Sunday, April 1, 2012

1st week of April

zoom up on one of Akiva's Jerusalem sage pics (Salvia hierosolymitana)

Below, a beetle that dropped of a gladiolus at edge of east field, near Pistacia orchard.

some kind of sage relative found by trail from north watercourse to north valley road on 2nd.

Below: some kind of borage, found by low dry stone wall Phlomis field.

Below, Campanula amongst clovers.

below and above, would like to get retakes if I can find them again, above, have seen many on west hillslopes, this one near cistern, but so small hard to get sharp. Below, near north watercourse in open.. was trying to get a grasshopper, noticed this interesting tiny flowerhead nearby when I was looking over photograph.

Below, composite, common this time of year but not yet properly I.D. One of Asteriscus, or related?

Sunday 1st April

Temps mild, pleasant

Gardens: sunbird calls, bulbul calls, these vocal also in north valley watercourse. Laughing dove coos, house sparrows, jackdaws, hooded crows .. feral pigeons over.

Jays active, some vocal, some blackbird song. Graceful warblers vocal.

Crossed north watercourse, walked up to 'butterfly glade', saddle between there and hidden watercourse. Saw first Campanula. pic above. Still some Cyclamen.

noticed group of bachelor males on skyline to north, at least 5 males there.

kestrels as has been seen lately hunting on south facing slope, using top of slender cypress up and behind from bat cave as perch.

Below: prob of brassicaceae, at foot of our steps. To I.D. later the flower part shot up, stem elongated taking flowers much further from leaves.. similar to mustard flowers but far smaller.

2nd April

Walked over to Phlomis field. On the way at least 16 adult male gazelle in bachelor herd, at least one was on saddle between the watercourses, as we approached we saw them just across hidden watercourse, grazing peacefully, nearby, group of females and well grown young, at least 5 individuals. 3 more adult males headed north. In olive grove several more including one adult male. Total, about 30 individuals, new record in one day!

Gundelia starting to bloom. Several crimson gladeoli (G. italicus) found edge of Phlomis fields in open though near scrub. Unfamiliar white borage in pic above found near dry stone wall. Some Judean sage about to bloom. Phlomis coming up but no sign of flowers yet. No Jerusalem Salvia yet. Purple clover, yellow flax now blooming and still pheasant's eye, pretty much all known (to me) varieties of clovers, cyclamen.

Several larks active on south facing hillslope, calling on boulders, pi pi pyuuu didit repeated, melodious, also some more trilling calls. Plumage quite smooth, plain brownish, with crest, striations not visible.

Buteo with dark subterminal tail band, at least two in the area. Kestrel active in same area as has been lately.

Bulbuls, great tits, graceful warblers vocal though no great tit song. collared doves, jays active. No turtle doves yet.

garden: calls from sunbirds frequent. laughing dove coos and house sparrows as usual.

5th April First bee-eaters of season seen and heard! 5 flying over north field, younger pine grove area.

Getting warmer! Peak temps now in mid or upper mid 20s degrees C.

8th April

Walked along by north watercourse. Swifts and some bee-eaters heard over the valley, flying quite high.. no kestrels or Tristram's but did hear chukar partridge, collared doves. Lots of calls from great spotted cuckoos. Looked for blue rock thrush and little owl on rubble approaching quarry but no luck.. then pack of feral dogs showed up at the top and made a huge noise. Apart from spooking any birds I decide to move back downstream, farther from their territory .. at a leisurely pace because I didn't want to trigger a chase. Feral dog packs keep a distance when I'm with Akiva but this time I was by myself so they might not be intimidated, and they were a bunch of good size dogs.

Looked for Ciliate Nigella, still no luck but did find quite a few gladioli, one packed with bees, all dopey. Syrian thistle budding, quite attractive to some Dipterans, (body matched Otites grata in Rittner's site but without the marked wings). Also one small stand of budding 'Maccabees' blood' (Helichrysum sanguineum). Hawthorns half covered with blooms, much better than last two years but not up to level of three years ago, not yet at any rate. Akiva succeeded in finding and photographing Jerusalem sage on mid west slopes of windsurfer hill a few days ago. Wattle tree already have covered with yellow pompoms.

Dipteran on Syrian thistle (in text)

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