Tuesday, January 3, 2012

January 2012

A number of these tiny snails found on north facing hillslope up from north watercourse dirtroad, near some flowering Gagea.

1 of the two first flowering cyclamen found, unusally light coloured.

Almond blossom buds low on the largest almond tree in the valley.

clouds over Adam, to NE. on jan 4th

Wed. 4 Jan

Increase in laughing dove and bulbul vocalizations in last few days. Much house sparrow vocalization, jackdaws, feral pigeons and hooded crows about, calling occasionally, ring neck parakeets heard at least once a day visiting gardens noisily.

Afternoon in walk.. clear skies, just under 12 degrees C.
Gazelle 5, one near path from north corner valley road down to north watercourse dirt road. Another four near the north watercourse, eucalyptus grove.

Chiffchaff contact calls in pine canopies, male stonechat top of bush by dry stone wall betw cistern to windsurfer hill dirt road and olive grove. Black redstart nice view male dry stone wall forepart of gazelle field a few days back. Occasional Tristram's starling call last few days.

Wed 5 Jan,

drop in temp. about 8 degrees and dark clouds coming in from west.
gazelle 19: 1 buck in pines near bat cave across north watercourse, another at least 8 females and well grown young just beyond small cypress in open by north watercourse, a little to east of bat cave, lower slopes windsurfer hill, crossing dirtroad up hill ahead of us, 7. Three more grazing in sapling field near pumping station , headed into pines across east watercourse.

calls of Jays as we descended to north watercourse dirt road. jackdaws, hoodies about, syrian woodpecker call, graceful warbler call.. as we came back up valley road, saw hoodie make a lunge at some bird in the air, which then flew up'stream' towards pumping station.. sparrowhawk. White wagtail calls, flying over.

garden: house sparrows, laughing doves.

Sat 7 Jan

calls hyraxes slopes by pumphouse station

Sunday 8 Jan

today: birds included: sunbird in song, laughing doves, yellow vented bulbuls, jackdaws, hooded crows, syrian woodpeckers, Prinias, sparrowhawk, chiffchaffs, chaffinches.

: 11+ 3 adult males near north watercourse dirt road, in various places and group of females and well grown young grazing just beyond the almond tree row.

Mon 9 Jan

Heard from this chair through the window so far today: white wagtails, sunbird, jackdaws, hooded crows, ring necked parakeets, cooing laughing dove, and of course, house sparrows.
On north slope.. lots of cyclamen foliage but no blooms yet, asphodel foliage getting higher, many mounds of mole rats, quite a few with holes, a couple like small volcanoes, one with two neat very small holes at top, as if punched through by front paws.. ventilation?
Blackbirds heard in song in two locations.

Asphodels found blooming mid week near east watercourse! A few savyon.. spring groundsel Senecio vernalis, blooming edges of sapling field.

midweek: black redstart at pomegranate tree, another on a boulder, edge of east field.

Thurs 12 Jan

2 adult male gazelle, 1 by north watercourse, other on slopes up from east watercourse dirt road near bridge, black redstarts 1 on pomegranate tree by cistern, one on boulder, edge of east field, sparrowhawks, syrian woodpecker in euc grove, chiffchaffs, stonechats, graceful warblers, white wagtails.

~8 degrees C, winds very still.

rains on and off end of week.

Sat 14 Jan

gazelle 4: at least two subadult gazelle up shepherd's trail from east watercourse dirt road. 1 long horned adult male near east watercourse just north of sapling field.. could have been the alpha male from windsurfer hill herd. Another adult male some way farther north in woods.

blackbird in song again near central trail, also near cyclamen banks, by north watercourse. Hooded crows, jackdaws, graceful warblers, chiffchaff contact calls.

Garden: house sparrows, calls of ring neck parakeet. Some sunbird song

Sun 15th Jan

Fresh mandrake foliage found this afternoon. Cyclamens haven't bloomed yet but watched a few gazelle graze by north watercourse, by a young pine grove while chiffchaffs, chaffinches, graceful warblers, bulbuls, hoodies called in the trees. Also white wagtails flying over & jackdaws.

Mon 16th Jan

cool, sunny, clear skies, 4 gazelle, 3 subadults where watercourses meet, 1 adult male in east watercourse near look out corner, sparrowhawk over service road, hoodie brief harry, bulbuls edge neighbhourhood, covey of chukars just down from valley road, chiffchaffs pine canopies, laughing doves edge of neighbourhood, collared doves 9 up on lines edge north field by road.

Sat 21st Jan

Partly clouded, mostly cumulus, cool/mild

no gazelle about but did get great views of a large brown falcon preening and in flight, perched on cypress by bat cave, right after chasing some other raptor.. (sparrowhawk?) , after some preening and looking about, took off, circling briefly over north watercourse in open , then headed south east. After some examination of guidebook pics Akiva agrees might be Saker, (relatively rare winterer but suitable habitat)

Rich earth brown back, , signif darker larger than kestrel, quite dark head, suggestion of falcon markings on head, darker outer primaries in flight, tail darkish esp last third, no clear bars.

as well as sparrowhawk, Eurasian jay, stonechats, chiffchaffs, jackdaws, hoodies, white wagtails, Prinias and stone curlew calling repeatedly on our way back. Feral pigeon on roof, cooing laughing dove in garden earlier, white wagtail calls, lots of house sparrows.

24th Jan.

Found first blooming cyclamen near north watercourse dirt road, 2 almost white blooms. Also lots of Gagea now. (Damascus gagea?) None of others blooming yet but noticed underside of leaves almost as purple as bougainvillea.

some blackbird song and alarm call, whistle of wings of relocating collared doves in pines near cistern, black redstart on rebar there, , Eurasian jay calls, chiffchaffs and Stonechats on foliage clumps in field? distant.,

At sunset watched a group of 7 mountain gazelle running to and fro far north field, so fleet and frisky, a little mock sparring and chasing, some bounding, looked like they were running about just doing it for the pure delight of it. At least one adult male, couldn't make out others, distance and light but didn't look like bachelor group.

5 hyraxes shadiker colony, grown, on boulder facing out from centre.

Sunday 29 Jan

weather, cool, clear skies

In and about garden earlier: house sparrows, yellow vented bulbul, laughing doves on ground and cooing, calls of ring neck parakeet and yellow vented bulbuls. Feral pigeons on water boiler on roof. sunbirds heard and spotted in cape honeysuckle a number of times over the last week.

nice walk, Several gazelle, two by north watercourse like this one, a few more buck up on the hill, two sparring. Also some sparrowhawks about (they winter here), calls of chiffchaff, chaffinch, Syrian woodpeckers and a black redstart on the rubble near the cistern.

Monday 30th Jan

rained pretty much all day. Heard from house so far.. house sparrows, hooded crows, yellow vented bulbuls, ring neck parakeet, jackdaws, laughing doves, sunbirds

Tuesday 31st Jan

So far today (early afternoon) through the window: house sparrows, laughing doves, yellow vented bulbuls, ring neck parakeets and jackdaws.. we're still putting down sunflower seeds to try to tempt the parakeets to land .. on the ground or the chicken coop.. but havn't caught them at it yet. Doesn't help that two of the feral cats were hanging out on top of the coop.

we missed the 'sparrowhawk flyover' (one always flies over about the same place on the north trail around sunset) but did see a few gazelle, black redstart on the rubble, hoodies, feral pigeons, peeping probable chiffchaffs in the pine canopies and wild red amenones and white speedwell starting to bloom.