The traditional calendar notwithstanding – nor the fluctuations in temperature between very cold and fairly summery – the birds seem to know a thing or two about when to court, when to breed, and when spring is on its way. The Olive Thrushes, usually quick to see what is on offer, have been more furtive of late. Instead of eating their fill, drinking or bathing afterwards and then perching on a nearby branch until they are ready for the next round, two of them arrive one after the other – disappearing in different directions – to gobble what they can and then carry off bits of food to their nest. I think one is located in our bottom ‘wild’ garden but am disinclined to disturb them. The other day an Olive Thrush took a dislike to a Speckled Pigeon right across the garden for no apparent reason.
Laughing Doves court throughout the year. I counted twenty-six of them the other day – and have yet to come across a single nest!
The yellow beaks of the Common Starlings are an indication that they are also in breeding mode.
There are two Common Fiscals that arrive separately every day – distinguishable only because one has been ringed.
A female Greater Double-collared Sunbird has spent about four days gathering tiny fragments of lichen, small feathers, and even soft grass seeds with which to line her nest – which is possibly in the hedge between us and our neighbours – while Mr Sunbird drinks his fill at the nectar feeder and makes loud territorial noises from on high in the Erythrina tree in the back garden.
The Streakyheaded Seedeaters always arrive as a pair.
Most of the Village Weavers and Southern Masked Weavers are looking a little worse for wear at the moment as they are growing into their breeding plumage.
One Cape Weaver has already built a nest in the side garden, while others arrive with strips of reed leaves in their beaks only to drop them when they tuck into the seeds for a meal.
Here you can see the difference in the shape of the beak of a Blackcollared Barbet and a Black-eyed Bulbul as they feed on cut apples.
Speckled Mousebirds perch patiently in the shrubbery for an opportunity to come down to eat the fruit.
My July bird list is:
African Green Pigeon
Cape Glossy Starling
Cape Turtle Dove
Greater Double-collared Sunbird