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..