Wednesday, August 1, 2012


The owl found by route 90 on wed 8th, just north of Fatsael

Wed August 1st

peaked at about 35 degrees C mid afternoon, still low 30s time of walk, humidity betw 20,30% most of day. easterlies shortly after noon, otherwise light southerlies, westerlies, north westerlies.

House sparrows -relatively quiet today ; laughing doves -some coos, gardens ; bulbuls- calls edge of neighbourhood, bank area; sunbirds-quiet today; jackdaws-the large flock foraging and on the move over valley, some calls; hooded crows- singles, pairs about but relatively quiet; feral pigeons-roof tops, flying about edge neighbourhood, over valley in small groups; syrian woodpeckers- multiple calls in woods; Eurasian jays-some activity; greenfinches- not noticed; great tits- some calls various places; bee-eaters- calls of hawking groups over; hoopoes-one on north watercourse dirt road near shaft; chukar partridges-none noticed; hobbies-call area of trees by bat cave; collared doves-some coos and on wire; turtle doves-some coos and on wire; graceful warblers-calls heard; Tristram's starlings-none

gazelle- at least 5 females, well grown young, north west slopes of windsurfer, 4 adult males strolling ahead of us on north watercourse dirt road.. when they became aware of us (we were downwind, so most likely by sound) they headed across the watercourse towards pines on other side
hyraxes-active and vocal by valley road.

Thurs 2nd August

A few degrees cooler than yesterday with nice breeze coming from west/north west

House sparrows - calls, street, gardens ; laughing doves -coos and about street ; bulbuls- calls, street, gardens, ; sunbirds- Akiva heard earlier, gardens ; jackdaws- large flock heading from Adam towards windsurfer towards sunset, 150- 200 birds; hooded crows- a few scattered, active vocal, foraging on north hillsides as usual in last few days; feral pigeons- roof tops, flying about over edge neighbourhood as usual; syrian woodpeckers- calls in pines various places in valley; Eurasian jays- some sightings and calls; greenfinches- none noticed ; great tits- calls, Pistacia orchard, other parts of valley; blackbird- none noticed ;bee-eaters- calls a number of times, dawn and late afternoon over valley, over 25 on lines lower north hill slopes; hoopoes-pair on dirt road near cistern; chukar partridges- none; hobbies- none; collared doves- brief view pair in flight? ; turtle doves-coos and pair on line; graceful warblers- calls; Tristram's starlings- none, Masked shrike? , glimpse near where north watercourse dirt road meets central trail. Ring neck parakeets, heard gardens about dawn.

gazelle- at least two females lower north hill slopes up from bat cave, crows on ground all around. 3 in Pistacia orchard, female with two young of different ages.

Friday and Shabbat, August 3rd, 4th

bulbuls and sunbirds heard in garden last couple of days.. spraying on tomatoes has caused a veritable jungle, the rest of the garden full of garden purslane, black nightshade producing a mulititude of berries the hens like, and mostly goosefoot with Ailanthus and another similar tree growing up in a couple of corners. The Bauhinia definitely had a much better year than last year with many beans coming ripe and splitting after dark.
House sparrows, laughing dove coos, feral pigeons about the buildings.

congregations of jackdaws and hoodies on the hillsides both below the little owl road and on the north slopes, foraging in the ground for whatever.. grasshoppers?

The most bee-eaters I've seen this season over and around look out corner area.. scores, not sure how many, Akiva estimated well over 100, I saw fewer, maybe 80 ish.. at one stage they were all flying in a panic from a couple of raptors in the area.. but we didn't get good views of those, too quick.. larger ones, though, broader winged than hobbies.

collared doves cooing, bird on line looked like turtle from distance but didn't hear their coos or see any hoopoes today.. not sure about greenfinches but did hear Prinias and great tits, Syrian woodpeckers, and Eurasian jays active and vocal.

Sunday 5 August

just after 6 p.m. temp about 26 degrees C, humidity ~60% & rising, light north westerlies.

Bee-eaters heard over valley this afternoon and also about dawn from house, lots of sunbird activity today in a variety of places from garden to woods, 2 gazelle, females, grazing north field, hyraxes vocal and active by valley road, collared dove by look out corner, turtle dove was on ground hoopoe stretch, then flew to east watercourse trees, laughing doves garden coos, jackdaws vocal active valley and rooftops, watched one hop down from solar boiler when hoodie wanted that perch, hoodies, syrian woodpeckers calls and active, Eurasian jay sapling field area, Prinias calls, great tit call. Bulbul calls garden from before dawn on and off, house sparrow activity, feral pigeons, small group flying over valley to neighbourhood, all light, might belong to a coop.

Monday 6 August

Most notable sighting today was european goldfinch in top of eucalyptus at look out corner late afternoon.. heard twitterings.. saw one on top, then a short while later saw one farther down, one on top gone.. couldn't know if second bird but they usually travel in small groups of up to 30 so prob more about esp judging by the twittering.
active and vocal, as were syrian woodpeckers but heard no Prinias or jays and blackbirds are really keeping a low profile. No raptors either, though, of course, jackdaws and hoodies in evidence, foraging on hillsides, flying over, some calls. Feral pigeons over, house sparrows street and gardens as usual.

great tits foraging in Pistacia, adult male gazelle on hill up from bat cave, Hyrax calls, high pitched chittering from bank by valley road.

Tuesday 7 Aug

Over 32 degrees at peak, still just over 30 on our walk,
four gazelle in various places, onehorn and a kid edge of young pines by service road, another female just up from the bat cave and another mature female up on windsurfer upper SW slopes, Hyrax calling their barky chittery call up on the rocky slopes,

great tits in the Pistacias, calls,bulbuls and sunbirds in the garden, jays and woodpeckers about, grey falcon, probably one of the local hobbies, lots of jackdaws and hoodies as usual, ring neck parakeet heard earlier, bee-eaters about, calling and flying over the valley esp about dawn and again late afternoon.

Again, no Prinias, hoopoes noticed, nor the valley doves today.

Wednesday 8 August

Reached mid 30s in Jerusalem, mid 40s in valley.

Not long before noon, top of post outside army base just up from Jordan valley, not far from Maaleh Gilboa, perhaps at natural sea level mystery bird I can't find yet in book.. dark mask through eye prominent but cap grey, not crested, underside whitish, yellowish upper breast. Primaries black, coverts grey with dark bar going back down diagonally, tail long and dark. shrikish/cuckooish in jizz. perhaps a little heavier than great spotted cuckoo.

seen betw valley and Malkishua. there: many bulbuls, some greenfinches,

also seen, egret by date grove in Jordan valley, also found dead (little?) owl by road (pic above)

jackdaws, hooded crows, feral pigeons, laughing doves, house sparrows, kestrel on line? collared doves, turtle doves, many around agricultural parts of valley? graceful warblers

Camel 'spiders' (Solifuga arachnids) reported at Malkishua and at Shira's base but found none, no doubt in deep in cool dark places under the buildings probably, during the heat of the day.

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