We have reached the end of the coldest, wettest and most miserable (weather-wise) July for a long time.

While the Redwinged Starlings dominated the garden during the first part of this month, visiting the Natal Fig tree in droves while their mellifluous calls echoed throughout the garden – I have counted at least a hundred of these birds as they wheeled through the sky or emerged in a flurry from the fig tree when startled by a loud noise nearby – their numbers have dropped dramatically.

Figs were clearly the main attraction, although now and then a pair would eat the apples I had put out or peck away at the aloe flowers for variation. The gusting winds that have blown us almost upside down, along with the driving rain, put an early end to the bounty of figs – plopping the last of them in soggy heaps on the ground.

Usually the Laughing Doves continue to feast for a while longer on the figs dried and crushed under wheels of passing cars in the road. Not so this year: the fruit turned into a mushy pulp washed into the municipal drains by the deluge of water flowing on the tar. The doves would, instead, perch in a soggy row on the telephone cable – looking as if they had been hung out to dry – waiting for some seed to see them through another freezing, wet day.

The African Green Pigeons have also sought succour elsewhere and I miss their almost grunt-like whistling sounds that remind me of their hidden presence. A welcome replacement for that though have been the calls of Burchell’s Coucals.

Burchell's coucal

I felt very privileged the other morning when a Knysna Lourie settled on the feeding tray just long enough to take a few bites from the apples I had put out.

Two new sightings this month are the Black Cuckoo Shrike and a pair of Southern Black Tits.

My July list is:

African Green Pigeon
Barthroated Apalis
Black Crow (Cape)
Black Cuckoo Shrike
Black Sunbird (Amethyst)
Blackcollared Barbet
Blackeyed Bulbul
Blackheaded Oriole
Bronze Manikin
Burchell’s Coucal
Cape Robin
Cape Turtle Dove
Cape Weaver
Cape White-eye
Cattle Egret
Common Starling
Crowned Plover
Fiscal Shrike
Forktailed Drongo
Greater Double-collared Sunbird
Hadeda Ibis
Knysna Lourie
Laughing Dove
Olive Sunbird
Olive Thrush
Pied Crow
Redbilled Woodhoopoe
Redeyed Dove
Redwinged Starling
Rock Pigeon (Speckled)
Sacred Ibis
Sombre Bulbul
Southern Black Tit
Speckled Mousebird
Village Weaver


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