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. 

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