This has been a short month for bird watching, thanks to my sojourn in the Kruger National Park as well as the onset of the chilly weather that has seen me busying myself indoors a lot more than usual.

The change of season has wrought changes in the garden and its visitors too: the lawn remains shadowed (and often damp with dew) for much longer in the mornings, hence the seed lies untouched until the sun brightens and dries the area; there is a magnificent display of aloes and wild dagga blooms – and a single Cape Chestnut flower (usually only expected in November-December); Bryan the tortoise has retreated to the pool pump house area and occasionally basks on the warm bricks there; and the fig tree and other indigenous berry-bearing trees both in my garden and in others nearby attract very large flocks of Redwinged Starlings as well as African Green Pigeons. There seem to be very few weavers about, leaving doves as the main visitors enjoying the seed I provide.


By the way, the mystery of where the Sacred Ibises go at the end of each day has been solved: they roost in a tall tree in the CBD with Cattle Egrets in a neighbouring one only a few metres away in the same street.

The month began well with my first-ever sighting of a Collared Sunbird in my garden and the welcome annual return of a pair of Olive Sunbirds.

On two occasions this morning I was drawn away from watching the Comrades Marathon on television by bird activity in the garden. The first was by the loud chorus of a flock of Red-billed Woodhoopoes flitting in and out of the fig tree and working their way through the Pompon trees near the swimming pool. The second time was to watch a Red-eyed Dove vigorously chasing a Grey-headed Bush Shrike all over the garden!

My May list is:

African Green Pigeon
Barthroated Apalis
Black Crow (Cape)
Black Sunbird (Amethyst)
Blackcollared Barbet
Blackeyed Bulbul
Blackheaded Oriole
Cape Glossy Starling
Cape Robin
Cape Turtle Dove
Cape Wagtail
Cape Weaver
Cape White-eye
Cattle Egret
Collared Sunbird
Common Starling
Crowned Plover
Fiscal Shrike
Forktailed Drongo
Greater Double-collared Sunbird
Greyheaded Bush Shrike
Hadeda Ibis
Knysna Lourie
Laughing Dove
Olive Thrush
Redeyed Dove
Redwinged Starling
Rock Pigeon (Speckled)
Sacred Ibis
Sombre Bulbul
Speckled Mousebird
Village Weaver

crowned plover


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