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. 

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