Frances and Pete Nel of Four Gates
A number of Bald Ibis; The Grey Crowned Crane baby is lovely and flying with them. So sad that the other chick was interfered with by workers, who took it away. Have not seen the Ground Hornbills for a while but we hear them often in the early morning. A Barn Owl during the Fishing weekend of the middle of June, photographed by one of the fishermen: babies in house roof. The owl was there first thing on Sunday morning and remained there all day, even while Pete was driving up and down on the tractor nearby.
Christeen Grant – Sitamani
During June we had the most wonderful moon sightings, finally a spectacular full moon in clear skies. On the morning of full moon, before dawn, I had a very special sighting of a Scrub Hare gazing at the shining orb, not far from our house.
June brought some much needed moisture, immediately Collared Earth-stars, Geastrum triplex fungi appeared in leaf litter.
Winter is aloe time and the rocky hillside had distinctive orange glowing spots of colour, Common Soap Aloe, Aloe maculata.
There is a buzz of insects and birds around the Greyia sutherlandii flowers, a closer inspection reveals glistening ‘pots’ of nectar.
The flowering Buddleja salviifolia also attracts the same attention,
and for me a first time glimpse of a Dung fly, Scathophaga stercoraria, although the field guide for insects doesn’t show Boston included in it’s range, I am sure it is one.
Scenecio madagascariensi and Euryops laxus provide vivid yellow splashes in the dry grass.
George Edlmann of Parkside: The Saasveld student with Gavin Dukes was travelling the dirt road from Boston to Parkside. On the rise past “Elandshoek” turnoff, moving towards “Boston View”, where the road takes a sharp left turn, a Waterbuck cow crossed the road immediately in front of him. Good luck, George with your sightings in Eston – your submissions have been great.
Barry Cromhout: two Vultures on Sunday 1 June, swept from the Drakensberg by very strong winds; African Fish-Eagle, calling near the Elands river
Bruce Astrup of Highland Glen: saw large brown eagle, suspected Tawney Eagle, perched on tree near Elands river early in June
Rob and Celia Speirs of The Rockeries: an uninvited visitor made itself comfortable in the lounge…
Dave Clulow, visiting at The Willows, saw an African Harrier-Hawk, circling in line with the sun to disguise its presence; also in an hour’s observing from the stoep: Cape Crow; Black-headed Heron; Cape Turtle-Dove; Cape Sparrow; masses of Village Weavers; Southern Boubou; Cape Wagtail; House Sparrow; Red-billed Quelea; Dark-capped Bulbul; Hadedah Ibis; juvenile Jackal Buzzard, which stayed for 3 hours, perched on an old branch. An afternoon walk in the wetland revealed – Helmeted Guineafowl; Red-Eyed Dove; Fork-tailed Drongo; Familiar Chat; Blacksmith Lapwing; Natal Spurfowl; African Stonechat and Spurwing Geese
Trevor and Cheryl Scheepers of Lapa Lapa: Egyptian Gesse have hatched out 7 youngsters in the midst of winter; Barn Owls have 3 chicks still, quite grown up – earlier another one flew into a fence and was killed
Ian and Jenny Lawrence of Endeavour farm: Denham’s Bustard a regular visitor near farmhouse; and four Grey Crowned Cranes also, two being the juveniles; two wattled Cranes in the stubble maize, in sight from the farmhouse
Joan Stewart of Seven Streams farm: While doing flower arranging – picked a heap of Hydrangeas, and took them in to Pietermaritzburg, when she discovered a dwarf Cameleon in the posy, so it was returned to her garden.
Crystelle Wilson – Graymarye
A treat for me early one morning was going with Rob Geldart and Michael to see the sites where Secretarybirds nest on his farm. On the way to the one site we did come across one bird, but we didn’t see any birds at the nest. There were some white droppings below the tree, so hopefully they might breed this season.
It was also great to see the pair of Wattled Cranes with their chick which was ringed by Tanya Smith earlier in the month.
Another special sight was seeing 20 Cape Vultures riding the wind close to the Boston Gargage on a stormy Sunday morning. They remained in the same spot for more than an hour.
Birding in winter remains good, even without the summer migrants I got a list of more than 70 birds in the Elandshoek pentad 2930_3000. I was pleased to catch a glimpse of a Grey Cuckooshrike, a bird that is more often heard than seen. One character that had me scratching my head for a while was a juvenile Jackal Buzzard that did a good impression of a Steppe Buzzard.
Cape Robin-Chat, Drakensberg Prinia, Red-eyed Dove, Cape Turtle Dove, Olive Thrush, Dark-capped Bulbul, Southern Boubou, Speckled Mousebird, Fork-tailed Drongo, Hadeda Ibis, African Harrier-Hawk, Cape Wagtail, Helmeted Guineafowl, African Stonechat, Common Waxbill, Black Sparrowhawk, Egyptian Goose, Spur-winged Goose, Cape Crow, Red-chested Flufftail, Long-crested Eagle, African Black Duck, Le Vaillant’s Cisticola, African Sacred Ibis, African Rail, African Hoopoe, Denham’s Bustard, Bokmakierie, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Cape White-eye, Speckled Pigeon, Rufous-naped Lark, South African Shelduck, African Pipit, Cape Longclaw, Southern Red Bishop, Giant Kingfisher, Common Fiscal, Common Moorhen, Yellow-billed Duck, Village Weaver, Red-billed Quelea, Cape Sparrow, Southern Greyheaded Sparrow, White-breasted Cormorant, Red-necked Spurfowl, Black-headed Heron, Jackal Buzzard, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-headed Oriole, House Sparrow, Cape Grassbird, Cape Parrot, Grey Cuckooshrike (picture below), Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Southern Black Tit, Reed Cormorant, Black-backed Puffback, Amethyst Sunbird, Wattled Crane, Secretarybird, Sombre Greenbul, Long-tailed Widowbird, Yellow Bishop, Pied Starling, Hamerkop, Brown-throated Martin, Green Wood-hoopoe, Spotted Eagle-Owl, Barn Owl, African Darter, Blacksmith Lapwing, Red-knobbed Coot.