2 near central trail, adult male and left horn female, 2 others up from east watercourse dirt road.

Monday 14th May

5.30 p.m. here in Jerusalem.. Just under 21 degrees C, humidity 52% and falling, wind 1.7 knots from WNW ..

great spotted cuckoos one by north watercourse calling somewhere up in a tree while crow foraged in ground, other in bare tree east side of Pistacia grove,

a few grazing gazelle up in north field and male and 'the left horned female by east watercourse, two white storks (surprisingly) in the north field; ring neck parakeet at least one, probably more in euc by east watercourse , turtle and collared doves cooing, a calling falcon calling repeatedly in trees near bat cave, but longer call, not shrill fast hobby call, singing blackbird by east watercourse, and alarm call, and lots of the usual activity from great tits and graceful warblers calling, young calling and so on.
Syrian woodpecker call, hoodies and jackdaws about,

Garden: house sparrows, laughing doves cooing.

16 May Tuesday

It's almost 6 p.m. weather? hmm let's see.. ~23 degrees C, humidity ~50% and rising, wind very light from the north west skies totally clear.

couple of fledgeling great spotted cuckoos about again, one in trees by north watercourse near where trail comes down from north bend valley road, other by Pistacia grove. Consistent. Also consistent lately: sightings of left horned female gazelle and adult buck in east valley pine forest, watched Jay feed young in euc by east valley, close to ones which ring neck parakeets use. Again hoodie chased out by parakeet but at another time hoodie perched there .. they do like those trees and parakeets can't keep them out all the time. More blackbird song,
a few gazelles grazing in north fields,

globe thistles starting to bud. In garden: house sparrows and repeated melodious sunbird calls shortly after sunset.

Wed 16 May

It's almost 5.40 p.m. just over 21 degrees C, sunny with a few fluffy clouds, humidity just over 50% and falling, wind gusting, mostly from west.

couple swallows zipped by us lower edge of neighbourhood, lots of fledgelings about: graceful warblers prob. by north watercourse, great tits in small pines and ground foraging by sapling field near pumping station, bulbuls various places, great spotted cuckoos , calls by north watercourse. . Also Syrian woodpeckers, collared doves, turtle doves and others all active and vocal, male greenfinch feeding on thistle seeds near service road, young pines.

Several gazelle seen grazing in wood (adult male, by ascent to windsurfer hill) and fields, at least 5 females and well grown young up from bat cave, hyrax by valley road, adult on rock. and what day is complete without saying ''hello'' to a hyrax sittin' on a rock!:)

variety of high pitched sunbird calls in garden towards sunset, house sparrows and laughing doves as usual.

More Erygium turning blue, much of the shrubby restharrow producing little beans, viper's bugloss still blooming, more capers blooming.

thurs. 17 May

it's about 10 mins before 6 p.m. almost 29 degrees C, 19 % humidity, light westerlies.

with temp jump, cicadas buzzing in the Pistacia orchard today, first time heard them there this season though have heard some buzzings in our bauhinia in the past few weeks.

a number of great spotted cuckoos about, perhaps 4 individuals.. turtle doves, collared doves both cooing, swifts over edge neighbourhood, Syrian woodpeckers active, Jays family in young pines near shaft, calls and activity from a couple of great tit family and graceful warbler family by east watercourse dirt road.

. male gazelle chasing female by north watercourse.. she crossed before us on road and headed up slope towards owl glade.. two small boys ahead of us scared the buck and he turned about, headed down to north watercourse.

and hyraxes out on the hillside with lots of kits.

18 May, Friday

4.45 p.m. and a sunny ~24.5 degrees C out..

house sparrows, laughing doves, bulbuls in garden, latter calling from just before light.

bands of house sparrows still roaming fields for grass seeds.

delighted to watch a small group of bee-eaters calling and swooping about low over north facing hillslopes, on our way down to north watercourse.. a short while after, a long legged buzzard being pestered by some hoodies up on top of hill opposite.. hobby calls from direction of trees by bat cave, a great spotted cuckoo fledgeling calling to be fed in the eucs below by watercourse . A little later sat in woods just to west of almond tree field - and then, after sitting patiently in the lower woods listening to turtle doves, collared doves, Prinias and cicadas, the occasional Syrian woodpecker call rewarded by the sight of a roller , stunning bird, sitting on branch at the edge of the wood.. unfortunately was unable to approach close enough for a pic.. he took off in his big blueness and headed off 'upstream'. Eurasian jays also about in many places, and greenfinches but they were not so prominent.

Sat 19 th May

2 hoopoes on ground on dirt road by service road young pines.. frequent place for them. Turtle dove coos,

Sun 20th May

great spotted cuckoo flying by north watercourse... gazelle grazing on hill near bat cave.. kestrel call behind bat cave, hillside, falcon, prob same, flew to electricity post mid field. 2 gazelle near central trail, a buck and a young female but not together.

collared dove coos, various doves about, didn't hear turtle doves, not sure if I saw. Greenfinches already twittering near look out corner, some blackbird song on our way down, great tits in many places , various calls including from fledgelings, brief view of bee-eater heading 'downstream'' over north watercourse. Brief view of hoopoe near shaft, jays about, some glimpses, a call, Tristram's grackle calls on the way back.

Monday 21st May

Adult roller noticed by young pine forest by service road.. flew to sapling tube and perched there for a while , gave us beautiful view.

Turtle dove coos and some collared dove coos heard in lowest part of woods, feral pigeons and laughing doves about the street.

Hobby seen flying over cistern area.. first noticed clearly adult bird, second.. they flew out of same tree, seemed a touch smaller, much less definite markings.. likely a juvenile.

Gazelle: several in various places, adult male Pistacia grove as usual, headed up into cypress up hill from there.

Small group chukar partridge open fields/lower slopes south east of area

Hoopoe in tree near north watercourse.. another seen by east watercourse dirt road near lower end of shepherd's trail.

Calls of young: great tits, great spotted cuckoo, latter from direction of owl glade.

House sparrows garden and small parties at edges of fields.

22 May

pleasant walk..

great spotted cuckoos very vocal and active.. 1 by north watercourse .. centred in trees by bat cave but flying about.. other at Pistacia grove.. also saw there family of hooded crows.. youngsters still showing gape flesh.. calls, couldn't tell if from young crows or from cuckoo.. would make sense if calls similar.

greenfinches twittering by valley road, lots of swifts still, group flying about edge of neighbourhood over ramp area, watched a couple of kestrels 1 hovering north ridge.. other flying to tall building up hill in neighbourhood, up from pumping station, chukar on hillside

looked for roller but no luck,

photographed a few invertebrates: spider, cricket, moth, robber fly, beetles.. main flowers blooming now are capers (in pic) yellow centaury and Achillea, (yellow yarrow). Globe thistles growing, blooming soon.

23rd May

~6 p.m. just over 20 degrees, humidity 37% and rising, very light westerlies..

lots of hyraxes, Shadiker colony many young; gazelle buck in north field; hobbies chasing hawks off their territory, at least 4 Buteos about.. falcons flew up and tried to engage them high over north watercourse for a while, turtle doves, cooing and pair foraging on the ground near us near shaft, greenfinches twittering, Prinias various calls, blackbird song. bulbul vocal near trail down to north watercourse dirt road.

Also lots of hooded crows about, jays, including fledgelings, jackdaw calls heard from house.

24th May

~5.45 p.m. outside, the usual sparrow convention, occasional calls of jackdaws, cooing of laughing doves and a short while ago, a Syrian woodpecker in one of our neighbour's trees. ~23 degrees C, humidity, 42% and rising, winds light, nw ish.

lots of this in the fields now..

several gazelle grazing and browsing on hillsides and in pines near trail down, a buck apparently nibbling thorny burnet shoots, another grazing on coral gum leaves, also: great spotted cuckoo, a family of (chukar) partidges, by watercourse east side of gazelle field, turtle dove coos, Prinias lots of calls from north field, great tits, foraging in saplings east side of north field, by watercourse, brief glimpse of roller flying into cistern pine (Akiva saw blue, but we can't rule out it might be white breasted kingfisher which also liked cistern area though we haven't seen one for months.. most probably a roller.. didn't see more unfortunately) ,

Buteo over, lots of hooded crows, collared dove coos,

Pomegranate trees also blooming, with wild carrot, golden thistle, capers and such

Monday 28th May

reached about 32.5 degrees C earlier this afternoon but on our walk, about 27 or28 degrees

quite warm!: singing blackbirds (regularly last few days), cooing turtle doves, shrilling cicadas. Lots of hyrax babies (Shadiker colony) , and gazelle buck let us get within about 30 metres.. they seem quite used to us! Also, bee-eaters, (group calling over valley, flying to and fro) hoopoes,(1 by central trail, another by rock flats), ring neck parakeet, (usual place, eucs by east watercourse) . Had swifts yesterday, lots, screaming and feeding (lower edge of neighbourhood) but none noticed today.

also graceful warblers, jackdaws, hoodies, Eurasian jays, graceful warblers, house sparrows , one band particularly liking 'hoopoe corner'. Syrian woodpeckers yesterday in Eucs but not today. Great tit fledgelings about a lot lately. Calls of great spotted cuckoos

kestrel yesterday above bat cave.. today falcon calls that direction but not sure which.

large Buteo type hovering over north edge near A Ram a few weeks ago may have been short toed eagle as they do the kestrel trick.. was light enough underneath.. not sure if any Buteos can do this and other light buzzard, honey buzzard, wouldn't normally be seen by itself.

Adesmia beetle found and photographed. cicadas,

29th May

5.30 p.m. ~22.5 degrees C, humidity over 70% and rising, brisk westerlies.

walked up to saddle betw. north watercourse and hidden watercourse

several gazelle of bachelor herd,

watched kestrels, female and juvenile in cypress, glimpse of another falcon, brief but looked like peregrine, size, back colour lighter than that of hobby, clear moustache mark, not streaked under, but so quick hard to be sure

also some imm. great spotted cuckoo calls, bee-eater melodious calls overhead, great tits, Prinias, Eurasian jays, yellow vented bulbuls..

couple dead hoodies, no sign injury, if a third may report.. Nile fever about? We have also seen a few dead pigeons lately.. random places.. (not dropped under tree by raptor) .. spread by mosquitoes, affects elderly, can't catch it from dead bird but their presence acts as indicators.

Wed 30th May

~5.30 p.m. ,it's just over 22 degrees C, humidity over 50% and rising.. wind just over 5 knots from the west.

clear skies.. over north fields falcon pair chase off Buteo, grey backed, prob the bat cave hobbies, on hillslopes mother and young gazelle. Two subadults and, separately, adult male seen up slopes by east valley,

hoopoe on valley road picking on charred area.. most of the bank burned recently, damaging some acacias and the little castor oil bush, ring neck parakeet group in eucs, at least four, turtle doves crooning along east watercourse as blackbirds sang, Prinias, great tits, lots of Eurasian jay activity, bee-eater calls over-all.

Thursday 21st May

about 5.45 p.m. just over 25 degrees C, humidity 38% and falling, wind, ~7 knots from the west. clear skies

more and more grasshoppers about the fields now.. also watched various falcons hunting over the hillside, kestrel pair hunting low, also pair with very grey wings perched top of cypress near bat cave, outside primaries darker.. but grey seems lighter than that for hobbies.. again inclined to say we have peregrines. Moustache stripe clear, but would love to have telescope esp since no doubt we have immature hobbies and variations.

a few gazelle about 1 buck by watercourse east edge of open field, a few females and subadults about, some hyraxes out

Syrian woodpeckers vocal and active esp along almond row, young pines, several hoopoes in the young pines, jays along north watercourse, turtle doves cooing around north dirt road turn off, , a few bee-eaters seen and heard flying over both valleys. Masked shrike in tree by north watercourse in grove.. great tit families about, graceful warbler chimes. chukars in north fields. Jackdaws, hooded crows about. Collared dove coos. Some greenfinch calls and twitters in usual area. Neighbourhood: laughing dove coos, house sparrows.

Still NO satisfactory views of wheatears this year.. in past years was not so hard to find the male eastern black cheeked, pied colouring easy to spot at a distance but no luck this spring and summer.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1st week

Colias crocea , clouded yellow.. photographed in oat field in purple Phlomis vale on 6th.. most other butterflies seen are clouded whites with occasional Satyrids and a few smaller jobs I haven't had good views of yet.

Purple Phlomis found in field on 6th notably different from those we've photographed in the past here.. which had longer , sparser flowers and yellow/orange underflowers.. different strain in same field? We didn't see any of those today.

1st May

garden: house sparrows, bulbuls, laughing doves, sunbirds all active and vocal.

lots of yellow centaury blooming on hillslopes and in the valleys now.. the pure yellow variety, none with purple seen yet.

great tits busy foraging for their families in various places, brief glimpse of blackcap in same habitat, ring neck parakeet calls from the eucalyptus, Syrian woodpeckers very vocal in various places, a few dark Buteos about, hooded crows. Eurasian jays active but quiet, Graceful warblers heard. Collared doves about, some jackdaw calls. Turtle doves and bee-eaters not heard. Still no black eared wheatears though did hear call of something in east field.. no luck finding.

three young gazelle in small olive grove. another near east watercourse.. feral cat walked close by , did not bother it at all.

More bugs of various kinds, more caper foliage, Verbascum slowly blooming, most milk thistle gone to seed and fleabane also.

Wed 2nd May

Quarry : Tristram's starling .. four birds about the building ruins on the south side.. one clearly adult male, one adult female.. one juvenile, dark head and paler gape skin visible.. also harsh calls and soliciting for food , unsteady in flight, fluttery, fledgeling but not confident.. perched in outside top of door/window frame, adult close , protective but not feeding it. Did not get good views of fourth but we'd guess second juvenile if not young helper from previous season.

Much fuss from chukar partridges north slopes

several masked shrike along north watercourse, one clearly seen, at least two more heard.

up in pines on other side, blackcap calls. Great tit family calls, Eurasian jays, hooded crows, swifts above.

Buteo up top across valley near A Ram over edge holding position facing into wind while nearby hoodies had to flap to hold position, the Buteo could keep wings totally still. Either Buteo had best sense of exact location or better control.

Another raptor, sparrowhawk from what I could make out. Also a pair of DUCKS, mallard, male and female, headed over towards A Ram.. where do they go?

Graceful warblers.

6th May .. pics above

temp. just over 25 degrees C on walk, just after 5 p.m. light winds from WNW and relatively low humidity.

On hills, chukar partridge (several on hill crest between north watercourse and hidden watercourse, and a lot of larks singing on boulders up beyond hidden watercourse, or fluttering at least ten metres above the ground repeated harsh alarm calls.. I move away, not wanting to disturb nest when this happens.

No bee-eaters today but some swifts.. a Buteo or two on top of hill, very dark , settling on boulders between low flights, rufous brown chest collar against pale underparts.

Hobby over east field/euc grove area. Also over there were Syrian woodpecker calls, Eurasian jays active, graceful warblers , cooing turtle doves in various places. No greenfinches yet.. they generally start up twittering closer to sunset and we were there earlier but I'm sure they were about.

Flock house sparrows on north facing slopes by olive vale.. acting like wild weaver birds ..we've noticed this in past, flocks taking to fields in May when much grass seed to be had.

Sounded like a whole family of masked shrikes in the olives, many calls, squabbling?

Gazelle: bachelor herd group of 6 plus heading across hidden watercourse and beyond.. group of young and females farther down and to the east, ~8 or more. Very small one spotted farther to the east apparently alone.

7 May

It's almost 6 p.m. (S.T.) temp. 21.5 degrees C, humidity 41%, wind 7 knots NW. sunny and blue skies out.

pleasant walk.. hobbies, (looks like they bred , family by Pistacia grove), 1 in bare tree seemed to be young from colouring, two more arrived and they flew off together. Lots of young great tits about, Syrian woodpeckers, Eurasian jays, blackbirds (in song), graceful warblers, swifts, greenfinches, collared and turtle doves all active and vocal.

8th May

lots of graceful warbler calls and activity now in many places, as well as juvenile great tits everywhere. Also today, Syrian woodpeckers, black capped Eurasian jays, hobbies, chukar partridges, collared and turtle doves, greenfinches, singing blackbird, jackdaws, hoodies, crested larks and such and an agama lizard on rocks just up from east watercourse dirt road.

Several gazelle grazing too out in the fields round about.

foliage of capers, Varthemia, Marrubium well underway. Golden thistle budding in north field.

garden: house sparrows, bulbul, sunbirds, latter at sunrise and sunset esp, calling close to window. Feral pigeons, jackdaws, hoodies.

Monday, April 23, 2012

last week or so of April

blooms of Tamarisk over drainage channel by north loop of valley road

north facing slopes north valley .. this one on trail down from valley road to dirt road but others seen in area. To identify.

Cerambyd beetle on milk thistle

Trip to Netanya

23rd April Just leaving neighbourhood, white stork over the road approaching French hill.

into vale saw a number of spur winged plovers flying about by road, just in ones or twos.

One Buteo spotted.

Netanya.. my first views of the feral common mynahs (Acridotheres tristis) close to the sea.. quite a handsome bird in my opinion with melodious calls though plumage drab, crown almost dark blue iridescence and white patch on wing together with graceful sure flight makes it a pleasure to watch.

unfamilar bird in Netanya, never saw this before, got good views flying
about between tops of lamp posts near sea, occasionally visiting the ground.

Loud, clear melodious calls.

slightly smaller than jackdaw, short tail, dark brown back and wings, broad
off- white 'window' across wing only visible in flight. Tail dark but
feather tips and outer tail feathers white. Wings broad, quick, direct
graceful flight.

head from eye level up black, slight blue gloss, faint red eye ring, iris
dark, bill yellow/orange and like that of a cuckoo. chin and underparts
paler than upperparts but not white.

Several individuals about.

Only one gull noticed hundreds of yards out , not high above water, black headed or similar. had black tail tip though mostly white head.

white swallows about, zipping over the area from time to time.

25 April

almost 6 p.m. , soon heading down to the valley to say 'hello' to the hyraxes in the last hour or so of daylight.. weather conditions: 21.8 degrees C, humidity 62% and rising, wind 2.6 knots from the west. clear skies and sunny :)

garden: sunbirds, cooing laughing doves

high altitude clouds, gazelle grazing on the hillside.. watched a pair of hobbies flying about gracefully amongst the cypresses.. we saw at least three falcons over bat cave area.. territorial disputes.. or in latter case could have been chasing away the kestrel that hunts in that area, one did appear more tawny in colour to Akiva.

family of great tits, cooing collared and turtle doves, blackbird in song and the tamarisk tree covered in many thousands of tiny buds.

greenfinch twitters, call of Syrian woodpecker, hoodies about, swift,

also flowering spiny restharrow by the road.

26 th April.

Now some caper foliage appearing, first mullein blooms out, cat thyme germander beginning to bloom and Carmel leek budding up on mid north slopes windsurfer hill.

3 hobbies flying about over east valley..

By Pistacia orchard.. heard great tit fledgelings, heard Syrian woodpecker, blackbird, turtle dove, some greenfinch twitters. No bee-eaters today or yesterday. Blackcaps heard in pines and cypresses by valley road just up from 'cypress slum'. Did see foraging in pine, lower branches and many calls, low 'tic tic' up from north watercourse a couple of days ago, forgot to mention then.

(some hyraxes about but quiet) 4 gazelle in lower east field, females, sub-adults, between small olive grove and cistern-hill trail.

Hoodies very much in evidence but relatively few jackdaws. Dead young hoodie by trail under pines.. do the great spotted woodpeckers eject young hoodies? Likely. Feral pigeons about, flock over edge neighbourhood.

garden: house sparrows, lauging doves foraging and coos, sunbird calls. Some bulbul calls neighbourhood gardens.

Friday 27 April

mid afternoon: sunny and warm (~25 degrees C) , some bird activity, particularly graceful warblers, great tits, blackcaps foraging for food for their families.. some blackbird and blackcap song as well as coos from turtle, collared and laughing doves. Noticed two agamas basking on stones near north watercourse . Feral pigeons, house sparrows, hooded crows, jackdaws also noticed. Bulbuls, sunbirds in gardens. Eurasian jays also in woods.

baby hyraxes noticed in Shadiker colony, adult male gazelle with good size horns in pines near central trail.

Sunday 29th April

garden: bulbul, sunbird from dawn.

just after 5.30 p.m. just under 18 degrees C, humidity almost 80%, wind 3.5 knots WNW. overcast with thin cloud or fine mist.

about half an hour later observed slow passage of about 100 raptors.. light barred under, rufous under shoulders and central parts, terminal dark bar on tail.. light head.. honey buzzards, many immature? Not one single large flock but several loose groups one following another, not high.

Look out corner: blackbird song, greenfinch song, graceful warblers about, turtle dove heard by north watercourse, great tits and their fledgelings calling, some blackcap calls near service road. Eurasian jays active from about shaft area to pine grove by cistern.. calls of fledgeling latter location while adult went down to ground to forage.

leek opening on hillside but only one seen so far this season.

small olive grove.. two females (??) or immatures in mock sparring session, one in particular quite frisky, much back kicking and bouncing around.

Monday 30 April

2 rollers on lines over hillslopes to NE, occasionally flying up and around and down back to line.. hawking for insects ..Then four falcons turned up.. also hawking about above us very deftly.. probably lesser kestrels from colouring, reddish brown, mask just visible, hard to tell much of colouring but given hawking in a group ID seems reasonable. A few Buteos about and lots of swifts esp over edge of neighbourhood, valley road.. as well as families of great tits and assorted other small jobs by north watercourse, very vocal. Masked shrike heard near north watercourse.. blackcap heard near north watercourse dirt road. warblers foraging in acacia.. one flew around.. had size and colouring of one of the Hippolais warblers but got no further info/view.

Syrian woodpeckers heard in Terebinth area, lots of twittering greenfinches around cistern area and pines towards pumping station. Feral pigeons, house sparrows (insect hawking behaviour from top of building), jackdaws, hooded crows, male gazelle following female near central trail.