Sunday, October 6, 2013


Hoof of gazelle leg found by top of shepherd's trail this afternoon 22nd Sept.Views side, underside, top and side

 Above.. flowers of spiny asparagus noticed by east watercourse dirt road 21st Sept. photographed 22 nd September.

Also noticed Sharp Varthemia in bloom 22 Sept, just a few flowers yet on plant in the open just up from top of shepherd's trail, lower north west slopes windsurfer hill

2nd Sept  

Sdei Trumot 

1 pied kingfisher perched on low flat post above water still, temp about 40 early aft.  Several terrapins swimming about in water, saw head up, then down again, at least two pairs of spur winged plovers round banks, one over by right across, other near bank under eucs took off. dragonflies

white storks Tirzah.. about a dozen.

7 Sept

harsh calls around look out corner area.. could be shrikes again.. also discovered from Malkishua Sardinian warblers can sound like that.
Lots of Hyrax activity by valley road including mother with kits.
Gazelle in lower east field and Pistacias, at least half a dozen in former area running about.
Lots of Syrian woodpecker activity, calls jackdaws, hoodies. covey of chukar east field slopes just up from shepherd trail.
Akiva saw grey bird of prey like bird,  said thursday very similar, mat dark grey above but not as dark as hobby, lighter below.. on thursday clearly saw white rump but that only on a male hen harrier? rather early in season for that 
Sunbirds heard singing in last week in Bauhinia and a couple of other places

8 Sept

Tristramit heard from garden.  Akiva has also heard lately occasionally.  Ring neck parakeets seen and heard in neighbourhood by ourselves and neighbours in last week, when I saw, pair flying about over gardens .. also between our neighbourhood and Pisgat Zeev

12 Sept Thurs

Neglected to record.. about a week ago several large dark birds.. size, outline honey buzzard I'd say, settling down into trees behind look out corner, coming down to roost for night.. spooked out a collared dove.

Back to present..  last few days Masked shrike heard regularly near look out corner/Pistacias and along north watercourse, a couple glimpsed amongst acacias, eucs, lower branches , or flitting from ground to trees.  Syrian woodpeckers active and vocal. Kestrels about, hunting over valley as well as sides, more bold because hobbies left, and coming into their territory?  Some great tits heard but not every day. Jackdaws and hooded crows heard regularly. Occasional graceful warbler calls but their activity down too, and collared doves and blackbirds very low profile.

At least three hoopoes in look-out corner, hoopoe stretch area yesterday. 

In gardens laughing doves cooing every day, feral pigeons on roofs, between buildings, sparrows active, vocal, flocking somewhat, on the move between gardens looking for opportunities, some bulbuls also like that in pairs or small groups, also sometimes heard in watercourse trees.

Several kestrel sightings lately over valley, covey of chukars north west lower slopes windsurfer hill, calls of masked shrikes heard, Syrian woodpeckers very vocal and active lately,  Jays occasionally, hooded crows and jackdaws regularly, noted flock of hoodies returning from foraging to north. 

First rain .. light with no thunder or lightning on 21st Sept. late afternoon.  Much cumulus/cumulonimbus about.. had noted some nice altocumulus day before and cirrus

24 th September 

Sdei Terumot.. temp 30 degrees C there..  several pied kingfishers about,mostly perching on opposite bank, one on post about 3 feet out of water , 2 little egrets,  not together, some dozens of metres apart across water 1 grey heron,  1 white breasted kingfisher just above water outlet, 1 common kingfisher on branch bit by water on my side, flew across with call and hunted from row veg sticking out of water on other side,  so saw all three local species of kingfisher within about five minutes.. that's a first !  a few pairs of spur winged plovers about.

Did not see white storks up above Tirzah but westerlies moving lots of cumulus along and wind conditions against thermals in that area.

Monday, September 2, 2013

July, August

 Syrian Demoiselle.. taken by Moshe,  mid August , nr Cfar Blum, upper Jordan

Sdei Trumot 23rd July

several pairs/groups spur winged plovers about the pool, very active and vocal
1 pair pied kingfishers seen heading low over water from near to far bank.
egret heading off, prob little.

otherwise, about, graceful warblers,  some UI with clear repeated sibillant whistle by waterside but no time to investigate.


Tristram's pair noted a couple of times, 1 call repeated, not the usual three tone but sharp.

generally quiet,  flock hillslopes north west on ground, mixed jackdaw, hoodie foraging.

various sizes bee-eater flock, today several dozen together over hillslopes to north east , brief upset as raptor tried for them from below a few times..  falcon, couldn't make out well, in some views resembled sparrowhawk.. the female kestrel in that area?  Not hobby. (25th July)

Some hobby sightings recently still. Blackbirds, jays noted foraging but quiet.

general activity low, even graceful warblers less vocal,  some calls stone curlew late afternoon dusk and after.  greenfinch twitterings down last couple of weeks

Hyrax variety calls chitters around sunset. 

bulbuls quite vocal edge neighbourhood. Have heard ring necked parakeets about the gardens lately. Occasional sunbird calls but not as much as were earlier in the season.  HOuse sparrows as usual, feral pigeons and laughing dove activity. 

Main flowers out: thin safflower, carline thistle, some capers.

13 August Route 90 

Just north of Mifgash HaBikah  SCORES of white storks flying about over Tirzah reservoir.. couldn't count exact number and not time to go over there regrettably..

At Sdei Trumot spur winged plovers about, one in parking lot, very vocal.  pied kingfishers  over water. no herons or egrets seen.  

End August New thistle seen and photographed by north watercourse, don't recall seeing it before.  IDd  by Sarah Gold's site as Cirsium phylocephalum.  
Height . tall ones on one side just over 5 feet, those on watercourse side much shorter, not more than two feet

Thursday, July 25, 2013

June 2nd Half

20  June 
Gazelles: female with right horn only seen with two kids in small olive grove.. a week or two ago we'd seen her on hill slopes to north east near fence, also with two kids.  She browsed from olive tree (fruits? young leaves?)  standing on hind legs to do so

.. another female with a young one also under olives, the young one went to join the (assumed) twins.  Yet another female and young noticed in field between olive grove and windsurfer hill and yet another with female and subadult noticed in shepherd's trail area making 5 young of this year.

Record number of 11 hoopoes counted by Akiva in ''hoopoe stretch'' .. north watercourse dirt road between shaft and where it joins central trail near look out corner.  In the last week we can usually see several to half a dozen in that area dustbathing on road, poking for invertebrates by side of road or in bald patch of new wood where trees taken down a couple of years back, also in rock flats by southern turn of road .

Today (20th) interestingly we noted a pair of blackbirds which had been foraging on ground under pines south of road shortly before southward turn of road , each chasing away hoopoes which tried to alight and poke ground in that area.. Competition there.

Juvenile wheatears.. up to half a dozen individuals about (thursday) . didn't see the male but have seen typical local race of black eared wheatear male not far from there, on sapling poles closer to watercourse.

some flight calls of collared doves still heard, one male displaying to female in cistern pine. usual coos.  Turtle dove coos but not every day, they seem to prefer sunny conditions and stop sooner before dusk than the collareds. 

Syrian woodpeckers active and vocal , seen perching on lines briefly a couple of times when much drama seemed to be happening in trees it was flying in and out of .. speaking of drama.. couple of days ago pair of hobbies repeatedly dive bombing a tall cypress on ridge between north watercourse and hidden watercourse. Pair took it in turns to climb and dive at tree..owl in there? couldn't see.

Jays active and vocal, great tits about, calls, juveniles well feathered now, occasional calls of ring neck parakeet.. not every day, but particularly by eucs by east watercourse, Whole covey of chukars 9,10 plus, noticed on rocks to left of central trail (as it emerges into open leading to watercourse crossing and look out corner area)

Bugs on capers seen middle of month. Stenozygum coloratum. 

Lots of hyrax activity, vocalization, numbers of young seen, female nursing young on rock couple of days ago, at least three in that litter. 

June 21st  Bulbul first heard 5.05 am.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 1st Half

Eumenes wasp on Eryngium 2nd week of June, near pumping station. 

Temps variable, mild, some days up to about 24,25 degrees C, a few up to early 30s , a very few into mid and upper 30s 

by 17th June Thin safflower already seen in bloom and caper bugs infesting some of the caper plants.

collared doves still cooing, displaying at females. Turtle doves cooing particularly on more sunny days.

Black eared wheatears seen.. male at and around bunker rubble by look-out corner,  another not far from shaft near north watercourse in the open.  Heard but not seen in east field. first year male seen on rocks by north watercourse dirt road

Mourning or Hooded, prob latter seen briefly by north watercourse, acacia area.. too briefly to be 100% sure and didn't reappear. 

Hyrax.. plenty activity along valley road including by path down by shul from across road to valley road.. young seen.

Gazelle.. at least two, prob three or four young seen between east watercourse and small olive grove , at least one in company of female with the one right horn.

Bee-eaters regular over Pistacia orchard and gazelle field lately.. up to 40 or so birds but usually half or less than that seen.

Greenfinches active, vocal, singing various parts of east watercourse woods and esp around look out corner.  Also seen coming down to feed on thistles in look out corner area.
Jays, jackdaws, hooded crows. graceful warblers
stone curlews more vocal middle June. Calls of  great tits, blackbird (some song) ,
Kestrel heard from trees up from bat cave but no hobby sightings lately.. call and sight of bird more like sparrowhawk. Near pumping station remains of dark winged medium size passerine could have been killed by hobby or sparrowhawk.

11 June trip north

Maaleh Adumim.. dozens of Tristram's grackles in large Tipuana near bird andarta. Also by there on grass two Indian mynahs. 

At Sdei Trumot pool: little egret hunting not far from outflow,  spur winged plovers about, pied kingfishers on large pipe over pool.

Malkishua.. warblers spotted.. had heard Sylvia type warblers in bushes all about for some time but not got glimpse.. harsh calls almost like masked shrikes.. then saw bird near ground.. photo. Amir Balaban said looked like young Sardinian warbler

May 2nd half

28th May 

Sdei Trumot: no kingfishers at all today.. quite a few spur winged plover.. about the water and flying about, calling.  Little egret hunting by outflow where I have seen it on a number of previous visits.. could be same individual or just a good place for little egrets.  Max water agitation at that point.

turtle dove calls.. bulbuls, sunbirds in gardens as well as syrian woodpeckers, ,  a number cattle egrets spotted by rift valley road.

Beit Shean road Akiva spotted a number of Francolins on and by road, several individuals along a relatively short stretch.

Along a longer stretch between Argaman and Beit Shean grassy undulating hills charred on west side of road for several miles.. only extending to east side of road in a couple of limited strips.

blooming by roadside on way out of Jerusalem lots of Tree tobacco.. also seen three weeks ago.  Lots of globe thistle blooming coming into Gilboa, still some of the pink convolvulus cushions and the last of the hollyhocks.
Gulmohar blooming as well as Jacaranda and a yellow/orange flowered leguminous tree whose name I forget but will insert here when I remember.

spider down tunnel at Malkishua in Gilboa

Spur winged plover flying over car park towards pool Sdei Trumot.. Above, a spider in its tunnel spotted by Moshe.

Lately in the valley.. three sets of mother and kid gazelle, perhaps more, spotted by east watercourse/pistacia grove, east field to small olive orchard.  On hill ridge to our north east we noticed a mother with TWO kids.. can't be sure if twins or if one fostered.  Bucks, bachelor herd still commonly found in north watercourse area eucalyptus grove near where it comes out into the open.. up to 20 ..

Lately.. chukars heard, sometimes seen.. bee-eaters commonly heard, flock of anything up to 30 or so birds, male pale race black eared wheatear on bunker rebars, hurray!

29th May

For the first time saw Indian (common) Mynah on our patch! .. just one individual and quite confiding, foraging on the ground by north watercourse dirt road.. let me come within thirty feet. Feral populations of this escape have been spreading across the country in recent years, first noticed in Jerusalem about a year ago.

would have been great photo op if I had not (again!) left the recording chip in the pc! oops! Hopefully we'll get another chance if they let us get this close.. I approached , got to about 20 feet when it headed off low glide towards coral gums by the watercourse, calling low  melodious ''grurrp'' , spooked a jay from near where it landed , saw it last perched on top of a sapling tube.

Apart from the mynah: syrian woodpeckers, graceful warblers both active and vocal, blackbird in song.  Several gazelle about.. lately, in last couple of weeks have seen a number of male gazelle sitting on ground resting.  Also I notice when they move they invariably wag the tail briskly from side to side when they stop moving, as if to signal ''I'm over here now'' , and stare back at us.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 1st Half

 1st May

about 5.30 p.m. heading down valley road.. we noticed a strange bird flying into 'linnet tree' ( Ailanthus outside SE property on Shadiker) .. then flew down to pines.. soon found after scanning pines.. about quarter way down.. adult male GOLDEN ORIOLE  beautiful breeding condition, obligingly sat there for a few mins allowing photos though somewhat distant, bird identifiable in zoom (Avi estimated about 300 pixels worth)   There he is! Better through binos, could see dark about the eye quite clearly.

5th May

saw Turkish meadow brown (Maniola telmessia) the other day, I think still also lots of marbled whites and smaller Pierid whites, didn't get closer look at them
... today.. nice walk near north watercourse.. quite a few buck gazelle plus a hoopoe foraging on the ground by some young eucs, red back shrike in the young pines, chukar partridge on boulder out in the open, Prinias calling alarm at a hooded crow probably after its fledgelings on the bank near ramp up to neighbourhood, call of European cuckoo near look out corner/by central trail, young great spotted cuckoo flying between pine tops near valley road, cooing collared and turtle doves, swifts, over high rise flats where they prob also added their dwellings on upper outer walls, twittering greenfinches in the larger eucs that seemed to be joining in with music from a car radio and some picnickers, Syrian woodpecker calls, jays , blackbird song.. the forest was pretty much hopping! 

7th May

north watercourse : vegetation particularly wild carrot, Asteriscus with hoverflies, dried oats, some red everlasting opening petals, Syrian thistle fading, Verbascum beginning to bloom in some places, cat thyme germander blooming as were capers. 

hobby heard in woods,  kestrel also higher, chukars heard. 

8th May

Sdei Trumot.. 1 little egret,  several largish plain grey terrapins pulled out on the banks in the sun (mid 30s degrees C) , several spur winged plovers on opposite bank, collared doves around.. several pied kingfishers about, hover and diving watched.  Nest activity not noticed in the few mins I was there.. 1 hoopoe flew over.. around were also graceful warblers. Hirundines noticed by Argaman.

now by roadside in Beit Shean and lower Gilboa.. globe thistle blooming (on my patch just small budding heads)  still hollyhocks, giant fennel gone to seed and wilting, 

At Argaman photographed male sparrow which looked different from house sparrows in Jerusalem.. on viewing pics resembled ''Italian sparrow''  which is hybrid of Spanish and House sparrows. 

temps up and down, 30s one day, cool, rainy, even stormy the next, oscillating, unstable. 

16 th May

10 buck gazelle by north watercourse, some sparring behaviour, plus a few more in other places including three sets of mother plus kid born this spring, hurray! Some nursing observed near east watercourse and kid literally bouncing after the mom to keep up.. too cute!

plus: pair of great spotted cuckoos, cooing collared and turtle doves, pair of hobbies, call of Tristram's starling up the hill to the west, various fledgelings, singing greenfinches, calls of Prinias, syrian woodpeckers, Eurasian jays, great tits & warring jackdaws and hoodies over the pumping station, and bee-eaters down near the cistern. Pomegranates and broom in bloom.

locust in the willow tree,  another one appeared a day later.. both Anacridium aegyptium, second had yellow stripe on top, first did not and was slightly larger.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

2nd half April

 Below: Bi-coloured centaury (Volutaria crupinoides) photographed at Argaman:

above: swallowtail on Bauhinia  (Malkishua gardens, Gilboa)  Below: olive tree flowers

Roadside Beit Shean: above , Painted lady, below, convolvulus which forms loose large cushions.. a number of these noticed by the wayside..

Group of white storks soaring on thermals on road between Jerusalem and sea level marker on road to Jericho.. 13 in frame, 3 of those relatively quite a bit higher.. there may have been a couple more outside the frame. Below: Limonium photographed at Argaman

Pics above from trip to Gilboa 24th April

Wed 17 April

most signif.. while walking east along north watercourse dirt road noticed roller flying across to bat cave trees.. A little later we walked up hill to north west and over to olive grove, sage vale.  Amongst olives noticed in all 5 European rollers, two pairs staying fairly close to each other.. flying to and fro amongst olives and to hill ridge behind us.. could have included the one I saw earlier, impossible to know for sure.. if not, then six individuals all. I suspect family group from last year as from colouring not all individuals fully mature.

More than 18 gazelle in north watercourse, all males of various ages but with clear male horns.. headed up hill as we and some kids approached.  Later saw  another group of 9 females and well grown young further over to east on open hill.

Bee-eaters on line over hillside.. a dozen or so.. had seen in last couple of days flocks of 15 or so over Pistacias and fields. Pair of kestrels seen and heard up from bat cave almost every day .. where nesting? Using a cypress or one of the towers?

In woods Eurasian jay, great tits, blackbirds, Eurasian jays vocal and active.

Sunday 21st April

Has been raining quite a bit in last few days.. walk out today just after 5 p.m. quite sunny and much bird activity, temp around 12 degrees C. 

Wild carrot flowering now.. the root is hard and pale.. not very edible, would take a fair bit of boiling! More chicory flowering in woods than ever saw before. 

Sunny and lots of bird activity after the rain.. great tits feeding young in acacias by north watercourse.. saw adults foraging and heard calls of young birds in acacia, also some song.  several masked shrikes about, v attractive little birds.. bachelor herd gazelles grazing by north watercourse again.. group of about half a dozen rollers, probably same ones we saw a few days ago, looking for food over north watercourse and hill side up from bat cave, flying about in their beautiful turquoise plumage like massive butterflies, swifts quite high over north watercourse, a Buteo coming down to cypresses by east field annoying hoodies, hoodies, jackdaws, chukars centre of east woods, jays, Syrian woodpeckers all vocal and active. Blackbird song and bulbuls.. hopping! Also greenfinches calling in young pines, collared doves in woods, on lines and in trees but no coos today.  Call of young great spotted cuckoo in east woods as seen from valley road.. attending hoodies seen. 

Sdei Trumot 24th April

Just a few pied kingfishers.. activity not noticed at the nest but I only had a few mins. Several collared doves noticed near shore.  Spur winged plovers heard but not seen. 

A score of white storks noticed over road towards Jericho just out of Jerusalem to north, flying on thermals. 

Several cattle egrets noticed in rift valley north of Jericho. 

Last day of April towards sunset, scores of Buteos, most with terminal tail bars.. at least one if not more without terminal tail bar, brownrufous body I assume long legged buzzard.. all slowly drifting north, flying, criss crossing at various heights.  

Grey grey shrike on top of high pylon arrangement red/white for signals..

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 1st Half

above.. found 3rd April near north watercourse.. some kind of Orthopteran.. yet to be IDd I haven't seen this species before 

Mason bee, Osmia? found in kitchen

Monday 1st April

Shield and star clover showing seed heads now, Gundelia and Syrian thistle coming into bloom, many milk thistles already in bloom as well as much mustard.

Bee-eaters:  heard flying high.. was poor visibility for much of the afternoon after hot chamsin morning. Also heard first time season on 31st March. Also last couple of days , peaks over 30 degrees C.  A turtle dove noticed on line near look-out corner , flew as we got too close but no cooing heard today.  As we came up from valley heard shrill calls, I think hobbies already back.  No luck spotting stork but probably because we are out too late in the afternoon when they are already settling down to roost.

gazelle: about eight up on ridge to north up beyond hidden watercourse, several others about on south facing slopes to north east.  Hyrax activity by valley road.

Wednesday 3rd April

Nice views of hobby flying about over north and east watercourses, hunting,  bee-eater calls regular now.. great tit song.. usual foursome in the garden.. now Bauhinia is blooming sunbird is regular visitor to the blooms.  Jackdaws, swifts heard just after sunset, larks up on hill north east of watercourse, crested?

Sunday 8th April

About 50 bee-eaters on lines over hillslopes to north east.. several gazelle grazing below.  One Turban buttercup found in north watercourse.

Wednesday 11th April

Sdei Trumot pool

Active pied kingfisher nest!  Left most opposite bank.. bird entered, exited with white thing in mouth.. dropping?  eggshell? went in again.. another in attendance not far off outside.. several more squatting further down on the bank.. appearance of at least two other holes to the right of that one but not in such good repair, may have partially collapsed, at least the whole not so well defined.  Further to right watched another P. K. hover high, attempt dive, change mind last moment close to water, swerve up again , then sploosh! in.. then settled on rock by water but hard to see if it had anything.

Several collared doves came down to water,  one little egret left as soon as arrived, no sign of herons, great whites or cormorants though searched but did eventually find just one spur winged plover.

Saturday 13th April

pleasant walk earlier by north watercourse.. upwards of 19 bachelor gazelle grazing and 3 sets of practice sparring on the other side of the watercourse. Some blackbird song, lots of Jay activity, some turtle dove coos, calls of bee-eaters and, on our way back, calls of stone curlew from over in east field.

Sunday 14th April

Pterophorus found near bat cave on Sunday, on shrubby restharrow
Again, upwards of 18 gazelle by north watercourse, some practice sparring..  some blackbird song, Prinias active and vocal, kestrels heard calling shrill bell call from up from bat cave, cypresses,  hyraxes barks down from shadiker about sunset. 
Lots of Syrian thistle, fleabane, some yellow Achillea,  
Insect life included bush crickets, hoverflies, Pterophorus moth, honeybees about neighbourhood. Mason bee in house a week or so ago.. Osmia, blue eyed job. A few days ago striped hawk moth on curtains french windows,  Hyles livornica.  

15 April
as yesterday just under 18.5 degrees C at about 6.30 p.m. . again, 18+ male gazelle of varying ages by north watercourse, some practice sparring, kestrel up the hill amongst the cypresses, call heard, one perched on line over hillside, lots of jays active by north watercourse dirt road, cooing collared and turtle doves in pines, greenfinches heard there too,  scampering hyrax on valley road on our way back, flock of 15 or so bee-eaters hawking and calling over us, hoodies, blackbird, 

lots of the dark beetles with small white spots on syrian thistles and similar plants. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

March 2nd Half

18th March

Acanthus coming up , starting to bloom by north watercourse.  Our Bauhinia is also starting to bloom, some flowers, many buds and sunbirds and bulbuls active from before dawn.. the bulbuls now start at about 5.20/5.25 am a.m. though one morning from 5 am.  Sparrows sometimes start chirping from 4.30 am.. probably a nest nearby.

Blackbird song regular around sunset, great tits also vocal , active, singing esp when sunny, collared doves have started to coo in the valley.  Great spotted cuckoos heard regularly.. that pair of kestrels still active just up from bat cave, east end of woods by north watercourse and hillside.. using electric wires and pylons between hovers.  Hoodies busy with nesting, jackdaw activity around.

Akiva saw group of some five hoopoes by ramp (back of neighbourhood to valley road by an acacia), no more swifts over neighbourhood since first heard them from east field a week and a half ago:(  Some Syrian woodpecker and jay calls, some greenfinch chaws, some chukar calls and activity, stone curlews fairly active in evenings.

Weather has been very changeable lately.. going down into mid, upper 50s then jumping up into upper 60s, lower 70s F.

That odd bee orchid which has some features of O. flavomarginata , seen blooming again just up from picnic area on valley road bend.. just one stalk again.  Lots of O. carmeli and pink butterfly orchid by north watercourse as usual,  O. lutea elsewhere under pines many places.

Eastern knapweed fritillary confirmed !  perched by north watercourse, didn't want to fly, just raised forewings to this position when front touched. Before that they were up half that from hindwings.

27th March
today a few fishermen gathered around my favourite pool at Sdei Trumot had spooked herons and plovers but there were a number of pied kingfishers hunting there, either perched on the far bank near the pipe over the water or flying low over the water. I think I heard a spur wing once but didn't find one. There were also five black storks circling about low over the valley approaching Beit Shean area from the south and a number of cattle egrets in flight at various places along the route.. Akiva spotted some quail (by his description.. he also noted dark wing tips) flying about by the road. We also spotted various roadside raptors, a pair of Tristram's starling near Jericho, lots of collared doves, crested larks, bulbuls, Prinias and some hirundines. Also yesterday afternoon walk in north valley watched a nightjar hunting back and forth over the road between the pines at dusk, always neat to see. I can hear a yellow vented bulbul now in the gardens, its late afternoon melodious calls.

Friday, March 15, 2013

March 1st Half

 3rd March   

Below- 2 legumes found between edge of neighbourhood and valley road. First near Medicago seedpod in spare patch of land between two buildings, in little raised island of veg.  Also lots of hop clover nearby.  Other clovers also blooming now including white clover.

flower above only found, so far, in this one place, by ramp on way down to valley road near lots of birds foot trefoil and blue pimpernel.

Also lots of blooms of pink butterfly orchid under pines and also quite a bit of Ophrys lutea but no other orchids.  Asphodel , many of them producing healthy berry like fruit despite presence of Mirid bugs on almost every other one.

great tit calls and song, blackbird calls and song.  Foraging hoodies and now plainly territorial in tree tops.. great spotted cuckoos noticed since middle of last week, calling, flying about lower part of pines and across north watercourse, but not today.  Chukars also on lower hillsides, kestrels heard up from bat cave, usual area we have seen them. Stonechat male in lower east field still no swifts seen but may have heard scream of one midday/early afternoon today.
greenfinches starting to be vocally active lower pines, chaw calls heard today.  chaffinches still about a few days back, a whole little group in bare tree in euc grove near cistern and collared dove on line in area.. still not cooing though did hear coos Gilboa area last week already. call of corn bunting in east field a few days back

Bulbuls, sunbirds, laughing doves, house sparrows active and vocal in garden/adjoining gardens.

SWIFTS finally heard 9th March just after sunset over east valley,high, didn't see them, just heard them.  May have heard them a few days earlier over street briefly from my room but could'nt be completely sure do to lots of other street noise 

10th March.. noticed first Campanula on hillside , south facing.  C. hierosolymitana prob.
also more calls of great spotted cuckoo into dusk from east woods.

13 March

Sdei Trumot

I was pointed at a little egret that had just landed on that outer branch of the eucalyptus .has its crest plumes now.. sad the pic doesn't show it off well enough, need a more powerful lens for that.. only when zooming/reframing the pic at home did I notice I had also photographed a grey heron on the left.. hahaha!

also around the pool: several spur winged plovers, group of five pied kingfishers sitting on the dirt 'shore' other side of pool, one great white egret stalking along the edge of the pool, a grey heron standing on a little island, two black kites flying low.. a black stork up high and some kind of eagle soaring way higher.. two cormorants in the eucalyptus fluttering their gular pouches in the heat (just over 30 degrees C) least two little egrets

bulbuls, house sparrows, sunbirds, a blackcap? in something like a bay laurel.  

 Swifts  over town on way back.  Lots of Judas tree, Cercis siliquastrum in bloom.

Thursday 14 March 

Blackbird in song in forest towards dusk.  Calls of great spotted cuckoo, one sighted flying from rubble pines across forepart of gazelle field to pine grove,  Jay briefly spotted. Hoodies calls.  Collared doves



Sunday, March 3, 2013

Second Half February

16th Feb

Flowers seen in bloom in valley for first time today: the small purple vetch (Vicia palaestina), the pale off-white vetch, the six flowered clover/pea family plant , a small headed short member of Apiaceae.

kestrels heard, hyraxes active, a couple of gazelle east field, blackbird song, laughing doves coo, great tits and sunbirds vocal and active

brief attack of some raptor of a hoopoe between cistern tree and pine grove, didn't get any details of raptor as hoopoe drew our eyes but likely was one of the sparrowhawks.

20th Feb 

 Above: first orchid of season.. on north facing slope by Shadiker.

above, a legume blooming by east watercourse dirt road

 legume blooming by central trail.

flowers noticed blooming for the first time this season today,  two Ophrys orchids: green orchid, Ophrys lutea, on long trail down from end of Shadiker to north watercourse and Carmel - in flat area near north watercourse and, also in that area, grape hyacinth.. earliest I've seen one.

Also sparrowhawks, call of a kingfisher, staccato call, prob a white breasted but couldn't be sure, didn't get a look but Akiva confirmed it was one he heard near edge of neighbourhood a few days ago. great tit song, Prinias, calls of Tristram's starlings, blackbird, hoodies, jackdaws, Eurasian jay, chaffinches.

21st Feb

several gazelle about.. couple of instances of male following female.. head stretched forward, following, first female would trot away, just wanted to graze, male continued. Second instance, north slopes windsurfer hill male running at speed after the female.

chaffinches heard in pines quite regularly last few days, stone curlews pretty regularly heard in the evenings now,  laughing doves cooing in garden, jackdaw calls, jays foraging in low part of east field, hoodies there too, apparently took large morsel, large millipede? or perhaps a mole cricket , was hard to tell. saw jay with it on pine branch, usual technique, used foot. Blackbirds also heard regularly around sunset, various calls, song some days in last week, Prinia, 

23rd Feb

starling flock towards sunset , couple of hundred birds..  white wagtails using trees on Elias. 

24th Feb

morning not long after dawn:  chiffchaff singing, nearby garden.  laughing dove coos, sunbird activity, bulbul calls, jackdaw calls.

26th Feb

 chamomile daisies out now by valley road,  first campanula out in forest, more Ophrys lutea about, pair of great spotted cuckoos  heard and then seen in the lowest little pine wood by gazelle field. blackbird song, great tits, chukar partridges out in the field.

27th Feb

Sdei Trumot:  Several spur winged plovers on the opposite side of the pool,  at least two pied kingfishers about flying low, perching in tree, hovering high, vocalizing.  A white breasted kingfisher spotted perched on a wire beyond other side.. away from the water.  Several swallows hawking over the service station. little egret edge of water other side.  Hoopoe calling repeatedly in trees on service station side.    graceful warblers about, calling, great tit song and calls. Collared dove coos.
Sunbird calling repeatedly around dawn in garden.
Nadal arsi seen at Malkishua in lobby of building.

28th Feb

The mini irises first seen blooming in east field, lower north windsurfer hill 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February First Half

7th Feb

Seen flowering for the first time this season- between north watercourse and hidden watercourse: Aethionema carneum - (pink) stonecress, Ciliate vetchling (Lathyrus blepharicarpus),op clover (Trifolium campestre) as well as a small pink/white, slightly spiny/hairy clover and a yellow clover with single flowers plus lots of vegetation of white clover and others up in many places. 

more vocal stone curlew in evenings lately.. in woods, calls of chaffinch, chiffchaff, great tits calls, some song on sunny days lately, some Syrian woodpecker calls,  lots of hoodie calls.. seems they're picking out nesting spots later, Akiva noticed one carrying nesting material a few days ago. I also suspect collared doves also doing same top of cypresses (near bat cave).  Call of great spotted cuckoo also heard? 

Vocalisations of bulbuls in garden, some sunbird but not so much, laughing dove coos. ring neck parakeets sporadic,  jackdaws randomly vocal but seems flock on move, sometimes about, sometimes foraging elsewhere but hoodies regularly seen and heard. 

Small finches heard, linnets, greenfinches, possibly goldfinches in tree canopies, pretty much random sightings and hearings.  A few white wagtails roosting in the densely foliaged trees lower Elias. 

gazelle: 24 in region of north watercourse a couple of days ago.. first mixed , then bucks headed up hill towards hidden watercourse, females and well grown young headed out into field to east of bat cave.. 14 of them were adult bucks,  last one of those seen separate, coming out of young pines by service road. 

hyrax active by valley road, no young seen lately, generally out when it's dry, in when damp unless it's a gap between rains in which case they will come out to forage. 

10 Feb 

yesterday Malcolmia found in field near cistern on small island of green and flowers though about it much of the ground seemed pretty dead.. as if flood waters washed over it had killed it.. also some stretches by east watercourse similarly affected though not obviously by flood water.. I do wonder, though, if some treatment chemicals from the pumping station or from the road above or somewhere might be toxic to the local vegetation.  Effect on field by rubble and cistern marked.

greenfinches.. some twittering and chawing calls in pines near field across from cistern, almond trees flowering , the large one and a smaller one that we had not noticed flowerng before between the large one and look-out corner.  

Today.. on line over north field near north watercourse in open repeated high pitched trilling call like corn bunting recording, and noticed above on line 13 individuals, silhoutte but clearly conical bills, shallow forked tail.  Kestrel calls up slope up from bat cave, then one flew down towards pines near owl glade.. also saw a sparrowhawk fly that way.. soon after strident repeated calls of sparrowhawk.

blackbird calls in woods near east watercourse.  Prinia calls from various places.  repeated tic tic calls near east watercourse, sounded like angry European robin. Garden: laughing dove coos. Bulbul calls. 
Stone curlew fairly regular calls evening. 

13 Feb

Return to Sdei Truma: the little pool was less populated today.. the great white egrets and bulk of the cormorants were gone but there was one lone great cormorant standing on the pipe in the middle, a couple of little egrets at the edge, a grey heron, pied kingfisher also on that pipe and, to my delight, the much smaller blue and orange European kingfisher was flitting between perches across the pool. A number of spur winged plovers along far bank, at least three pairs. In the eucs by the pool, chaffinches, a chiffchaff in full song, great tits, Eurasian jays and other unidentified passerines. A pair of kestrels vied for possession of some dainty clutched in talons on a tower across the pool. New pics today, must process.  

one lone immature large size gull swimming by itself on the pool, all over mottled grey and dark bill, a number of cattle egrets along the Jordan valley, one hunting by a donkey. saw some gamebird crossing the road.. I think female black francolin ,Akiva as he had a longer view of it and agrees best guess so far, strong dark striations on the body. No hirundines at all noticed today but a number of doves and Akiva spotted a starling type flock. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jan 2nd half

16th Jan Wed.

Return to Sde Trumot in the Beit Shean area..pool by cafecafe off route 90.. as two weeks ago..  looking out for birds round the pool centre left : by the waterside (and in the trees) lots of great white egrets, a good number of great cormorants, several little egrets, a pair of spur winged plovers, one of them bobbing and calling insistently by the waterside, a black kite over, a pair of black storks soaring quite high over, a grey heron stalking edge of water near me and a pied kingfisher making fast transits quite low over water and stopping to hover briefly tens of metres over the water several times, quite neat to watch.

We should go further along that road to fish pools for more stuff next time  

Also Prinias, and a fair number of hirundines noticed by road, not sure what.. house martins? Didn't get a good view from moving vehicle but seems they're overwintering in the valley. 

a kestrel, Buteos aloft, lots of laughing and collared doves and feral pigeons, brief view of a lapwing wheeling over field near road, flocks of cattle egrets, hoodies, jackdaws, bulbuls, and a European robin in song in the Gilboa
17th Jan  Thurs 

caterpillar photographed east field, north windsurfer lower slopes, just up from shepherd's trail. (leading down to east watercourse dirt road)  

also blackbird in song dusk approaching, white wagtails heard over street morning, chiffchaffs calls from pines as well as , great tits, greenfinches.  hoodies, jackdaws calls from hill and neighbourhood, Eurasian jay seen by Akiva upper neighbourhood, hyraxes scampering over valley road, gazelle hoofprints.. cooing feral pigeons, house sparrows garden but didn't hear sunbird today.

Fri 18th Jan

lovely walk.. wandered the natural rock gardens of the valley's slopes under the pines.. exploring parts of north facing slopes 'upstream' of the trails frome bottom of neighbourhood down to dirt road,  finally found one blooming cyclamen on south facing slopes, lots of cyclamen foliage on both sides , lots of blooming gagea (Star of Bethlehem, the six petalled yellow flower) on both sides, lots of field calendula esp in open on south facing slope, small orange gems of at least two varieties those with dark centre and those with centre orange as petals, several mandrakes one in perfect floweron north facing slopes.. wish I'd taken camera as they were in nice condition. 

as I searched hoodies criss- crossed over me curiously,, great tits sang and called in the pines, Prinias called further off in the scrub, chaffinches chimed and other finches about twittering.. linnets? perhaps some goldfinches but didn't see, chukar calls from amongst rocks across valley, surprised some when I went over there..  bulbul calls. Jays glimpsed, but quiet, distant stone curlew brief call, 
in garden: house sparrows, sunbird squeaking in cape honeysuckle, jackdaws heard.

Didn't see any gazelle in bat cave or lower north slopes area but did find spoor on hillside.  Hyraxes at cypress slum colony seen and heard.  Lots of recent mole rat activity, some mounds with holes noticed over last week or so.  A couple of clouded whites noticed flying lazy and low.  Pierid whites also noticed in last week. Orange nymphalid type noticed about gardens on way back but eluded better observation, how teasing! 

Shabbos 19th Jan 

Fumitory (dense flowered?) noticed by our street for the first time this season, hyraxes active and scampering about valley road late afternoon, gazelle not spotted but lots of hoofprints about, jackdaws and hoodies active as usual, chiffchaffs piping in the pines, blackbird song towards dusk, white wagtails heard, sky totally clear, half moon overhead.  ring neck parakeet calls about street and seen flying over edge. 

Monday 13th Jan

Jackdaws heard numerous times,  ring neck parakeets heard over gardens earlier,  about 10 gazelle in north field, females, well grown young. 

Stand of this Arisarum vulgare on upper hill slopes south side of north watercourse. Also up there found several mandrakes though not in flower, did find some Syrian bryony and a small patch of pretty Maresia, Maresia pulchella, first I've noted this season.

Tuesday 22nd Jan

Catchfly seen blooming for the first time by the street,  pink tinged.  Also IDd , thanks to Sarah Gold's site.. Annual Mercury growing by east watercourse dirt road, on hill side.  

Blackbird song, black redstart on bunker rubble (two two days ago, one there and one on dry stone wall lower east field) , kestrel pair and one call up from bat cave, chaffinch calls.. no hyraxes or gazelle seen. 

Wednesday 23rd Jan

Male gazelle noticed following female up from east watercourse dirt road,  hyrax activity by valley road,  Prinia calls, possible robin, chaffinch calls, jackdaw calls About buildings,  house sparrows, ring neck parakeets,

Above.. found on spare patch of land between buildings, lower edge of neighbourhood.. matches best Euphorbia peplus though very small specimen.   Also, male and female noticed on some of the thorny burnet bushes. Thursday 24th noticed Henbit deadnettle blooming for first time. Photographed another of these growing right outside the house with the characteristic seed pods on Friday.25th Jan. then also noticed first Red Anemone of the season in woods not far down from valley road near hyrax colonies.  Below, hyrax skull found on slopes up from east watercourse dirt road, near shepherd's trail.

Saturday 26th Jan

 Mignonette noticed blooming for the first time this season by valley road.  White broom also starting to bloom down hill slope. Second anemone noticed , up slope from east watercourse.  
 Also heard Great tit and Blackbird song, coos of laughing doves calls of Syrian woodpecker, Prinias, male gazelle following a female, calls of stone curlews after dark, forgot to mention found a hyrax skull on hillslopes up from east watercourse friday afternoon, (right across the valley from the colonies) still need to post some photos of it. 

Sunday 27th Jan..  stonechat calling lower east field.  

mystery bird: didn't get any sighting but it seemed to be calling from dense scrub between a small olive grove and open hillside with thorny burnet or from one of the olive trees, started with a short sharp series of sharp tut tut calls immediately becoming a shrill, high extended cheeeee sound repeated several times with perhaps 10 silence between. a number of youtube recordings led to safe ID.. corn bunting! first on patch.  There was also a small flock of bunting size birds flying about . 

Monday 28th Jan

alto cumulus, at least 6 gazelle in north fields, two in gazelle.. that male is following that female 24/7.. if they were human she'd have taken out a restraining order by now.. sparrowhawks, chaffinches, blackbird song, great tits, flock of starlings, first I've seen in ages over the patch, smallish one, quite tight packed, 100+ indivs..  black redstart on bunker rubble

Tuesday 29th Jan

First Roman squill Bellevalia flexuosa noticed in the woods.

Wednesday 30th Jan

another trip up north.  Pool by Sde Truma cafe cafe..  great cormorants in trees.. little egrets by poolside and in trees.  Two spur winged plovers close to where they were last time, north west of pool but further away, calls of pied kingfisher, calls of ring neck parakeets in eucalyptus but not seen.. finches, couldn't tell which. Most significant.. some swallows flying low over water good views.. have been seeing hirundines on and off in Beat Shean area all winter.

Malkishua.. robins heard song, sunbird, greenfinch calls.   

Egyptian campion blooming.  Some Nonea as well as all the savyon, 

Thursday 31st Jan

Rain on and off, temps falling below 7 degrees C.   Syrian woodpeckers heard, great tits about calling,.  Several hyraxes out to munch between rainfalls. small flocks of  finches but not seen well. A few Hoodies about.  gazelle spotted across east valley.