Boston Wildlife Sightings September

Barry and Kirsten Cromhout of “Highland Glen

Three African Spoonbills at small dam; Giant Kingfisher at larger dam

Ian and Jenny Lawrence of “Endeavour”

Pairs of Blue Cranes and Grey Crowned Cranes, often, near the farmhouse

Rob and Gail Geldart of “Boston View” and “Watershed”

September 17 – flushed a pair of African Snipe on Watershed! Cape Parrots in the Yellowwoods this morning on Boston View, near old house.

Sept 29 – a Grey Duiker in grounds of Boston Country Club – often seen

Barbara and David Clulow of “The Willows”

Last month, the snow; this month, the floods on 7th September: The Elands river burst its banks

It was chilly, but some birds thrived: the Pied Kingfisher, the Yellow-billed Ducks, the Sacred Ibis, Spoonbill, all the Geese, occasional Black-head Heron, and the Blacksmith Lapwing were very active.

Sept 9 – Crane ballet: two Grey Crowned Cranes flew low over our heads and landed next to a pool, formed by the floods in the pastures on Netherby; we stood on a hill and watched below as they danced and waved their wings; then another two Cranes a few hundred meters away started dancing too; so the first two walked over a joined them and they stood together till we departed and at 18h00 they were heard, calling & flying their various ways.

Sept 30 – two Mongoose across the lawn from the verandah on The Willows

Birding on 16 Sept after the rains:

Southern Black Tit, Malachite Kingfisher.

Speckled Mousebirds, huddled up to keep warm

Mike and Carol Fynn of Tillietudlem Game Lodge and Nature Reserve

Four different Oribi weekly, 6 Blue Cranes in the vegetable fields, pair of African Fish-Eagles with a possible chick- we can hear an occasional nearby Fish-Eagle cry coming from the nest area! Carol saw a Leopard crossing the road near the drift by Rainbow Lakes.

“Tillietudlem” Outing on 25 September 2012

view towards Grand Lodge

Blue Cranes at dam

Denham’s Bustard on hills

early on, Elands stream

Ledebouria ovatifolia

Tillietudlem Cascades on Elands river

28 Sept – Evening light, mist on the hills, a storm brewing.  From a hillock on Gramarye, watching two Grey Crowned Cranes and two Spur-winged Geese. Suddenly the thunder rumbled, the lightening flashed and the Cranes flew. Starting across the wetlands, where the Reedbuck ewes bound so often, I stopped short – there ahead at 100 meters, the most elegant Reedbuck ram ever seen, full-horned, and stately. Taking another route, not to make him flee, as he watched intently, but with no sign of fear. His wetland, not mine. Like 180 years ago.

Pete and Debbie Nel of “Twin Rowan”:

Duiker on the Dargle road outside “Gramarye”; three Jackal Buzzard in tall Gum tree seen from house.

Graeme and Claire Hudson of “Kia Ora”

Cape Crows chasing Egyptian Geese at the dam; Bushbuck male on Dargle road.

Long-crested Eagle research in Boston:

On Sept 27 – Twane, of the Karkloof Crane Centre, also compiler of the Karkloof Sightings, and Mike Keefer tracked down a Long-crested Eagle nest in a stand of tall gum trees on the Elands river, as part of a data build-up of knowledge relating to this poorly-researched bird. While Mike was busy with nest photographs, another opportunity came his way – a male Bushbuck appeared on the banks of the Elands river in the Eucalyptus forest.

Bruce and Bev Astrup of “Highland Glen”

Two African Fish-Eagles heard calling; increase in Vervet Monkeys at Elands river; two Giant Kingfishers

Crystelle Wilson of “Gramarye”

Red-winged Francolin, Thick-billed Weaver, Black-headed Oriole, Cape Glossy Starling, Long-crested Eagle.

EVEN after five years of regular checks for birds for the atlas project one can still find birds not listed before. Exciting finds in the Elandshoek pentad 2930_3000 this month were Red-winged Francolin (at the Geldarts’ cottages) and African Grass-Owl (on Gramarye) which I haven’t noted here before, but have been reported elsewhere in the district. This brings my tally for the pentad to 232 species. Migrants are returning after winter and among them were African Paradise-Flycatcher, Greater Striped Swallow and Dark-capped Yellow Warbler.

The SABAP2 list for the pentad is:  Olive Thrush, Amethyst Sunbird, Village Weaver, Cape Robin-Chat, Hadeda Ibis, Cape Turtle Dove, Red-eyed Dove, Black-headed Oriole, Helmeted Guineafowl, Dark-capped Bulbul, African Firefinch, Speckled Mousebird, Cape White-eye, Fork-tailed Drongo, Common Fiscal, Southern Greyheaded Sparrow, Cape Sparrow, Grey Crowned Crane, Red-billed Quelea, Cape Crow, Egyptian Goose, African Sacred Ibis, Southern Boubou, White-breasted Cormorant, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Red-necked Spurfowl, Long-crested Eagle, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Blacksmith Lapwing, Spur-winged Goose, Yellow-billed Duck, African Spoonbill, African Stonechat, Cape Wagtail, Pin-tailed Whydah, African Rail, Jackal Buzzard, Black Sparrowhawk, Cape Longclaw, Red-chested Flufftail, Giant Kingfisher, Black-headed Heron, Green Wood-hoopoe, Reed Cormorant, African Pipit, Bokmakierie, Little Grebe, Cape Weaver, Cape Grassbird, Red-throated Wryneck, Drakensberg Prinia, Cape Glossy Starling, Common Waxbill, House Sparrow, Brown-throated Martin, Black Saw-wing, Cape Canary, Forest Canary, Yellow-fronted Canary, Red-knobbed Coot, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Yellow-billed Kite, Sombre Greenbul, African Hoopoe, Bar-throated Apalis, Thick-billed Weaver, Yellow-throated Petronia, Wattled Crane, Cape Parrot, Malachite Kingfisher, Southern Black Tit, White-throated Swallow, Southern Red Bishop, Red-winged Francolin,Cape Batis, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Greater Striped Swallow, African Grass-Owl.

Pete and Frances Nel of “Four Gates

A huge troop of Baboons near the Lancaster’s turnoff on the Dargle road on Thursday, 27 Sept., round midday. Ten Helmeted Guineafowl in paddock next to house for the last week or so.

More than 10 poacher dogs attacked a bull at 1 in the morning on the 25th Sept. Huge commotion as they were chased by staff. They ran up our driveway right past the house. . No damage to the bull. Saw a Grey Duiker in the forest this morning at 9am The Greater-striped Swallows are back at the front and back door, making their nests.

Terry and Vivien Cawood of “Edgeware”

Dramatic incident as Jackal Buzzard killed a Helmeted Guineafowl, as food for their juvenile. The parents watched as the third bird dined.

Porcupine was caught and effort was made to persuade it to return up Edgeware hill, dissuade it from eating in the garden. It escaped before lessons were complete, but hopefully learned enough.

Barn Owl lives in garages and is seen every now and again, on the lawn outside or inside on its chosen roost on a low wall.

Philip and Christeen Grant of “Sitamani”

September Spring green is lush this year, after the snow and rain in August. Many of the little wildflowers are showing their faces, Moraea graminicola, Gladiolus longicollis, Apodolirion buchananii, Nemesia caerulea and Aster bakerianus are a few I’ve spotted on my brief wanderings and driving in and out; but for me a wonderful new sighting here has been the smallest little Helichrysum I’ve seen, mat forming on hard sparsely vegetated ground, semi shaded by trees. The flower heads are only 2mm in diameter.

One very special evening stands out for me, after a hot clear day, just after sunset, I walked out beyond the house. An Eagle Owl was perched on a rock in the golden glow; he hooted, I replied and we exchanged a few more hooted greetings. A male duiker strolled into view, perambulating his marked perimeter, stopping frequently to sniff and mark as he went. A young female reedbuck, who sleeps amongst the rocks, Buddleja salviifolia and Leucosidea sericea that have grown up there providing cover; stood, stretched and preened before setting out for her evening meal. Then a bat flittered past into the night air. So very special, a magical few moments, that we are so privileged to have right on our doorstep.

Caroline McKerrow of “Stormy Hill”

One Serval cat, one Bushbuck, several Duiker and Reedbuck. Adolescent Gymnogene (African Harrier-Hawk) taking baby Weaver birds out of their nests in my bird tree. He was big and all brown but after discussions with some learned folk in the area we put him down to a junior Gymnogene. My poor Weavers went all quiet for a few hours. They probably needed trauma counselling.

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