For the last five years, David Clulow has been gathering the wildlife sightings from Boston and compiling his popular report. This goes out to many Midlanders, conservation organisations and friends of Boston living around the world. David’s work has been the inspiration for other Conservancies to get monthly sightings lists going too. This month, the Clulow’s leave Boston for Howick, so David’s stint is over. Perhaps another Bostonite will take up the task? Thank you David, for the dedication you have given this for so many years and for your unwavering commitment to caring for the biodiversity of the KZN Midlands.
Barbara and David Clulow of “The Willows”:
February 8 – two Grey Crowned Crane chicks growing fast (at 7 weeks)
February 23– Xysmalobium undulatum; seedpod; then burst seedpod, about to be distributed by the wind
February 4 till 24 – attempts to arrange removal of the invasive, but pretty, Formosa Lilies along the R617, mainly between the 18 and 19 kilometer stones, have not been successful; scattered populations further towards Boston. The flowers have now fallen and the thousands of seeds are dispersing. This stretch of road will not be the only place you will see them in years to come. They are very invasive and last year I found them on the pavement outside The Willows. Quote from March 2013 Veld and Flora, page 8: in RSA “it is estimated that the negative economic impact of invasive species is R6.5 billion per year”
February 18 – a visit to an Elandshoek dam provided a photo of this Hamerkop:
February 19 – when several dams burst and waves of water swept down the rivers – Reeds were flattened but Abutilon grantii on Gramarye stood firm.
Sacred Ibis on Netherby
Trevor and Cheryl Scheepers of “Lapa Lapa”:
Thirty Speckled Pigeons on “Harmony”; fifteen Helmeted Guineafowl eggs in a nest; African Harrier-Hawk. February 21 – Guineafowls with nest lost all 15 of the eggs when the nest was trashed by a Mongoose; another Helmeted Guineafowl has successfully raised 8 chicks of an original clutch of 12; heard an African Fish-Eagle; saw a Large Grey Mongoose, peering above the grass.
Derek Hurlstone-Jones of “The Rockeries”:
Again saw the Oribi on Edgeware; saw a Common Reedbuck; and a Red-necked Spurfowl
Nigel and Tracy Murray of “Trelyon”:
Barn Owls calling a great deal.
Caroline McKerrow of “Stormy Hill”:
Large Grey Mongoose; four Oribi at top of hill, one of which is a well-developed youngster. I haven’t seen them since we had the snow last winter. They were near the trees and then they wandered through the gate and across the hill. The small baby Oribi has grown to be nearly the size of the adults. It was so good to see that they were all still together and looking so well. February 25 & 26 – saw Grey Crowned Cranes and a chick at “Virginia” dam…….growing nicely since last seen
Pete and Frances Nel of “Four Gates”:
On Tuesday morning, 26 February, at 5.15am heard the Southern Ground Hornbills, calling from the back hill. Was too dark to see, but they sounded quite close. It was sooo good to hear them and know that they are still around! Heard the baby Barn Owls in the veranda ceiling Tuesday evening and again on Wednesday evening. We have a now very regular nightly visitor in the form of a huge owl at our outbuilding garages………feasting on all the insects around the spotlight???
Rob and Celia Speirs of “The Rockeries”:
a Night Adder ingesting a toad, near the sawmill ingesting a large toad; Rob saw a waterbuck doe, crossing the road just beyond the Elands River bridge at Boston House
Neil and Gail Baxter of “Mosgate”:
Another view of a Night Adder, getting its jaws around its dinner.
Philip and Christeen Grant of “Sitamani”:
A beautiful large Bush Pig on the servitude road, very handsome! Many Kniphofias flowering, earlier than usual. Striped Swallows have finally found a suitable place to build a nest under the eaves on our verandah, but suspect they will not have enough time to build and rear young this season.
Gordon Pascoe of “Keswick”:
More than 50 Rameron (African Olive) Pigeons on “Keswick”; pair of Grey Crowned Cranes with two chicks
Crystelle Wilson of “Gramarye”
The harshness and tragedy of nature was on display this month. There were beautiful nests built by Thick-billed Weavers at the dam on Mike Black’s farm which I photographed on 3 February. On 19 February a major storm struck the district and when I drove past the dam again on 26 February the reedbeds were flattened and there were no sign of any weavers. Some nests remained, but were unoccupied.
The SABAP2 atlas list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000 this month:
Common Fiscal, Black-headed Oriole, Giant Kingfisher, Greater Striped-Swallow, Village Weaver, Cape Sparrow, Southern Greyheaded Sparrow, Helmeted Guineafowl, Red-eyed Dove, Cape Turtle-Dove, Speckled Mousebird, Little Rush-Warbler, Hadeda Ibis, Burchell’s Coucal, Cape Grassbird, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Dark-capped Bulbul, Spur-winged Goose, Barn Swallow, Black-headed Heron, Common Waxbill, African Sacred Ibis, Fan-tailed Widowbird, South African Shelduck, Grey Heron, Reed Cormorant, Diderick Cuckoo, Yellow-fronted Canary, Red-billed Teal, Cattle Egret, Grey Crowned Crane,
Yellow-billed Duck, Red-collared Widowbird, African Stonechat, Fork-tailed Drongo, Amethyst Sunbird, Cape Crow, African Darter, Cape White-eye, Black Sparrowhawk, Pin-tailed Whydah, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Southern Boubou, Cape Batis, Red-necked Spurfowl, Red-chested Flufftail, African Rail, African Reed-Warbler, African Black Duck, White Stork, African Firefinch, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Cape Wagtail, Black Saw-wing, Bokmakierie, Common Moorhen, Little Grebe, Cape Canary, Long-crested Eagle, Egyptian Goose, Pied Starling, Common Swift, House Sparrow, Speckled Pigeon, Drakensberg Prinia, Neddicky, Red-knobbed Coot, Zitting Cisticola, Blacksmith Lapwing, Thick-billed Weaver, Cape Weaver, Malachite Sunbird,
Malachite Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kite, Jackal Buzzard, Blue Crane, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Sombre Greenbul, Pale-crowned Cisticola, Hamerkop, Steppe Buzzard, Cape Longclaw, White-breasted Cormorant, Olive Thrush, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Common Quail, Cape Glossy Starling, Horus Swift, Red-throated Wryneck.
March 4 – Post Script:
Anne Black had alerted Crystelle Wilson in Durban as to a strange bird near the Black’s first dam on Elandshoek, seen by John Black early on in the day. When told, Barbara Clulow shot up there and photographed it a number of times – It is described as a sub-adult Great White Pelican.
Eventually it took to the air and was gone.