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.