Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February second Half

above: Found by trail down from north corner valley road to north watercourse dirt road on 27th, have not noticed this before. Aethionema carneum - (pink) stonecress.. cabbage family.

photographed 20th Feb by north watercourse dirt road.

15 Feb

Gazelles: 9 east of bat cave, 2 more beyond Pistacia grove

Garden, street: House sparrows, laughing dove coos, hooded crows, jackdaws,
sunbird cape honeysuckle, single pure whistle 'pyoo!' repeated and tk tk
feral pigeons in covered part of building, none on roofs. ring neck parakeet call mid morning

Pair great spotted cuckoos end of Elias, Jay calls
2 hoopoes over look out corner area. Sparrowhawk over, group of 5 linnets twittering as they flew, also two in tree up from Shadiker colony (no hyraxes out today) , chiffchaffs in canopies.

By pumphouse while hoodies settling on tree tops high pitched pure metallic two tone call unfamiliar, high in cypresses but didn't see the bird. ''tzing- tzing

Thurs. 16 Feb

cape honeysuckle: sunbirds prob pair towards sunset, yellow vented bulbuls (quite vocal in gardens and near valley road), and (this afternoon noticed) chiffchaffs foraging in it. Several nests in there! Today also saw/heard lots of Great tit activity and song, several pairs along bank, claiming territories in and round acacia though their territories seemed to cross the road and include part of forest below. Graceful warblers calls. Syrian woodpecker call, Eurasian jays active in pines but quiet, in pairs, various finches while the parakeets and blackbirds kept a low profile. Finch on top of cypress up from pumphouse baffled me for a while.. chaffinch shape, conical pale bill but dark forehead, crown. On consultation of guide brambling most likely.

Hyraxes on the rocks up from pumphouse, several gazelle glimpsed over by windsurfer hill, saddle watercourse area.
collared dove spooked from trees up bank, feral pigeon on rooftops, hooded crows, jackdaws about. Chaffinch call down from bank but didn't see, some twitters.. early greenfinch song? Some laughing dove coos earlier, house sparrows as usual on ground. If white wagtail, v brief call.

Sun 19 Feb

2 linnets in bare tree top of Shadiker hyrax colony (4 preening there yesterday), stonechat on scrub on way down from valley road to north watercourse.. another on scrub near north watercourse soon after it emerges into open.
Also, jays heard and glimpsed in pines up from north watercourse, chiffchaffs also heard and glimpsed there, syrian woodpecker call near look out corner, chukar partridge 2 near shaft area, .. and great spotted cuckoo flew into pines at look out corner and MUCH vocalization and a couple of pure tone calls, like ''hooot hooot' odd, almost sounded from something tech.

Great tit , some song and one calling and foraging in our willow.

At least 6 gazelle about, grazing, 3 bachelors in each other's company near north watercourse amongst the eucalyptus. Farther along near service road male following female and well grown young.

garden and street: much bulbul vocalization.. feral pigeons huddling in shelter, jackdaw activity, hooded crows, laughing doves foraging but relatively quiet, house sparrows as noisy as usual, no parakeets or sunbirds noticed.

East watercourse flowing over trail near look out corner, about 8 degrees, gusting breezes WNW, rain on and off, some thunder and hail, last couple of days but sky pretty clear, and some sun for our walk. last night down to about 3.5 degrees.

Monday 20th Feb

temp time of our walk around 8 degrees C , winds very light, sky full of altocumulus. As we arrived at north loop of valley road no linnets in that tree but arrived as we watched till 6, and saw/heard more over north watercourse.
3 gazelle , bachelors by north watercourse.. one with very impressive horns alone, two with somewhat smaller.
great tit song again, later, Eurasian jay glimpsed, syrian woodpecker heard, peeping of chiffchaffs heard. stonechat on top of sapling tube near open north watercourse. graceful warbler?
Hooded crows about all day but no jackdaws.. flock gone off foraging elsewhere. Feral pigeons flock in flight, house sparrows, laughing dove coos, ring neck parakeet visit, Simone Alexander mentioned they roost in palms in street corner adjacent to ours. yellow vented Bulbuls vocal but again sunbirds not heard, nor blackbirds.

Tuesday 21st Feb

garden: house sparrows, laughing dove coos, bulbul vocalizations and Akiva heard ring neck parakeet earlier. Did not see or hear any sunbirds and neither feral pigeons nor white wagtails out and about today.

Time of walk temp just over 12 degrees, sky clear, a couple of gazelle in the Pistacia grove,
First saw one, no visible horns, young one.. then adult male emerged from pines, walked down, young one passed it and it turned and followed.

hyrax scampering over boulders up from pumping station, rest keeping low profile in cool. 'indoors', Syrian woodpeckers seen and heard euc grove by cistern, Eurasian jays between trees and some calls, stonechats pair on scrub beyond cistern.. separated by a few yards but close enough to be pair in same territory, Prinias some calls heard from look out corner, jackdaws vocalizations throughout day, chiffchaffs vocalizations in pine canopies throughout walk, did not check linnet tree as loud firecrackers in that area probably spooked them.
Akiva likely glimpsed a black redstart at rubble but went for cover and we didn't see it again.
Akiva heard kestrel up by tall building up hill but didn't see take flight. LOts of hoodie activity behind pumping station esp. as light fell. Blackbirds and great tits quiet today.

lots and lots of white speedwell esp by east watercourse, spring groundsel, red anemone, roman squill, asphodel and also noticed wood sorrel (by start of valley road) and ramping fumitory (by east watercourse dirt road) starting to bloom.

Wed 22 Feb

in 'linnet tree' (bare tree at top of Shadiker hyrax colony) linnet in SONG, sweet to hear, a little later joined by another, a covey of chukars chuckling anxiously across the north valley and up to west, possibly disturbed by firecracker, calls of great spotted cuckoo at look out corner in the three pines, likely there's a hoodie nest in there, stonechat by north watercourse in open as before but diff. perch, chiffchaffs 1 seen in acacia on way down, others calling in pine canopies, great tits by trail down from valley road to north watercourse road, syrian woodpecker calls near look out corner, jackdaws, hoodies, (calls heard from house) collared doves, 2 on line over the waterway confluence, graceful warblers around gazelle field and a sparrowhawk flying north over gazelle field.
No sunbirds or blackbirds. Watched rubble for a while again but no black redstart. No jays.. seem fewer of them now.
Garden: lots of house sparrows, laughing doves foraging and in song, bulbul vocalisations, feral pigeons in flight. Later about 10.30 p.m. stone curlew from direction of hidden watercourse area.

23rd Feb

First swifts! At least 5 over tall building where kestrels noticed, flying to and fro, first one, then noticed two then several more appeared.. (Akiva heard sound earlier passing by there, thought maybe already chicks? That type of noise, did get some views, perching on tv aerial sticking out from top corner, also one flew over us quite high towards Hizmah.

Syrian woodpecker calls, great tit various calls and some song, graceful warbler song, hawfinch, scrap that 'brambling' of a few days ago, same tree tall cypress pumphouse hyrax colony, same appearance better view.. apparent dark nape silhouette contrast, then it flew down to pines betw. saplings and pumphouse.

some chukar like hyrax barking , prob because some small boys in area. collared dove on line over east watercourse

garden and street: house sparrows, jackdaws, hooded crows, laughing doves, bulbuls.

buckler's mustard in flower, no seed pods yet, various geraniums including round leafed, got pic. looked for green orchid, found carmel bee orchid down from valley road just north of central trail.
Still no blackbirds or sunbirds seen or heard.

25 th Feb 2012

Garden: house sparrows, laughing dove (coos) , ring neck parakeet (early morning) , yellow vented bulbul vocalizations,
sunbird (in cape honeysuckle but quiet)
Street: feral pigeons, jackdaws, hooded crows.

forest: many chiffchaff vocalisations, blackbird song several locations including especially interesting songster at castor oil trees,

Most notable.. flying north over north watercourse, calling, V shape formation, common cranes, 18/19 , same time european cuckoo called twice in trees just west of bat cave. More European cuckoo calls somewhere in east watercourse at dusk. Syrian woodpecker calls.

great tit song, stonechat in scrub near cistern pine, black redstart on rebar at rubble,

kestrel in tall buildings top of hill, a few swifts flying over.

greenfinch & linnet twitters? No jays or chukars or gazelle. Hyrax heard pumphouse colony.

26th Feb sunny, mild, scattered cloud of various types.

In and around garden: house sparrows, laughing doves foraging and cooing, blackbird song, graceful warbler calls, bulbul calls. Jackdaws and hooded crows farther off. Feral pigeon to roof. no sunbird

Woods,hill: lark calls up on hill to north, also kestrel call, answered by some other towards neighbourhood.. this one was flying back southish from direction of the olive vale. stone curlew calls towards dusk.

group of (Akiva counted 11) adult male gazelle up from butterfly saddle, headed across hidden watercourse and up to ridge this side of olive vale. Great spotted cuckoo call to our west.

stonechat on our way down from valley road to north watercourse dirt road, chiffchaffs in trees, many calls, some great tit calls, occasional syrian woodpecker, again, notable lack of Eurasian jays.

Many cyclamen out on hillslopes across north watercourse as well as roman squill, purple cress, shepherd's purse, red anemone and other small and colourful jobs.

27th Feb

Garden: house sparrows , ring neck parakeets about when sun up, later, laughing doves, hooded crows, bulbuls. No sunbirds. No jackdaws noticed today either.

stonechat in scrub by north watercourse, black redstart at bunker rubble. Syrian woodpeckers heard. Lots of chiffchaff vocalizations, collared doves in pines, not cooing yet but when they go from tree to tree the whirr of their wings easily heard.

From vocalizations heard in young pine near service road , clear calls of graceful warbler, many scolding churrs of great tit.. interaction or both alarmed over same thing? I don't think graceful warbler would want to nest up there. More graceful warbler calls towards watercourse, great tits moved to another pine across dirt road. European cuckoo heard a couple of times.

At least 6 adult male gazelle just beyond bat cave, together, grazing peacefully and moving on.

Looked for orchids, particularly Ophrys lutea in woods between shaft and valley road.. succeeded and photographed.. also found lots more Egyptian alkanet, flowering deadnettle, red pheasants eye (also found a larger orange pheasant's eye yesterday on other side of north watercourse) and the borage which looks like tiny monkwort, I forget the name, quite plentiful, and some flowering Bongardia. Most pleased about pink flower, tiny florets, by trail.. head of page.. totally unfamiliar. Must find!

28th Feb

cool, blowy afternoon, dust in the sky, too much so for the swifts to fly today but were finches about, chaffinches, linnets, (1 linnet in linnet tree, female chaffinch in acacia nearby, as well as a chiffchaff and a bulbul and possibly other stuff, flock of finches in flight to and fro over neighbourhood)

also including stonechats, female on sapling tube near north watercourse, male on scrub near cistern pine, Eurasian jays couple of places in pines but quiet, a sparrowhawk flew over from neighbourhood to bat cave area.. as it flew over acacia something in there called two very thin high pitched notes but don't know which bird.. clearly a hawk alarm. Pair of great spotted cuckoos in pines behind look-out corner.. heard grating call, quite low, then one after other flew out. , chiffchaffs some contact calls, great tits scolds but no song or clear notes and a singing blackbird mid east watercourse. Hyrax barking,

a group of 11 gazelle, females and well grown young this time amongst small cypress by north watercourse, and some aggression/skittishness amongst the females, almost head butting and bouncing about.

pink butterfly orchid (species #3) of the season found and a new vetch, like Palestine vetch but with markings, fine stripes.

29th Feb

walk rained out. Heard from here, house sparrows, laughing doves, yellow vented bulbuls, sunbird visited Bauhinia this morning, calling, first time I've heard them so vocally active in days.. calls of jackdaws and hooded crows.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February first half

View Larger Map

satellite map of Mir forest (Neve Yaakov forest) and surrounded fields (bounded to north and east by security wall and fence, to south and west by Pisgat Zeev and Neve Yaakov.

1st Feb.


did get some birds between rainfalls about 40 mins starting about 4.30 ish, valley road to bridge. garden: house sparrows, heard hooded crows , jackdaws and collared dove and ring neck parakeets. sunbird calls cape honeysuckle, feral pigeon on solar boiler.

Collared dove near pumping station flying into tree, syrian woodpecker calls, great tit (some song) calls near Shadiker hyrax colony, Prinia calls, blackbird alarm, bulbul various calls from north watercourse area , white wagtails over, eurasian jay in cypresses by valley road, other finches and warblers in pine tree canopies barely glimpsed but for one lone linnet (?) (striated with hint of pink but no other details) calling repeatedly and plaintively on top of pine as if to say ''where'd they all go??'' .white wagtails over, calls, activity warblers, finches pine canopies not IDd. Temp between 6 & 7 degrees, some sleet earlier, rain most of last day , some hail.

2nd Feb.

this afternoon: pleasant walk, cool/mild, sunny with cumulus. Sapling field blooming with much spring groundsel, a small orange composite and lilac/violet coloured Roman storksbill. Birds included chukar partridge, a pair of kestrels, bulbuls, jays, linnets, white wagtail and such, several gazelle about including a buck chasing a female on shepherd's trail, and barks of hyraxes. First monkwort blooming. May post some pics a bit later.

4th Feb

dense flowered fumitory seen flowering again for first time this season today! Also, various wild geraniums and more asphodel, red anemone and spring groundsel. birds included kestrels, chukar partridge, Prinias, black redstart, stonechat, ring neck parakeets, sunbird, yellow vented bulbul, collared and laughing doves.. also gazelle, male chasing female.

5th Feb

lovely walk .. found first Roman squill and Malcolmia of the season, a small herd of gazelle in NE field, some grazing, some friskily romping around, in head butting mood, Syrian woodpeckers, chukar partridge, stonechat, Prinias and a blackbird singing in the pines as dusk deepened & Venus shone in the western sky.

6th Feb

We got glimpse of a sparrowhawk by look out corner, also stonechat on our way down.. we got a pic of it, not great but recognizable.. may post later.. calls of syrian woodpecker, Prinia, yellow vented bulbul, chukar partridges and a sunbird in the cape honeysuckle on our way out. 9 gazelle grazing in north east field/lower hillslopes, also a little running about and play/sparring .

Tues 7 feb

found some white broom blooming today! Mandrakes also beginning to flower. Overcast, temps down today from 15 ish yesterday to about 7, 8 winds cold enough to make earaches and most sensible birds had sought cover.. not a single feral pigeon visible on any rooftop and most common birds silent and out of sight but white wagtails flying in small groups to roost till sunset. Sunbird in cape honeysuckle on the way out, stone curlew heard once at dusk way over beyond forest, and bachelor herd, group of 12 adult male gazelle seen grazing just across north watercourse. Earlier in and about garden: lots of house sparrows, jackdaws and hoodies on rooftops, squawks of ring neck parakeets,

Wed 8 Feb

garden: lots of house sparrows coming down as usual for chicken feed, calls of ring neck parakeets but still not seen coming down into garden, melodious bulbul calls, jackdaws, hooded crows, white wagtail calls from street, feral pigeon on top of building, laughing dove coos and foraging on ground.. again no sunbird

Just under 10 degrees C at about 4,30 p.m. winds light WSW, humidity 49%.. adult male gazelle top of the shepherd's trail looking down at us, dusk bark of hyrax up bank from gazelle road, black redstart bunker rubble, on diagonal blocks and rebar, stonechat over near bat cave, , kestrel hunting from line over hilliside, Syrian woodpeckers look out corner, Eurasian jay in pine by north watercourse trail, Prinia calls, great tit call. Chukar calls heard over north watercourse, blackbird alarm calls in east pines. Great tit calls by north watercourse.

Thurs 9 Feb

Garden, from house earlier.. house sparrows, ring neck parakeet, melodious bulbul calls, jackdaws, hooded crow & feral pigeon on roof, white wagtails.

4.20 p.m. temp just under 9 degrees, very light south westerly winds & about 60% humidity.

Found 11 female and well grown young gazelle grazing by north watercourse.. male and female stonechat nearby, black redstart near cistern on the rubble again.. at least one comes there every winter for last few years.. could be same individual.. also several collared doves on line near confluence , a blackbird in song near east watercouse competing with all the sunset muezzins and sunbird in the cape honeysuckle by our entrance.

Friday 10 Feb

Garden: sunbird and graceful warbler in cape honeysuckle pair seen foraging over me, blackbird in song in gardens towards sunset. Jackdaws, house sparrows, laughing doves and Hooded crows. Briefly, ring neck parakeet, white wagtail. Stone curlews somewhere in east field near windsurfer hill later, after dark.

Saturday 11 Feb

Garden: sunbird in cape honeysuckle heard briefly. Early afternoon two hoodies harassing apparently sparrowhawk circling high above road, striped tail, not sure. Another raptor circling over road a bit farther south but couldn't make out enough detail if kestrel or sparrowhawk.

Watched hoodie on roof.. alternated three note call, higher and purer attention grabbing note and lower more croaky notes.. appeared to have some nesting material it would pick up and put down again.. advertising?

Jackdaws, feral pigeons, hooded crows, house sparrows on roofs. Bulbuls heard a number of times, ring neck parakeet briefly. laughing doves foraging in garden and coos. Some blackbird song next door garden, other side from last night.

Valley: Heard white breasted kingfisher, flying up and down east valley watercourse towards sunset.. have not heard it in months so good to hear it again!

Also: 3 gazelle near almond row, adult male gazelle heading from lower east field into Pistacia orchard area, two others Akiva glimpsed. 1 adult hyrax by Shadiker colony near trail, foraging.

Sunday 12 Feb

blackbird singing in gardens this morning about nineish, bulbul calls, sunbird in cape honeysuckle, the usual laughing doves, house sparrows, feral pigeons, hooded crows, jackdaws, white wagtails about, ring neck parakeets squawking by mid afternoon. In the woods, Syrian woodpecker calls, Eurasian jays, Prinias and other small insectivorous jobs deep in the pine canopies, collared dove on a line, glimpse of sparrowhawk.

The lobed purple flowers of deadnettle have begun to bloom by the roadside.

No gazelle or hyrax found today. No black redstart at rubble.

Temps around 14 degrees C, winds still.

Monday 13th Feb

A few gazelle grazing by north watercourse, blackbird song, (next door's garden and by east watercourse) chiffchaffs foraging in acacias and pines, syrian woodpecker calls and stone curlew brief call on the way back as caught by Akiva.. usual birdy gang in the garden and street: bulbuls calling earlier, sunbird brief in cape honeysuckle, laughing doves cooing and foraging, ring neck parakeets by mid afternoon. House sparrows, feral pigeons on roof, jackdaws, hooded crows, brief graceful warbler call.

Temps just over 15 after 4, high altitude mixed clouds as yesterday, mostly sunny, light westerlies.

Tuesday 14th Feb

garden: house sparrows foraging, laughing doves also, and cooing. Jackdaws, hooded crows, ring neck parakeet, bulbuls about street, sunbirds in entrance as usual, not sure if white wagtails, not so obvious today.

By 4.30 p.m overcast but mild/warm, over 15 degrees C. great tits, chiffchaffs vocal, blackbird singing near pumping station, sparrowhawk up slopes windsurfer somewhere, syrian woodpeckers heard, graceful warblers briefly, great tit various calls by north watercourse trail including some song end of Shadiker. Black redstart absent from rubble nor stonechats seen or heard. Left already?

bachelor herd gazelle on hill ridge to north, at least 7.

shepherd's purse blooming last few days, lots of red anemone and spring groundsel, Roman squill, now also noticing thorny burnet flowering. Polygonum, wild mustard by roadside.