January was a month of heat, power outages, appointments, having to deal with issues such as installing a new water tank and pump as a buffer for when the municipal water supply runs out … and my laptop went on the blink and required a new keyboard. I have very few bird photographs to choose from this month, even though the list below shows that we have again enjoyed many visitors.
The year began on a happy note with several sightings of a pair of Paradise Flycatchers flitting around the feeding area as well as in other parts of the garden. The female seemed to have taken a dislike to an Olive Thrush for a day or two and chased it away from the bird bath whenever it saw it there. Sacred Ibises fly over the garden in a V-formation in the late afternoons, catching the last rays of the sun as they head for their favourite perches in the CBD after the day spent in the countryside. Black-eyed (Dark-capped) Bulbuls are cheerful visitors that perch on the aloes or on the branches above my head chirping loudly – especially when they find food they particularly enjoy. They have tucked into the fruit I have put out as well as eating tiny bits of meat.
Laughing Doves visit the garden throughout the year. I was fascinated to see one nesting in the grapevine on a neighbour’s veranda the other day – apparently this is a regular nesting spot; close to where they regularly sit. This one is keeping an eye on what is happening in the garden before it flutters down to enjoy the maize seeds on the ground.
The Cape Weavers come and go and are more evident on some days than on others. The nectar feeder is a big draw-card during this very hot weather.
I hear Black-collared Barbets calling around the neighbourhood every day and am always pleased when they stop by to eat something from the feeding tray. They have become much more wary about doing so since the neighbouring cats moved in.
Village Weavers are regular visitors too, although they might stay away for a day or two. This is the first summer in years that no weavers have even tried to build nests in the any of the many trees we have growing in our garden.
From being heard more often than seen, a pair of Black-headed Orioles have become daily visitors to the feeding area to eat, drink from the bird bath or to perch in nearby branches whilst calling to each other. Theirs is among the first sounds to be heard in the early mornings.
Then there is an Olive Thrush. I have always regarded these as iconic birds of our garden: they were everywhere, until the cats next door arrived. Now they pay fleeting visits and when they do, they remain on the alert and fly off as soon as a movement or sound spooks them.
My bird list for this month:
African Green Pigeon
African Harrier Hawk
Black-eyed (Dark-capped) Bulbul
Cape Turtle Dove
Greater Double-collared Sunbird
Southern Masked Weaver