The level of the nectar feeder has been going down very slowly of late. While this is not particularly unusual at this time of the year, with the Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis) and the aloes blooming, what has been strange is the behaviour of the few visitors that have alighted on it. The sunbirds are cautious feeders anyway. Now, one might perch, look around, dip into the feeder once only and leave. Even the robust Fork-tailed Drongos barely perch for more than a second or two: very odd behaviour.
Ants are the problem. During this prolonged drought, they have fanned out in search of moisture and discovered a lethal source of liquid gold in the spout of the nectar feeder.
Lethal, because so many of them are drawn right into the bottle, from which there is no escape. They probably get shoved in ever deeper by the sheer mass of ants thronging around the rim or ‘swimming’ in the opening of the feeder.
I now dip a stick into the feeder whenever I go past and when I withdraw it I find the stick crawling with ants. A whole lot of them fell off in a ‘blob’ before I could take this picture.