A PRETTY FIND

Even a humdrum activity, such as hanging up the laundry, can result in a happy sighting or two. The first was seeing this delicately coloured feather dropped by a Redeyed Dove:

These birds are common residents of our garden which enjoy perching in both the Natal fig as well as the Erythrina trees – these brown leaves are from the latter, as is the scarlet seed nestling among them at the bottom of the photograph.

I usually only see the Redeyed Doves singly or in pairs when they join the huddle of other doves in their early morning feeding frenzy once I have filled the maize seed feeder. Theirs is one of the first calls I hear in the morning, which is why I have translated their cooing into a melodious yet insistent ‘better get started, better get started’ sound.

The unexpected – and very pretty – find was this feather. At first I thought it might have come from one of the doves for it was greyish with a tinge of white. As I reached down for another item of laundry to hang up, a slight breeze turned the feather over to reveal this:

The attractive greeny-yellow colouring shows this feather has been dropped by an African Green Pigeon.

These beautiful birds usually chuckle from deep within the Natal fig or sun themselves very high up on the Erythrina trees – which is why I show this one from the Kruger National Park.

MARCH 2018 GARDEN BIRDS

March is a time of subtle seasonal changes. Despite it being the official start of autumn, it is ironic that we sometimes experience some of the hottest days here – in between some that are so chilly that one cannot help wondering if winter is being impatient! On one such morning I looked out of the window to see some African Green Pigeons catching the warmth of the early rays of the sun whilst perched in the top of the Erythrina caffra.

The evenings remain balmy and in the still night air we are regularly entertained by the comforting sound of Fiery-necked Nightjars along with the pinging noises made by the insectivorous bats that swoop all over the garden just after the sun sets. One morning I was sitting outdoors when the flock of doves swished into the air as one and disappeared in a flash – so did the weavers – and the Pintailed Whydah that had been pecking at seeds below the feeder.  An eerie silence mantled the garden, leaving me baffled – until I saw a Eurasian Hobby alight from the fig tree and settle into the Cape Chestnut, where it stayed for some minutes. Within seconds of it flying off, the garden came alive again! The Village Weavers continued to scatter seed from the feeder.

A Spectacled Weaver inspected the nectar feeder.

A more cautious Redeyed Dove perched on a branch and observed the other birds feeding on the lawn for some time before deciding to join them.

My March bird list is:

African Green Pigeon
African Harrier-Hawk (Gymnogene)
Barthroated Apalis
Barn Swallow
Black Crow (Cape)
Blackcollared Barbet
Blackeyed Bulbul
Blackheaded Oriole
Bronze Manikin
Cape Robin (Cape Robin-chat)
Cape Turtle Dove
Cape Weaver
Cape White-eye
Cattle Egret
Common Shrike (Fiscal)
Common Starling
Egyptian Goose
Eurasian Hobby
Fierynecked Nightjar
Forktailed Drongo
Greater Double-collared Sunbird
Greyheaded Sparrow
Hadeda Ibis
Knysna Turaco
Laughing Dove
Lesserstriped Swallow
Olive Thrush
Pied Crow
Pintailed Whydah
Redbilled Woodhoopoe
Redeyed Dove
Redfronted Tinkerbird
Redwinged Starling
Rock Pigeon (Speckled)
Speckled Mousebird
Spectacled Weaver
Village Weaver
Whiterumped Swift