At this time of the year the sun seems to hang low above the horizon and hides behind the Natal Fig for longer than usual in the early mornings. As mentioned before, the front lawn remains in shade for much of the day and there is a discernible chill in the crisp, clear air.
A flock of Laughing Doves weigh down the bare, spindly branches of the acacia tree as if waiting for the ground level of air to warm up before they venture down to pick up the scattered seeds.
The first birds on my list this month, the Redwinged Starlings, do not have that problem. Dark, noisy clouds of them arrive daily to feed on the ripening figs, near the top of the tree shortly after sunrise and explore further down as the day warms up. They also like to take figs across to the Erythrina tree, where they can eat in the sunshine.
Olive Thrushes poke around to see what fruit and other morsels are available on the feeding tray, as do the Blackeyed Bulbuls.
It is usually only when a particularly noisy vehicle passes on the road below the garden and frightens the birds that we can fully appreciate what a large flock of African Green Pigeons are camouflaged in the fig tree. They tend to be heard much more often than they are seen.
I was pleased to hear first, and then see, a Cardinal Woodpecker the other day. This morning a small flock of Redbilled Woodhoopoes cackled their way through the garden.
Despite the cold, our winter garden is still cheered by yellow canary creeper blossoms lingering long after the main show of blooms have turned into white puffballs of seed; a variety of aloes are still attracting sunbirds; some blue Plumbago flowers are peeking through the greenery; and the lone Cape Chestnut blossom I mentioned last month continues to adorn the top of the tree.
My June list is:
African Green Pigeon
Black Crow (Cape)
Black Sunbird (Amethyst)
Cape Turtle Dove
Greater Double-collared Sunbird
Greyheaded Bush Shrike
Rock Pigeon (Speckled)