Thursday, March 1, 2012

March, First week

hyrax found on valley road: back foot. Back legs were quite short, similar to dimensions of guinea pig.

front paw

eye and mouth.. also noticed pink tissue coming out of nose.. in skull we noticed well developed nasal cavity.. probably a LOT of nasal sensory tissue.

hyrax ear

Thurs March 1st

brrr temps falling! mid afternoon temp about 5 degrees C, raining on and off last couple of days. Sleet this morning, snow in Amman. We did get a gap in the rain for a short walk on valley road for about half an hour before sunset. All watercourses flowing. I don't recall SEEING north and hidden watercourse flowing before.

Blackbird (in castor oil bush on bank) and great tit(down in pines) in song, whistle from a Tristram's starling flying up north watercourse, encountered a HEDGEHOG crossing the road before us while yet light.. he stood still as we approached, watching us with his beady eye and looking scared. I assured him we were mostly harmless. He didn't roll up, just waited till we moved on.

gardens: house sparrows, laughing doves about, brief calls of sunbird and bulbul. Hooded crows about street, roofs, flying over valley, some calls

snow friday morning, settled briefly. Rain on and off into Shabbat

Sat 3 Mar

Garden: laughing dove coos shortly before dawn, still dark. Later, hooded crows, then house sparrows. Later, ring neck parakeet calls. blackbird song.

afternoon walk: drizzle on and off. Linnets about, small flocks flying about, and 2 in linnet tree. Several chaffinches off valley road, tops of cypresses, calling.
Blackbirds, song in trees on valley road, woods.

Swifts over edge of neighbourhood, several. not calling. Large sparrowhawk flew up over windsurfer hill lower slopes towards Pisgat Zeev, not high above canopy level. Female? Another sparrowhawk some time later flew from north watercourse area to over edge of neighbourhood.

gazelle: buck near north watercourse, near bat cave, rubbing horns against sapling apparently. sounds of hyrax barks.

No jays or woodpeckers today. Chiffchaffs active though, calling, foraging, flying between trees. Graceful warbler call. Bulbul various calls. Jackdaw calls, more hooded crows. Feral pigeons about buildings, whirr of wings, prob collared dove, in pine down from north loop valley. Akiva caught brief snatch of Tristram starling call from somewhere east, we both heard chatter of great spotted cuckoo from trees near bat cave. stone curlew later, after dark.

Sun 4 March

Garden: house sparrows, laughing doves, bulbuls, blackbird. Hooded crows and jackdaws heard. Feral pigeons about, ring neck parakeet.. uncertain, did hear some psittacine calls. No sunbirds.

Buteo with wing 'windows' flying over from A Ram to over neighbourhood, relatively brief glimpse. Great spotted cuckoo calls in eucs by look out corner, stone curlew brief call from direction of hidden watercourse.

Half a dozen gazelle, 4 on far south east slopes of hill north of gazelle field, near the confluence. 1 individual near central trail, didn't see much detail but got impression a relatively young one. In Pistacia grove adult male watching us at edge near pines, he headed back and I think it was him we saw again near top of shepherd's trail when we turned off hill to head back down towards east watercourse.

East watercourse is flowing and work has been done at look out corner to make sure it drains properly into watercourse on gazelle field without flooding the field by the bunker rubble where there are now many saplings. A row of slabs on upstream side of central trail serve both to halt erosion and as stepping stones. We really appreciated these efforts!

LOTs of linnets in small groups twittering over, singing blackbirds various places including our or neighbouring garden, black redstart at bunker rubble, stonechat, female over towards small olive tree grove, chiffchaffs in pine canopies, Prinias loud vocalization here and there. Several swifts over edge of neighbourhood but not screaming.
Eurasian jay in pine. No calls of Syrian woodpeckers today.

Mon 5 March

fox approaching cistern along track, black redstart on bunker rebar, stonechat on scrub near cistern pine; robins, some calls, one in tree by north watercourse over from where trail from north road comes down. linnets, none in linnet tree but small groups passing over before sunset. kestrel, flew from hill to north to over neighbourhood; sparrowhawk over open north watercourse; chiffchaffs calling in pine canopies; ring neck parakeet in tall trees behind look out corner, called and headed fast to neighbourhood.

Most interesting. big lone stork job circled over east valley for a while before coming down somewhere to NE of us as it grew dark. Immature black? Lost touch with rest of flock, unusual to see alone. Not snowy white enough for white stork but seemed pale under.. no red but that hard to tell in silhouette... as it came down bill definitely looked longer than that of crane. Got some pics but poor definition in available light.

Tues 6 March

garden earlier: house sparrows, laughing doves, various sunbird calls, farther off, jackdaws,
also about, feral pigeons, and hoodies about valley and neighbourhood as usual.

half a dozen gazelle, females, well grown young, grazing out in the open, north field, by twin pylons, beyond watercourse.
swifts, over, about tall buildings up in neighbourhood. Heard calls, then we saw kestrel flying across east watercourse high, to those buildings.

ring neck parakeet, trees behind look out corner again, black redstart, on rebar at bunker rubble same area; stonechat, scrub around cistern pine; chiffchaffs, pine canopies thin contact calls as usual; great tits much scolding in relatively young pines in hoopoe area at same time strident chiffchaff alarm calls so something was bothering them but didn't see what .Was a pair of Eurasian jays about. Strange squeaky song in bunker pines.. didn't see what but recalled odd jay song I'd witnessed years ago. Was at least one jay in the tree at the time so possible. bulbuls calls near Shadiker hyrax colony, graceful warblers, calls around forepart of gazelle field; linnets, twittering of small groups going over now and again; chaffinches, in young pines, Tristram's starling, calls somewhere not far from pumphouse. Hawk over from north, nonedescript brown with paler stippling, no noticeable id features such as wing or tail bars but looked smaller than regular Buteo, larger than usual Accipiter.

several different types of clover blooming now - small white flowers, smaller leaves than those of white clover.. like miniature of that. Also the dark purple 'spiny' variety.

Found roadkill hyrax on valley road, used opp. to photograph feet and ear.. will post in blog. Couple of adult hyraxes active in boulders of Shadiker colony.

Wed 7 March

Garden: male sunbird active in Bauhinia earlier, house sparrows, laughing doves.

5 linnets in the 'linnet tree' today, some twittering. Jackdaws and hooded crows about as usual. graceful warblers about, stonechat pair active low on trail from north valley road to north watercourse dirt road. Sparrowhawk flew over shaft to south. Black redstart not at rubble but probably spooked by people there just before us. Swifts aloft, still none screaming. Syrian woodpecker north watercourse area, collared dove on line, chiffchaffs in pine canopies as usual.

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