Regrettably I have no photograph to prove that we have had a Red-backed Shrike visiting our garden – a first sighting for me. It was a leisurely one too for I was able to watch it in our back garden for about twenty minutes before it moved out of sight. The regular provision of water during this long dry spell is greatly appreciated by the birds. Here are a pair of Laughing Doves:
As well as a young Black-headed Oriole enjoying the bird bath with plenty of cover nearby to duck into if necessary.
The weather has been particularly cold and so, on some mornings, I have put out finely chopped bacon rinds or smeared a slice of bread with fat. A variety of birds flock to this energy-boosting feast and among them has been a handsome looking Fiscal Shrike – one of the few ringed birds I have seen in the garden.
A pair of Cape Robins have been chasing each other around the garden – courting already? This one was taking a breather.
The daily activities of the Olive Thrushes are interesting to observe as they pick their way through the leaves carpeting parts of the lawn, wrestle with bits of fruit on the feeding tray, or vigorously chase other birds as if to assert their position in the feeding hierarchy.
A flock of Pin-tailed Whydahs has been particularly interesting to watch. I have counted up to sixteen of them seemingly happy enough to feed in each other’s company over the past few weeks. Now, however, some of their tails are growing longer and in others dark patches are beginning to appear on their wings. It won’t be all that long before they slough off their winter drabness.
Once the males emerge in their summer sartorial splendour of black and white, their natural aggression will come to the fore and territorial rivalry will send them seeking further afield for their own territories to defend.
My June bird list is:
African Green Pigeon
Black Crow (Cape)
Black Sunbird (Amethyst)
Cape Turtle Dove
Greater Double-collared Sunbird
Greyheaded Bush Shrike
Rock Pigeon (Speckled)