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.

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