SEPTEMBER 2015 GARDEN BIRDS

This has been an exciting birding month in my garden. It began with the welcome return of the Lesserstriped Swallows on the 4th. Although they have not yet begun working on the remains of the mud nest under the eaves, a pair of them regularly perch on a nearby cable and twitter as if contemplating where to begin. With so much rain having fallen in recent weeks, there is bound to be plenty of mud around for when they are ready. Klaas’ Cuckoo has also made its appearance at last.

Lesserstriped Swallows

I walked outdoors the other day just in time to witness a Black Sparrowhawk swooping down to catch an unsuspecting Village Weaver perching at the top of a white stinkwood tree (Celtis africana). It mainly feeds on pigeons and doves, which may account for the clusters of dove feathers I sometimes find on the lawn – meanwhile I have been mentally chastising a neighbouring cat!

The many blossoms in the garden attract numerous foraging bees, which are eagerly gobbled up by Forktailed Drongoes.

Laughing Doves can be a treat to watch. Not only have some of them at last worked out how to perch two at a time on the ‘seed house’ – albeit in an uncomfortable looking position, but last week I watched as one ousted a Blackcollared Barbet from the feeding station and proceeded to eat an apple. A pair of them have been kept busy industriously collecting twigs from the syringa trees (Melia azedarach) growing on the pavement for their nest in a neighbouring garden. As an aside, it puzzles me why our municipality chose to plant these alien invasive trees in the first place – perhaps because they are fast-growing?

I felt privileged when a Knysna Lourie alighted on a branch near me while I was sitting in the shade of my ‘forest’. It eyed me for a few minutes before departing silently to feed on syringa berries. Another large bird that moves silently is the Burchell’s Coucal. Having remarked before that we seldom actually see them in our garden, one has been particularly visible this month as it has called from trees such as the Pompon, white stinkwood and the Erythrina caffra.

Burchell's Coucal

I have counted up to eight Pintailed Whydahs in the garden at one time. So far none have openly laid claim to it as a home territory, although a couple of males have, at times, acted in an aggressive manner towards Bronze Manikins and Village Weavers when feeding.

Pintailed Whydah

Aggression from an unexpected quarter was witnessed in the form of a Black Sunbird hot on the tail of a Laughing Dove. The latter was chased in this manner beyond the confines of my garden. Why, I cannot guess.

My September list is:

African Green Pigeon
Barthroated Apalis
Black Crow (Cape)
Black Sparrowhawk
Black Sunbird (Amethyst)
Blackcollared Barbet
Blackeyed Bulbul
Blackheaded Oriole
Bokmakierie
Bronze Manikin
Burchell’s Coucal
Cape Robin
Cape Turtle Dove
Cape Weaver
Cape White-eye
Cardinal Woodpecker
Cattle Egret
Common Starling
Crowned Plover
Fierynecked Nightjar
Fiscal Shrike
Forktailed Drongo
Greater Double-collared Sunbird
Greyheaded Sparrow
Gymnogene
Hadeda Ibis
Hoopoe
Knysna Lourie
Laughing Dove
Lesserstriped Swallow
Olive Thrush
Pied Crow
Pintailed Whydah
Redbilled Woodhoopoe (Green Woodhoopoe)
Redeyed Dove
Redfronted Tinkerbird
Redwinged Starling
Rock Pigeon (Speckled)
Sombre Bulbul
Southern Masked Weaver
Speckled Mousebird
Streakyheaded Canary
Thickbilled Weaver
Village Weaver
Whiterumped Swift

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