Spring is in the air – not officially for that only happens on 1st September. Nature does not adhere to those human desires to carve time into clear blocks of expectation. Headline news is that Whiterumped Swifts made their first appearance today – earlier than usual – and that means that the Lesserstriped Swallows cannot be far behind. Klaas’ Cuckoo has also made an early entrance this spring. African Green Pigeons now call regularly from within the thick foliage of the Natal Fig and with the warmer weather comes the melodious sounds of Fierynecked Nightjars. I am very pleased to have seen more of the Redbacked Shrike this month as well as the Spectacled Weaver.
Weavers are becoming more serious about their nest-building. The image below is the start of a Cape Weaver nest in a Pompon tree.
The Pintailed Whydahs – most of the males have almost divested themselves of their buff winter dress – are becoming more aggressive. I wonder which of the six males I saw bossing each other around this morning will claim our garden as its territory this summer.
Mrs. Greater Doublecollared Sunbird has been collecting feathers for nest lining. They seem to be enjoying the nectar in the brilliant orange flowers of the Cape Honeysuckle, while the Black Sunbirds are seen more frequently in the scarlet blooms of the Erythrina caffra.
Laughing Doves abound. This pair is perched in a Syringa tree, which is heavy with fruit.
With so many domestic animals around the suburbs these days, Cattle Egrets are a common sight – they look especially beautiful in flight. A pair of Egyptian Geese have been honking overhead too lately and a pair of Knysna Louries regularly make their way through the trees to drink and bathe in one of our birdbaths. This Forktailed Drongo is perched in the Acacia caffra, which is just beginning to show its spring foliage.
In non-birding news, Bryan – the angulate tortoise – emerged from his winter hideout under a tangle of aloes this morning and has been walking around in search of food.
Sammy – the Leopard tortoise – has only got as far as exposing himself to the sun, but has not budged all day. He spent the winter in a mass of Van Staden daisies nest to our swimming pool. Both are looking healthy after their period of torpidity.
My August list is:
African Green Pigeon
Black Crow (Cape)
Black Sunbird (Amethyst)
Cape Turtle Dove
Greater Double-collared Sunbird
Greyheaded Bush Shrike
Redbilled Woodhoopoe (Green Woodhoopoe)
Rock Pigeon (Speckled)
Southern Masked Weaver