Monday, April 23, 2012

last week or so of April

blooms of Tamarisk over drainage channel by north loop of valley road

north facing slopes north valley .. this one on trail down from valley road to dirt road but others seen in area. To identify.

Cerambyd beetle on milk thistle

Trip to Netanya

23rd April Just leaving neighbourhood, white stork over the road approaching French hill.

into vale saw a number of spur winged plovers flying about by road, just in ones or twos.

One Buteo spotted.

Netanya.. my first views of the feral common mynahs (Acridotheres tristis) close to the sea.. quite a handsome bird in my opinion with melodious calls though plumage drab, crown almost dark blue iridescence and white patch on wing together with graceful sure flight makes it a pleasure to watch.

unfamilar bird in Netanya, never saw this before, got good views flying
about between tops of lamp posts near sea, occasionally visiting the ground.

Loud, clear melodious calls.

slightly smaller than jackdaw, short tail, dark brown back and wings, broad
off- white 'window' across wing only visible in flight. Tail dark but
feather tips and outer tail feathers white. Wings broad, quick, direct
graceful flight.

head from eye level up black, slight blue gloss, faint red eye ring, iris
dark, bill yellow/orange and like that of a cuckoo. chin and underparts
paler than upperparts but not white.

Several individuals about.

Only one gull noticed hundreds of yards out , not high above water, black headed or similar. had black tail tip though mostly white head.

white swallows about, zipping over the area from time to time.

25 April

almost 6 p.m. , soon heading down to the valley to say 'hello' to the hyraxes in the last hour or so of daylight.. weather conditions: 21.8 degrees C, humidity 62% and rising, wind 2.6 knots from the west. clear skies and sunny :)

garden: sunbirds, cooing laughing doves

high altitude clouds, gazelle grazing on the hillside.. watched a pair of hobbies flying about gracefully amongst the cypresses.. we saw at least three falcons over bat cave area.. territorial disputes.. or in latter case could have been chasing away the kestrel that hunts in that area, one did appear more tawny in colour to Akiva.

family of great tits, cooing collared and turtle doves, blackbird in song and the tamarisk tree covered in many thousands of tiny buds.

greenfinch twitters, call of Syrian woodpecker, hoodies about, swift,

also flowering spiny restharrow by the road.

26 th April.

Now some caper foliage appearing, first mullein blooms out, cat thyme germander beginning to bloom and Carmel leek budding up on mid north slopes windsurfer hill.

3 hobbies flying about over east valley..

By Pistacia orchard.. heard great tit fledgelings, heard Syrian woodpecker, blackbird, turtle dove, some greenfinch twitters. No bee-eaters today or yesterday. Blackcaps heard in pines and cypresses by valley road just up from 'cypress slum'. Did see foraging in pine, lower branches and many calls, low 'tic tic' up from north watercourse a couple of days ago, forgot to mention then.

(some hyraxes about but quiet) 4 gazelle in lower east field, females, sub-adults, between small olive grove and cistern-hill trail.

Hoodies very much in evidence but relatively few jackdaws. Dead young hoodie by trail under pines.. do the great spotted woodpeckers eject young hoodies? Likely. Feral pigeons about, flock over edge neighbourhood.

garden: house sparrows, lauging doves foraging and coos, sunbird calls. Some bulbul calls neighbourhood gardens.

Friday 27 April

mid afternoon: sunny and warm (~25 degrees C) , some bird activity, particularly graceful warblers, great tits, blackcaps foraging for food for their families.. some blackbird and blackcap song as well as coos from turtle, collared and laughing doves. Noticed two agamas basking on stones near north watercourse . Feral pigeons, house sparrows, hooded crows, jackdaws also noticed. Bulbuls, sunbirds in gardens. Eurasian jays also in woods.

baby hyraxes noticed in Shadiker colony, adult male gazelle with good size horns in pines near central trail.

Sunday 29th April

garden: bulbul, sunbird from dawn.

just after 5.30 p.m. just under 18 degrees C, humidity almost 80%, wind 3.5 knots WNW. overcast with thin cloud or fine mist.

about half an hour later observed slow passage of about 100 raptors.. light barred under, rufous under shoulders and central parts, terminal dark bar on tail.. light head.. honey buzzards, many immature? Not one single large flock but several loose groups one following another, not high.

Look out corner: blackbird song, greenfinch song, graceful warblers about, turtle dove heard by north watercourse, great tits and their fledgelings calling, some blackcap calls near service road. Eurasian jays active from about shaft area to pine grove by cistern.. calls of fledgeling latter location while adult went down to ground to forage.

leek opening on hillside but only one seen so far this season.

small olive grove.. two females (??) or immatures in mock sparring session, one in particular quite frisky, much back kicking and bouncing around.

Monday 30 April

2 rollers on lines over hillslopes to NE, occasionally flying up and around and down back to line.. hawking for insects ..Then four falcons turned up.. also hawking about above us very deftly.. probably lesser kestrels from colouring, reddish brown, mask just visible, hard to tell much of colouring but given hawking in a group ID seems reasonable. A few Buteos about and lots of swifts esp over edge of neighbourhood, valley road.. as well as families of great tits and assorted other small jobs by north watercourse, very vocal. Masked shrike heard near north watercourse.. blackcap heard near north watercourse dirt road. warblers foraging in acacia.. one flew around.. had size and colouring of one of the Hippolais warblers but got no further info/view.

Syrian woodpeckers heard in Terebinth area, lots of twittering greenfinches around cistern area and pines towards pumping station. Feral pigeons, house sparrows (insect hawking behaviour from top of building), jackdaws, hooded crows, male gazelle following female near central trail.

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