Boston Wildlife Sightings for July

Wonderful full moon rising in Boston on 3 July.

Trevor and Cheryl Scheepers of “Lapa Lapa”:

July 6 – a V-formation of 18 Grey Crowned Cranes flew overhead towards Netherby, with another 10 Grey Crowned Cranes right behind.  July, 5 Egyptian Geese goslings on the dam; and a Black-headed Oriole.

Nigel and Tracy Murray of “Trelyon”:

Eight  Spotted Thick-Knees near the workshop

Ian and Jenny Lawrence of “Endeavour”:

Pin-tailed Wydah; three Denham’s Bustards on 21 July; Spoonbill; Black Crake; Bald Ibis in the stubble maize. Two White-breasted Cormorants, flying at dam near Pickle Pot

Terry and Basil Cuthbert on “Jaluka Estate”:

Two Secretarybirds

Carol and Tyron Segal on “Gaylands”:

Bushbuck; Reedbuck; one Duiker often about house; two Grey Crowned Cranes at Virginia dam

Barbara and David Clulow of “The Willows”:
Yellow-Billed Ducks making ripples

Between 70 and 80 Spur-winged Geese fly over The Willows to the west as of an evening, out of the chill Elands River valley, where they have been feeding in the stubble maizelands..

During daytime, a Long-crested Eagle, hunting from a tree at the river; and a Black-shouldered Kite, hovering above the ground, watching for movement

July 8 – early morning in drizzle and mist, an African Spoonbill visited the pan

Also Green Wood-Hoopoes; several Black-headed Herons; Hadedas; Fiscal Shrike; lots of Village Weavers; numerous Grey-headed Sparrows and Red-billed Queleas; a few Speckled Mousebirds; Fork-tailed Drongo; rarely Cape Sparrows and House Sparrows; Cape Wagtail;    a Southern Boubou; Jackal Buzzard; Common Waxbills; a Glossy Starling; Cape White-eye.

At The Drift dam, a Pied Kingfisher; Little Grebes; Spur-winged Geese; Stone Chat. Common Moorhen and lots of Red-knobbed Coots are at Melrose dam.  Village Weaver winter feast on The Willows.

July 21 – a special sighting occurred in The Willows garden, when a Drakensberg Prinia made an appearance – not usually seen in Boston: Drakensberg Prinia, Cape Robin-Chat

Numbers of Common Reedbuck; an occasional Duiker; Pied and Cape Crows; Speckled Pigeon.

July 25th till 31st – near the Elandsriver on “Netherby”, a pair of Blue Cranes every day, either in stubble maize or on rye grass..

Bruce and Bev Astrup of “Highland Glen”:

A Scrub Hare shot out from amongst the cattle where they were eating Sweetfeed

George Edlmann of “Parkside”:

Knysna Turaco are back. Saw an otter in Glen Lancasters’s dam next door. It was fascinating watching it sinuously slide into the water wih hardly a ripple, occasionally shaking the water off its head before the next dive. During the 5 or so minutes I watched, it seemed to have a fruitless search for food

Gavin and Amanda Phoenix of “Trinity”:

We are in complete awe of the visitations of the numbers of buck which visit “Trinity” to  feast on the plants in our garden every night. Although we are grateful for their presence and the opportunity for them to find “snacks” to eat – it is difficult to do any planting in preparation for the summer gardens at present. Every flower bed that was planted with new stocks from the nursery in the past week has been obliterated, if not protected by some screening. All the new citrus trees are particular targets for them, obviously being a very healthy inclusion in their “diet”.

From the barking between the males we believe most of the visitors are Bushbuck but have spotted others also, in particular a mother and her foal during the day with ‘spotties’ on the hind quarters?

Caroline McKerrow of “Stormy Hill”:

This month I’ve seen a Bushbuck on my place three times and a Duiker once. Out riding I’ve seen Reedbuck, a Duiker, a Jackal and a Bushbuck. I was also very suprised to see a Serval, being the first one I’ve ever seen.

Pete and Karen Geldart of “Coquidale”:

Two Secretarybirds in grasslands at approx. 29 38.5s  29 55.5e on boundary with “Essex” farm. Heard Wrynecks; saw plenty of Helmetted Guineafowl, and Speckled Mousebirds

Crystelle Wilson of “Gramarye”:

Winter birding does have its challenges, the cold and absence of the migrant birds, but it was great to see about a dozen Denham’s Bustards on Netherby, as well as a pair of Blue Cranes. Plus a Secretarybird, walking swiftly up the hill on Netherby.

The SABAP2 list for the Elandshoek pentad is: Red-eyed Dove, Cape Turtle Dove, Egyptian Goose, Spur-winged Goose, South African Shelduck, Red-necked Spurfowl, Blue Crane, Helmeted Guineafowl, Cape Longclaw, Dark-capped Bulbul, Southern Boubou, Jackal Buzzard, Cape Wagtail, Le Vaillant’s Cisticola, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Black-headed Heron, Hadeda Ibis, Southern Red Bishop, African Sacred Ibis, Cape Crow,Grey Crowned Crane, Drakensberg Prinia, African Stonechat, Long-crested Eagle, Red-collared Widowbird, African Black Duck, Cape Grassbird, Cape Robin-Chat, Spotted Eagle-Owl, Bokmakierie,Cape White-eye, Southern Greyheaded Sparrow, Speckled Mousebird, Red-billed Quelea, Village Weaver, Common Fiscal, Amethyst Sunbird, Red-chested Flufftail, Pied Crow, Fork-tailed Drongo, Blacksmith Lapwing, Denham’s Bustard, Lanner Falcon, Common Waxbill, Black-headed Oriole, Pied Starling, Rock Dove, House Sparrow, African Black Swift, Three-banded Plover, Reed Cormorant, Red-knobbed Coot, Yellow-fronted Canary, Sombre Greenbul, African Harrier-Hawk,  Forest Canary, African Pipit,  Chorister Robin-Chat.

Pete and Frances Nel of “Four Gates”:

The four Grey Crowned Cranes are still seen near the westerly dam

Update on ‘Bossy Boston’ from Tanya Smith of Endangered Wildlands Trust: Drakensberg Crane Foundation:

“I went last week to fit colour rings to Bossy Boston and he/she is looking like a scraggly teenager. He is flying freely and joins up with the local flock every now and again but still regularly comes back to the centre for food etc. He has unfortunately become very habituated to people and this is due to the fact that he was found so young and raised on his own and not with another crane chick. Due to his habituation we have decided not to do a ‘hard’ release which would involve transporting him to a flock far away from the centre and releasing him into the flock, we are rather hoping he will one day stay with the resident flock in the area and re-wild (this is called soft release). I have attached a photo of Bossy with his new colour rings.”

Overlooking “Melrose” dam: typical sightings

25 July – sunny day: lots of Egyptian Geese and Red-knobbed Coots on water; Little Grebe; Red-billed Teale; Yellow-billed Duck; Spur-winged Geese; Blackmith Lapwing; pair of Grey Crowned Crane; Common Reedbuck; African Darter; Shelduck.

Recipients of Boston Sightings often write kind comments and tell of their own Sightings where they live:  Swallows and Foxes in France; Moths in Kent; garden birds in Estcourt; Tui birds in New Zealand; Snow in Namibia, and more recently in Kathu, and an African Fish-Eagle, then four Woolly-necked Storks, in Pietermaritzburg. These are delightful to hear about, often with photos to illustrate, but outside of the Boston geographical area. A recent submission shown below may be regarded as both Boston and universal:

Ewen and Betty Duncan from Howick:

Do yourself a favour and look at the Heavenly Bodies on display each morning. You will need to get up between 4.30 and 6.00 in the morning and look due East. You will see SIRUS in CANIS MAJOR slightly south of where the SUN arises, normally the brightest star in the heavens but outshone by its neighbours for the present. To the left (northwards) you will see BETELGEUSE in the constellation of ORION more or less slightly where the SUN will rise later, unless you are in the Northern hemisphere. To the left again, is VENUS, a planet, but certainly the “star” of this show and the brightest that I have ever seen it. Further left again is another planet JUPITER with ALDABARAN slightly to it’s right all in the Constellation of TAURUS. Still further left is the group of stars the SEVEN SISTERS or their astronomical name the PLEIADIES, the Constellation of TAURUS

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