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. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January 2013

 1st Jan

first asphodel bloom of the season noticed today!  Just up from hoopoe corner, towards owl glade. Only one, rest only foliage but LOADS of that in the natural extensive rock garden under the pines, as well as foliage of golden drop and some wild geranium. shrubby restharrow still blooming by the wayside

 Looked across north watercourse, a handsome buck mountain gazelle nestling on the ground gazing right back.., 

Chaffinches and chiffchaffs calling in the canopies, couple of flocks of linnets about, twittering away, about twenty in the Ailanthus, another 40 or so flying about over end of Shadiker.  Great tit and graceful warbler calls,  bulbul calls, hoodies about and loose flock returning from forage, 

gardens: at least three sunbirds sipping nectar in cape honeysuckle when I left the house shortly after 4 p.m. house sparrows, feral pigeons roosting in cover, balcony eaves, laughing doves about ornamental trees in street,  white wagtail call? 
ring neck parakeet squawks heard not long after sun up, visiting the gardens.

 2nd January

savyon avivi.. spring groundsel.. Senecio vernalis lots seen today in Gilboa area, stars in the grass.. also lots of Roman storksbill and more asphodel. 

Birds: on water by Beit Shean.. my attention was caught by presence of many egrets in trees just outside Beit Shemesh,  stopped by roadside cafe and walked up to trees. took pics of the cormorants till they decided to fly up and settle on the farther pool. a close packed raft of over 100 great cormorants, scores of great white egret by water and in surrounding trees, couldn't really count because I didn't have visibility of all of them, several lesser egret by edge of water, pied kingfisher calling and flying low over water and nice view of black kite also hunting over the water when I got there but left soon after. Kestrel noticed over road on way back.. birds on lines by road, could be starlings but hard to tell at our speed. also doves near date plantations, probably collared but couldn't stop to confirm.

5th Jan

yesterday, 4th, great tit heard singing in or near our garden,  sunbirds have been active and vocal lately,  some song heard,  today morning, ring neck parakeets, cooing laughing doves, 

valley.. raining much of day but late afternoon blackbirds heard, no song, calls of flocks of hoodies and jackdaws,  graceful warblers quite vocal, piping of warblers in trees but not glimpsed,  

asphodel noted by valley road, as well as shrubby restharrow, lots of spring savyon by our street.  

6th Jan 

starting to bloom in the valley now.. some kind of Calendula I think. 

Went out an hour or so earlier today.. buck gazelle and two others by shepherd trail coming down off the hill, hyraxes munching away in cypress, cypress slum area up from valley road,  
black redstart at the rubble, stonechat on thorny burnet, jackdaws, hoodies, white wagtails, great tits, Syrian woodpeckers,

gardens: earlier ring neck parakeets, sunbirds active in cape honeysuckle, house sparrows,  also laughing doves by street, feral pigeons about roofs 

Monday 7th Jan

rain pretty steady,  muddy water seen flowing down north watercourse, heard quite clearly in east watercourse.  Cold, below 7 degrees C,  with wind chill just over zero and rain almost frozen. 

white wagtail activity on Elias,  seems they're using the dense trees again for roost.  ring neck parakeets heard, sunbird activity in cape honeysuckle.  By valley road late afternoon some hyrax activity,  taking break in rain to come out of dens and munch.  Blackbirds heard briefly but no song.. not much else and no opportunity today to go to look out corner.  Jackdaws and hooded crows, about it.  More spring savyon blooming, 

ring neck parakeets calling numerous times this week, snow fall wednesday night , patchy snow cover all thurs morning.  Tristram's starlings heard farther up in neighbourhood

Friday 11 Jan

expanse of spring groundsel between valley road and a little plantation of saplings, pretty much as it looks today as if it weren't covered with snow just yesterday morning! Also blooming there now, vivid orange little field calendula and some delicate purple Roman storksbill.

a female or immature stonechat was foraging in the rocks off to the side, small groups of finches about, greenfinch and others, calls of Syrian woodpeckers, Prinia, Eurasian jay and great tit heard in the pines and, up on the hill, jackdaws and hoodies. Lots of hyrax about, scampering over the rocks and the road, out to munch on suitable greenery. Some blooming vipers bugloss and asphodel also noticed.

Saturday 12 Jan

Small flocks of linnets noticed lower edge of neighbourhood,  some blackbird song, great tit calls, Prinia vocalizations, hyraxes active, three gazelle noticed east field and Pistacias.  Lots of ring neck parakeet activity, calls, gardens and also in tall trees near cistern. 

Sunday 13 Jan 

 Bulbuls heard garden. nice walk, couple of gazelle running through Pistacia grove, black redstart bobbing on dry stone wall, hyraxes in their dens, blackbird calls, hoodies and jackdaws active as usual, lots chaffinch calls, didn't see or hear linnets today but did yesterday, about buildings and gardens, sunbirds, bulbuls, house sparrows and laughing doves.. didn't hear ring neck parakeets today but quite a few times yesterday in gardens and down by cistern.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Second half December

17 December

Dead hyrax with blood on ground found on valley road, probably hit by vehicle.  Another hyrax down from road on boulder, quiet.

blackbird calls late afternoon almost every day this week,  song some days.  Jackdaws heard earlier, hoodies heading home.

garden: house sparrows sunbird alarm calls and activity in cape honeysuckle,  bulbul calls some days in last week.  Some laughing dove coos and activity.

thin piping in pine canopies probably chiffchaffs but not confirmed, usually heard when some sun, chaffinch calls yesterday mid pine woods.

gazelle , several in east field in and near small olive grove yesterday, none noticed today.

blooming, lots of white winter crocus, Crocus hymalis, still some of the purple autumn crocus, Colchicum, still Polygonum equisetiforme and Ononis natrax.

19 Dec

Buck gazelle near north watercourse,  kestrel flying over north field, blackbird singing by east watercourse,  Prinia calling near valley road, on way down.  Woods pretty quiet but for various softbills in canopy being elusive.. some medium small passerines flying about,  Akiva caught sight of reddish underparts, he thought blackbird size or a little smaller but poor views or silhouette. About 40s coming back from forage from over hill to north,

22 December

calls of stone curlew just before dawn.. later, hoodies, sparrows, white wagtail, then sunbird in the garden and, as it got lighter, coos of laughing doves and some squawking ring neck parakeets came by. In the woods and fields, Syrian woodpecker calls and activity, blackbird song by east watercourse, graceful warbler trills in the open. Hoodies, jackdaws foraging on the hill

24th December

linnets in 'linnet tree', first positively noticed this season, a quite large Ailanthus end of Shadiker overlooking north watercourse, at least half a dozen, possibly more.  First definite of season seen.. also great tit calls, blackbird by north watercourse in song and calls,  in gardens, much sunbird activity, bulbul calls earlier, Akiva also heard ring neck parakeets  

27th December

lots of chiffchaffs about foraging.. seen in hawthorn by north watercourse and heard all about; sparrowhawk sunset flyover near the shaft, fair size bird, prob female Akiva saw,) , hoodies and jackdaws, small groups of finches but didn't get good view, linnets probably, earlier.. sunbird and laughing dove coos in the garden, house sparrows, feral pigeons about as usual. and loads of white crocuses. Great tits, blackbirds heard calls

29th December 

Sunbird heard singing at lunch time and calling other times of day.. ring neck parakeets came by earlier.. great tit song morning, bulbul calls, on walk several gazelle grazing in east field by small olive grove, graceful warblers vocal and active in several places, stonechat calls near lookout corner, sparrowhawk over east valley, hyrax activity by valley road towards dusk, hoodies as usual, twittering heard north east edge of neighbourhood.. linnet flock somewhere.  Blackbird calls also heard towards dusk. 

31st December 

gazelle: two in Pistacios, one adult male, one apparent sub adult.  East field at least five individuals, females and well grown young.   Continued sunbird activity in cape honeysuckle including some song.  Stone curlews heard before dawn,  blackbird calls.  ring neck parakeet calls.  Usual others... laughing doves, jackdaws, hooded crows.