Thursday, March 6, 2014

February, March 2014

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8th Feb, Shabbat, first Almond blossom seen open!  Valley trees, the smaller one on other side of waterway had much more flowers than the large one.

 Temps getting into early 20s early afternoon and hot enough to cause mild sunburn out all day..

the early small headed purple thistle we see by roadside most years is absent but a bunch seen closer to Pisgat Zeev

increasing amounts of esp asphodel and also gorgeous specimens of red anemone about first seen a week or so ago but now more and more.

12th Feb for first time this season : fumitory (Fumaria densiflora?) by road usual place, a white catchfly same regular area but no sign of any henbit deadnettle usual now.

Thurs 13 Feb  seen for first time .. spare ground by our (edge of neighbourhood ) road this season .. Egyptian alkanet

Gagea commutata.. already everywhere now about a week,  Gagea chlorantha.. small numbers just a few days ago. wild mustard also spotted this week.. White speedwell from beginning of this week,

Chaffinches still about, chukars heard, robins heard.. in Pisgat Zeev a few days back heard song of sounded like blackcap.. also chiffchaff.. some other, could be Sardinian warbler as their calls, as heard in Malkishua , heard in area.. in parks.  Calls, a little song and glimpses of European robin. 

Today (13th) calls great tit.. song several times in last couple of weeks. Sunbird song .. also now this week greenfinches have started to twitter and chaw and collared doves coo.  today by east watercourse ring neck parakeet calls, reached crescendo.. either dramatic territorial encounter or mating ?

 March 1 

Akiva found dead diadem snake by valley road, possibly killed by someone taking it for a viper.
great tit song, chaffinches still about, hoodies, jackdaws, syrian woodpeckers, ring neck parakeets more active and vocal lately, as are stone curlew which we heard at dusk on our trudge back up to the neighbourhood. Sardinian warbler calls heard.

plants: found the odd bee orchid, several of them,  up from the picnic site at the north east bend of valley road.. shrubby rest harrow blooming again and buckler mustard noticed. Lots of spurge cushions nice and yellow, at least four kinds of vetchlings in bloom now, purple, white, yellow and peach (the ciliate), more funitory, ramping? white and purple/crimson.

before today in last week or so: a little more greenfinch and collared dove activity, first orchid of the season noticed about a week ago, carmel orchid down from valley road, also now lots of Roman squill and the pines are starting to flower.

March 3rd.. mad dusty, levels exceeded 650 micrograms per cubic metre.  stone curlew activity heard in evening, 10.30 ish.

March 4th .. C & P bulletin from my Mir Forest facebook page:

 early afternoon and a little cooler than yesterday but MUCH less dusty, just in the 200s now.. had a little walk cross country from the big acacia on valley road down to the north watercourse dirt road and back up, checking stuff along the way and listening. The usual house sparrows, feral pigeons, laughing doves, jackdaws and hoodies in and at the edge of the neighbourhood.. getting into the woods quite a few great tit calls, some song, chaws from greenfinch, a brief burst of chiffchaff song and then the strident call of a great spotted cuckoo! So they're back.. brood parasites.. here to trick the hooded crows into raising their young. Gorgeous bird though.

the flowers!  And orange tip butterflies! I don't recall ever seeing them on the patch before.. certainly haven't photographed them.. and I didn't take the camera! A pair fluttering about each other and more and some other Pierid I'm not sure if I can ID yet.  Turned out to be female orange tip.  Meanwhile.. back to those flowers... Green orchid! Ophrys lutea.. Finally, have expected to see those for a bit.. North east facing slope there.. came across a nice little stand of buttercups in shallow soil on a big boulder.. and then on the softer earth a whole spread of blue pimpernel, so many it was suddenly difficult to find a place to stand without treading on any.. and of course, still lots of asphodel and red anemone.

March 5  - Eurasian jays calling in the trees, greats tits, some chaffinches, hooded crows and jackdaws about.
Soon spotted a buck gazelle across north watercourse, gazing back at us.. Starbuck *longed* to chase him but we wouldn't let her. Another gazelle a little farther along to the east running by the bat cave. Hyraxes scampering by valley road and slopes below, and heard their complex territorial barking song as the light fell. You can just hear it at the end of the video but hard to make out, the pickup wasn't that good. Heart pod hoarcress is blooming again and I found a nice stand of yellow pheasant's eyes as well as many of the usual red.
  Checkered beetle : Cleridae, Trichodes (nobilis ? ) on head of small sp of Apiaceae near north watercourse dirt road, shaft area.

March 6th
 late afternoon cool/mild, slight north westerly breeze. Headed up north watercourse a little way today. Pink butterfly orchid blooming by north watercourse, various storksbills, Bulbous cranesbill, Geranium tuberosum. will post pics, still some cyclamen and the large arum Arum palaestinum is finally blooming its weird dark hood and spathe. Some hyrax alarm barks, calls from great spotted cuckoos I hope the flip mino has recorded decently this time. Acanthus and wood sorrel blooming. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

December 2013,Jan 2014

10th Dec

Lots of black kites, a few white storks,  cattle egrets and jackdaws on the landfill,  Lesser grey shrike on line near road turn off to Tirzah , where we saw the lg bee-eaters last time, larks, prob crested, and spur winged plovers on open flat ground by that road,

Spur winged plovers in fields on approach, a wheatear, yes even this time of year, hoopoe glimpsed by Akiva

7th Jan

Sede Terumot
later in the afternoon, between 3 and 4 . New birds there:  two teal drakes on the water,  a wader across the water on bank, preening, can't be sure but matches best greenshank.  Also, for first time there circling about and over, sometimes high over water, sometimes low  but not seen landing, a lone adult  gull of herring or LBB size but back intermediate in greyness. Couldn't see leg colour. Several pied kingfishers about, active and vocal, in tree, on banks and flying about, one caught fish and flew up to tree branch to eat it. A white breasted kingfisher perched across the water inactive. Several little egrets about, most in tree.  A few spur winged plovers by edge of water. No cormorants or great whites today.

that 1000 plus strong starling flock had moved on but did see some smaller flocks in a couple of locations along Jordan valley. scores of jackdaws and cattle egrets on the landfill. Several white storks, at least a dozen perched near the landfill, inactive or preening. A bunch of laughing doves in trees,  Several swallows hunting flying insects quite low over road

Kestrel hunting observed by Moshe, hover and a dive,  Sardinian warbler calls,  also calls of ring neck parakeets, and bulbuls and laughing doves about but nothing from robins.

Local area:  recently relatively and unusually quiet
Hoodies and jackdaws regularly seen or heard.  Around gardens: occasional sunbird, survived the snow but mostly house sparrows, ring neck parakeets heard regularly.
Woods: occasional chiffchaffs piping in canopies, chink sounds of chaffinches some days, Syrian woodpeckers fairly reliably heard, great tits some days.
Lots of hyrax activity especially late morning and even youngsters.. occasional gazelle sightings.

Winter crocuses out , more and more of them as we head into January, started blooming some time in Decunfortunately lost track of exactly when, but about two weeks later than last year..  and still some autumn crocuses here and there.

First red anemone AND Roman storskbill spotted 31st Jan by Akiva, , got me picks with his Samsung

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


6th October 

Two or more night herons about around sunset, calling and flying over cistern area and Pistacio area.  One mobbed by a number of falcons (kestrels?)  flying about that area.

Lately.. masked shrike about, heard, seen.  A few days ago over acacia north east valley road bend, edge neighbourhood two alpine swifts circling about hawking, quite high ,  then noticed swallows hawking lower, closer to the acacia and a few bee-eaters joined in.. we've been hearing and seeing them last few days ,  could not see the insects they were getting but must have been quite a few.

about half a dozen gazelle in Pistacias a couple of days ago, Akiva noticed some minor sparring amongst sub adults.  Hyrax activity varies, some days not one to be seen, others veritable mass family outings.

Hoodies, jackdaws active generally, house sparrows heard about gardens and some sunbird activity,  Syrian woodpeckers still quite vocal but less so than in previous month,  quite a bit of jay noise today. Blackbird settling to roost calls heard a couple of days ago, hadn't heard those in a while either.

15th Oct

Sdei Terumot pool .. late morning,   at least 5 pied kingfishers in group on near fence, noisy, interacting, grey heron edge across water, little egret hunting across, several spur winged plovers.. a number of storks soaring a little to north.  On way back landfill near Tirzah reservoir an egret, a number of white storks landed, a few black kites about.  bee-eaters heard, 

16 th Oct

Akiva noticed a couple of white wagtails in town, noticed significent side diffs between them. Haven't seen or heard any in neighbourhood yet.   bats noticed in forest and edge lately, just singles


12th November

Trip to Malkishua .. lots of robins there, singing and foraging.  Sardinian warblers (?) glimpsed here and there.. spotted flycatcher on diagonal wire going in..

Sede Trumot.. lots of cormorants in bare tree cafe side of water.. several large, dark adult great, lower down in tree lots much smaller.. pygmy? seemed about half size of greats.. wouldn't have thought immatures that much smaller.. 20 plus in all.. at least half a dozen grey herons mostly on higher branches or flying about , edge of pool near the outlet two little egrets  , further over a great white. spur winged plovers about. black kite flying about above.. calls of graceful warbler.

Bird of day, lifer in fact.. on wire by beginning of dirt road heading  towards Tirzah reservoir 3 little green bee-eaters , further along, murmuration of starlings.. 1000 plus many settled on wires.. many looked immature.. great white egrets by landfill , also collared doves, laughing doves, stonechat, and spur winged plovers about.

Mifgash HaBikah,, sparrows, spur winged plovers, white wagtails.

two dogs near there.. interesting breed.. grey, as large as german shepherds but broader headed, magnificent , black edged ears even slightly tufted, one more so than other looked partly wild but not wolves or jackals.. wolf blood in them?

Moshe reported.. lots of young vipers seen about Malkishua lately.. described animal as like cross betw cat and fox stealing egg from duck enclosure.. colour and build suggested mongoose. We also noticed red admiral by there.

Akiva noticed first autumn crocus near Montefiore's windmill , in watered lawn last week, none in our neighbourhood yet.  and lots more white wagtails in town appeared to be signif larger race than those seen in Neve Yaakov with more extensive white on them.