July has been a good month for birding in my garden, largely thanks to a pleasant break early on and some less pressured weekends for a change! It has been pleasant seeing the return of some birds after an absence of some weeks as well as being able to add two new ones for the year.
The first of these is a Sacred Ibis. They used to be regular visitors to the dam across the road and below our house until the clump of mature blue gum trees were felled in the interests of water conservation. I cannot mourn their passing, for the dam has not been without water since – even in the driest of times.
The Sacred Ibises quite likely visit the refuse dump further up the hill, although I have not been out there to verify this. I think that the black lacy edge to their wings in flight make them look most attractive. They look such familiar birds, easily recognised in paintings from ancient Egypt. Apparently they were worshipped in those times – presumably where the ‘sacred’ part of their name comes from?
The other welcome newcomer to my garden list this year is the Redfaced Mousebird, doubtless attracted by the numerous berries currently available on several trees and creepers in the garden.
I was watching a Sombre Bulbul foraging in the foliage of the trees and bushes this afternoon. It too is attracted by the abundance of berries as well as picking its way through the remnants of the canary creeper, the flowers of which have now disappeared.
The last on my list this month is a Southern Masked Weaver, which I first recorded in February. It is not a regular visitor and I have not yet discovered where most of them ‘hang out’ in this town.
While on the subject of weavers, I notice that some Village Weavers and Cape Weavers are beginning to half-heartedly loop blades of grass or strips of leaves around thin branches – nothing more than that. More often than not the grass floats to the ground unheeded within seconds.Perhaps they have a better idea of when winter will draw to a close?
My July list is:
African Dusky Flycatcher
Black Sunbird (Amethyst)
Cape Glossy Starling
Cape Turtle Dove
Greater Double-collared Sunbird
Greyheaded Bush Shrike
Southern Black Tit
Southern Masked Weaver