GRAHAMSTOWN SUNSET

1820 Settler’s Monument

wind farm

wind farm

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MONKEYS

We seldom come across Vervet Monkeys in the Addo Elephant National Park and so were surprised to see this one as we rounded a corner:

It had obviously rained a day or so before our arrival for there were puddles all over the veld, most notably where the dirt roads were. A little further on we were met by this sight:

Drinking from the puddles in the road.

 

Note the baby tucked under its mother.

TEN BIRDS IN THE ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK

This Southern Masked Weaver met us at Domkrag:

Other residents there included a Cape Weaver:

A Cape Sparrow:

Fiscal Shrike:

Several terrapins on the bank of Rooidam watched this Spoonbill working its way through the shallow water:

Could this be an African Pipit seen along the Woodlands road?

A flock of Cattle Egrets cooled off at Carol’s Rest:

One of several Ostriches inspecting the veld in search of food:

This Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk posed obligingly:

A Hamerkop kept a close watch out for food at Hapoor.

SEPTEMBER 2017 GARDEN BIRDS

Where did September go? In the way of all busy months it seems to have disappeared in a flash. September is a watershed month: the official start of spring after the equinox; the budding of leaves and flowers – a genuine renewal of life in nature; a sprinkling of spring rain to aid that renewal; the arrival of seasonal birds, such as the Lesser-striped Swallows; courting and nest-building amongst the birds – and the biting chill of the end of winter coupled with a few teasing days of sunshine warm enough to make us revel in 30°C heat, only to be plunged into the cold again.

It is good to hear the cheerful calls of the Bokmakierie and to catch the odd glimpse of Cape Wagtails. It was while I was having tea in the garden (sans camera – of course!) that I observed four Common Waxbills feeding on the fine seed dropped from the feeder above them. As if that wasn’t enough, I looked up to find a single Crowned Hornbill observing me from a nearby tree. It sat in full view for about fifteen minutes before flying off.

A pair of Fiscal Shrikes have been chasing each other around the garden. One of them has been ringed, as you can see in this photograph:

Ringed Fiscal Shrike

I mentioned the arrival of the Whiterumped Swifts last month – there a large numbers of them wheeling through the sky now. For me, the true sign of the arrival of spring with a promise of summer ahead is the Lesserstriped Swallow. I have often recorded their triumphs and disasters as far as nest-building and raising their young is concerned. For the first time, a pair of these swallows left a mud nest intact outside our front door. For the first time then, they have been able to twitter and chirp, happy in the knowledge that no nest-building is required after their long journey south. The two of them have wasted no time in re-lining their nest and are already ensconced in it – doubtless having started their family weeks ahead of previous schedules.

Courting on the lamp directly opposite their nest

My September bird list is:

African Green Pigeon
Barthroated Apalis
Black Crow (Cape)
Black Harrier
Black Sunbird (Amethyst)
Blackcollared Barbet
Blackeyed Bulbul
Blackheaded Oriole
Bokmakierie
Boubou
Bronze Manikin
Cape Robin (Cape Robin-chat)
Cape Turtle Dove
Cape Wagtail
Cape Weaver
Cape White-eye
Cattle Egret
Common Starling
Common Waxbill
Crowned Hornbill
Fiscal Shrike
Forktailed Drongo
Greater Double-collared Sunbird
Greyheaded Sparrow
Hadeda Ibis
Hoopoe
Klaas’ Cuckoo
Knysna Lourie
Laughing Dove
Lesserstriped Swallow
Olive Thrush
Pied Crow
Pintailed Whydah
Redeyed Dove
Redwinged Starling
Rock Pigeon (Speckled)
Sombre Bulbul
Southern Masked Weaver
Speckled Mousebird
Spectacled Weaver
Streakyheaded Canary
Village Weaver
Whiterumped Swift
Yellowbilled Kite

STEPPE BUZZARD

The Steppe Buzzard (Buteo vulpinus) is the most common brown buzzard in South Africa, and as such, was one of the first raptors I learned to identify in the field – even though their  plumage can vary from pale brown to almost black. These migratory birds arrive in South Africa during Spring and stay until late Summer to early Autumn. They frequent habitats such as grasslands and open woodland and have the tendency to perch on poles. How convenient that this one in the Adelaide district did just that for me:

What separates the Steppe Buzzard from small eagles is its bare yellow legs, clearly visible in this picture:

The magnificent bird below was observed in the Addo Elephant National Park.