Thursday, March 8, 2012

March 2nd week

small stand of wild tulips up wooded slopes from east watercourse dirt road, near 'tree line'

clary- Salvia horminum

thurs 8 March

Pleasant day ~17 degrees C give or take a degree most of afternoon, mostly clear, a little cumulus.

Crossed north watercourse and headed up hill. Still lots of asphodel, Roman squill and cyclamen, also more figwort, some orange pheasant's eye, patches of clary and now plenty of the small blue, blue purple mini iris with stippling and yellow at base and inside tubes of petals.

Garden: house sparrow, laughing doves, also about street, hooded crows. some Feral pigeons about, Akiva saw sunbird earlier .

Up on hill.. ahead of us, group of half a dozen gazelle. Larks up top of hill, one hovering a few metres up from ground calling repeatedly , perhaps simple song. No good views. Two stone curlew left slope, headed down to fields. Looked for eggs, was possibly suitable laying area, but no luck. Chukar partridge heard somewhere on the slopes. Great spotted cuckoo heard from down in the woods somewhere.

Also great tits, graceful warblers. No luck with stonechats.

Sat 10th March

stone curlews (from north field area) and european cuckoo (from pines near north east corner valley road) calling in dusk on our return.

a few gazelle 2 north ridge, 1 buck coming up from top of shepherd's trail, headed out over east field, lower windsurfer slopes, lots of chiffchaffs contact calls, great tit scolding calls, brief song, graceful warbler vocalizations, european jays activity but quiet, a pair of hoopoes flying north east of trees; black redstart on a dry stone wall east field, female stonechat also there.. no male stonechats seen or heard anywhere. collared dove group on line over confluence, brief blackbird song.

Akiva heard sunbird earlier. about street: house sparrows, laughing doves, bulbuls (active, vocal many places today) , hooded crows. Jackdaws not noted. Did not look out for swifts and none obvious.

Sunday 11 March


Around dawn melodious bulbul and sunbird calls heard.. laughing dove coos, chirrupping house sparrows and later, jackdaws, hooded crows, feral pigeons.

*wild tulips* growing in several locations on west slopes. The first location we found them a few years ago is now part of the construction I think but I was optimistic and determined to discover more sites. I did find a group of tulips just below the most north western tip of the roadworks. Making our way down the hillslope Akiva discovered a couple of isolated flowers and then a beautiful little stand just inside the 'tree-line'

Also lots of buttercups, butterfly orchid, mini irises, buckler mustard and others. Cistus vegetation noticed north west windsurfer hill slopes.

Also, gazelle, adult male , then three females and well grown young lower north slopes of windsurfer. Hyrax chitters and activity by pumphouse colony, swifts now beginning to scream and lots of activity from jays, great tits, blackbirds, syrian woodpecker, ring neck parakeet, graceful warbler, blackbirds. Stonechat out in field. Black redstart absent from rubble and dry stone wall,

Monday 12 March


some gazelle: adult male went from Pistacia area to small olive grove where grazed. Group of 3 females/well grown young crossed shepherd's trail and continued along treed hillslopes to sw. a few adult hyraxes out on rocks at Shadiker colony, lots of jay and Prinia activity esp. in lowest parts of woods, blackbird and great tit song, great spotted cuckoo calls around look out corner area, collared doves and then four *black kites* appeared over windsurfer hill almost hovering, circled around over east valley and flew right over us.. (cistern to top windsurfer trail) then went on their way back over east watercourse, look out corner area, upsetting the local hoodies. A couple of hoodies flew up in half hearted harassment but kites chased them back briefly and they desisted.

Is it a crossbill eruption year? Saw pair finches up in pine by, cistern to windsurfer trail, mostly obscured by foliage but were feeding in there, bill wiping noticed, distinctly forked tail, brief view of underside of one looked redder than I'd expect from a chaffinch (which I'd at first thought they were.. had heard call like chaffinch but a little softer.. but not as crossbill described in book though just a contact call.. they all have a range of several) .. didn't get any better views except clearly a pair.

Chamomile starting to bloom, lots of Carmel bee orchids and pink butterfly orchids about.

Wed. 14 March

garden and street: house sparrows, bulbuls quite vocal in various places, laughing dove coos, feral pigeons, hooded crows.

a dozen gazelle grazing lower hill slopes just east of bat cave, females and well grown young, 1 adult male in attendance. 4 more on slopes up from east watercourse dirt road, sub-adults all?. A few Buteos about, brief view of large bird of prey over east watercourse being harassed by a hoodie, got impression it as a black kite.

great spotted cuckoos active and vocal, singles flying about, and brief chiffchaff song in young pine grove by hoopoe corner. Eurasian jays quite active. Quite windy, making flight difficult for most birds.

Black redstarts, sunbirds, blackbirds, Syrian woodpeckers, stonechats, swifts, jackdaws not found.

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