There has been a lot of avian activity in the garden during October. Green Woodhoopoes have made regular forays to seek food in the dry wood of some of the trees that are succumbing to the drought. Their cheerful cackles are sure to uplift one’s spirits. Streaky-headed Canaries have become regular visitors – usually during the quieter part of the afternoons. Then, the three Common Fiscals vie with each other to get to the container of ‘special food’ I put on the table when I am outside. Meneer is still the only one to perch next to me to help itself or to take food from my hand though. Hadeda Ibises remind everyone in the neighbourhood at least half an hour before sunrise that a new day is dawning. One of their number sits patiently on her nest above the wash line for much of every day. The basket-shaped nest is about four metres above the ground and has been constructed from sturdy sticks and smaller twigs. These will have been gathered by the male.
White-rumped Swifts wasted no time to start a family once they had arrived earlier this month. This was easy for them as they are again using the cosy, well-built mud nest outside our front door, which they usurped from the Lesser-striped Swallows a few years ago. The latter took a few days rest and are currently rebuilding their mud nest under the eaves at the back of our house that broke soon after their departure at the end of last summer. Love is definitely in the air, and the Cape Crows are no exception. I watched a pair of them courting in the Erythrina for well over an hour. I don’t know where they have chosen to nest, but we hear the two of them calling to each other throughout most of each day now.
The cuckoos are back in force too: Red-chested Cuckoo (widely known here as the Piet-my-vrou), Diederik Cuckoo, as well as Klaas’s Cuckoo fill the air with cheerful calls – the mournful call of the Black Cuckoo-shrike provides a sharp contrast. A Pin-tailed Whydah in full breeding regalia visits now and then. It has obviously chosen a territory somewhere else for it drops in for food and I have not seen any of its wives yet. Laughing Doves regularly sun themselves in the sandy area of the garden.
As some brighter colour is needed, here is a Black-collared Barbet waiting to take its turn at the feeding tray.
My bird list for this month:
African Green Pigeon
Black-eyed (Dark-capped) Bulbul
Cape Turtle Dove
Greater Double-collared Sunbird
Southern Masked Weaver