Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1st week

Colias crocea , clouded yellow.. photographed in oat field in purple Phlomis vale on 6th.. most other butterflies seen are clouded whites with occasional Satyrids and a few smaller jobs I haven't had good views of yet.

Purple Phlomis found in field on 6th notably different from those we've photographed in the past here.. which had longer , sparser flowers and yellow/orange underflowers.. different strain in same field? We didn't see any of those today.

1st May

garden: house sparrows, bulbuls, laughing doves, sunbirds all active and vocal.

lots of yellow centaury blooming on hillslopes and in the valleys now.. the pure yellow variety, none with purple seen yet.

great tits busy foraging for their families in various places, brief glimpse of blackcap in same habitat, ring neck parakeet calls from the eucalyptus, Syrian woodpeckers very vocal in various places, a few dark Buteos about, hooded crows. Eurasian jays active but quiet, Graceful warblers heard. Collared doves about, some jackdaw calls. Turtle doves and bee-eaters not heard. Still no black eared wheatears though did hear call of something in east field.. no luck finding.

three young gazelle in small olive grove. another near east watercourse.. feral cat walked close by , did not bother it at all.

More bugs of various kinds, more caper foliage, Verbascum slowly blooming, most milk thistle gone to seed and fleabane also.

Wed 2nd May

Quarry : Tristram's starling .. four birds about the building ruins on the south side.. one clearly adult male, one adult female.. one juvenile, dark head and paler gape skin visible.. also harsh calls and soliciting for food , unsteady in flight, fluttery, fledgeling but not confident.. perched in outside top of door/window frame, adult close , protective but not feeding it. Did not get good views of fourth but we'd guess second juvenile if not young helper from previous season.

Much fuss from chukar partridges north slopes

several masked shrike along north watercourse, one clearly seen, at least two more heard.

up in pines on other side, blackcap calls. Great tit family calls, Eurasian jays, hooded crows, swifts above.

Buteo up top across valley near A Ram over edge holding position facing into wind while nearby hoodies had to flap to hold position, the Buteo could keep wings totally still. Either Buteo had best sense of exact location or better control.

Another raptor, sparrowhawk from what I could make out. Also a pair of DUCKS, mallard, male and female, headed over towards A Ram.. where do they go?

Graceful warblers.

6th May .. pics above

temp. just over 25 degrees C on walk, just after 5 p.m. light winds from WNW and relatively low humidity.

On hills, chukar partridge (several on hill crest between north watercourse and hidden watercourse, and a lot of larks singing on boulders up beyond hidden watercourse, or fluttering at least ten metres above the ground repeated harsh alarm calls.. I move away, not wanting to disturb nest when this happens.

No bee-eaters today but some swifts.. a Buteo or two on top of hill, very dark , settling on boulders between low flights, rufous brown chest collar against pale underparts.

Hobby over east field/euc grove area. Also over there were Syrian woodpecker calls, Eurasian jays active, graceful warblers , cooing turtle doves in various places. No greenfinches yet.. they generally start up twittering closer to sunset and we were there earlier but I'm sure they were about.

Flock house sparrows on north facing slopes by olive vale.. acting like wild weaver birds ..we've noticed this in past, flocks taking to fields in May when much grass seed to be had.

Sounded like a whole family of masked shrikes in the olives, many calls, squabbling?

Gazelle: bachelor herd group of 6 plus heading across hidden watercourse and beyond.. group of young and females farther down and to the east, ~8 or more. Very small one spotted farther to the east apparently alone.

7 May

It's almost 6 p.m. (S.T.) temp. 21.5 degrees C, humidity 41%, wind 7 knots NW. sunny and blue skies out.

pleasant walk.. hobbies, (looks like they bred , family by Pistacia grove), 1 in bare tree seemed to be young from colouring, two more arrived and they flew off together. Lots of young great tits about, Syrian woodpeckers, Eurasian jays, blackbirds (in song), graceful warblers, swifts, greenfinches, collared and turtle doves all active and vocal.

8th May

lots of graceful warbler calls and activity now in many places, as well as juvenile great tits everywhere. Also today, Syrian woodpeckers, black capped Eurasian jays, hobbies, chukar partridges, collared and turtle doves, greenfinches, singing blackbird, jackdaws, hoodies, crested larks and such and an agama lizard on rocks just up from east watercourse dirt road.

Several gazelle grazing too out in the fields round about.

foliage of capers, Varthemia, Marrubium well underway. Golden thistle budding in north field.

garden: house sparrows, bulbul, sunbirds, latter at sunrise and sunset esp, calling close to window. Feral pigeons, jackdaws, hoodies.

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