Christeen Grant -Sitamani
July has been an insect month, not many flowers out, although the Aloe maculata grace the hillside, the Halleria lucida, Buddleja salviifolia and Greyia sutherlandii are focal points attracting many insects and birds.
The small Rosemary bush in my herb bed is also covered in flowers, easy to photograph some of these insects, Bees,
a variety of Hover Flies,
a delightful miniature Leaf Beetle (only about 5mm),
and a pair of small brown butterflies that Steve Woodhall identified as possibly being male and female Common Hottentots.
Also seen on another day, a first for me, a Twig Wilter.
Three Common Reedbuck have decided our hillside is a refuge this winter, two females and a male, often seen at dusk and dawn, close to the house. Duiker are active around the same time each day.
An unusual bird sighting for us was a Hammerkop near the house and one early morning a Marsh Owl. A pair of Black-shouldered Kites, Jackal Buzzards and Long-crested Eagles are frequent overhead visitors. The bushes are alive with Cape White-eyes, Dark-capped Bulbuls, Speckled Mousebirds, Fork-tailed Drongos, Black-headed Orioles, Black-backed Puffbacks and Bronze Mannikins.
David and Wizz Lawrence on The Willows:
Cape Robin_Chat; Red-billed Quelea; Village Weavers galore, some getting summer golden colour; Boubou Shrike; Common Fiscal; Cape Turtle-Dove; Glossy Starling; Cape Sparrow; Speckled Mousebird; Drakensberg Prinia; House Sparrow; Hadedah Ibis; Helmeted Guineafowl; juvenile Jackal Buzzard often around, and maturing, getting a russet front.
David Clulow on The Willows:
Four Grey Crowned Crane seen at Endeavour farm – parents and two grown up juveniles, feeding about 50 metres from farmhouse; pair of Wattled Cranes seen in stubble maize about 300 metres from farmhouse. Geese at the Elands river, flying over wintry Basket Willows:
Common Fiscal on winter’s morning
Bridge over Elands river from “Endeavour” to the north
Crystelle Wilson – Graymarye
I never expected to come across Grey Crowned Cranes in prison, but this was an unexpected sighting at Sevontein Prison near Elandskop in July. I was atlasing the pentad 2940_3005 and driving on the land surrounding the prison when I spotted four cranes in the cabbage patch alongside the stream running next to the buildings. Three hours of birding yielded only 37 species, in part due to the increasing human settlements in the area.
The list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000 is: Village Weaver, Pin-tailed Whydah, African Firefinch, Red-eyed Dove, Cape Turtle Dove, Speckled Pigeon, Drakensberg Prinia (below),
Fork-tailed Drongo, Hadeda Ibis, Common Fiscal, African Sacred Ibis, Helmeted Guineafowl, Cape White-eye, African Stonechat, Egyptian Goose, Yellow-fronted Canary, Green Wood-hoopoe, Cape Crow, Black-headed Heron, Red-billed Quelea, Cape Wagtail, House Sparrow, Southern Red Bishop, Denham’s Bustard, Lanner Falcon, Yellow-billed Duck, Le Vaillant’s Cisticola, Dark-capped Bulbul, Little Grebe (below),
Cape Grassbird, Speckled Mousebird, Cape Parrot, Red-winged Starling, Bar-throated Apalis, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Cape Batis, African Hoopoe, Jackal Buzzard, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Sombre Greenbul, Amethyst Sunbird, Cape Robin-Chat, Bokmakierie, Brown-throated Martin, Olive Thrush, Southern Boubou, Red-necked Spurfowl, African Rail, Common Waxbill, Long-crested Eagle, Grey Crowned Crane, Giant Kingfisher, Spur-winged Goose, African Pipit, Reed Cormorant, White-breasted Cormorant, African Darter, Cape Longclaw, Red-knobbed Coot, Blue Crane, Black Sparrowhawk, Red-collared Widowbird, Rufous-naped Lark, South African Shelduck, Red-chested Flufftail, Blacksmith Lapwing, Hamerkop, Cape Sparrow, Southern Greyheaded Sparrow.
Other sightings include reedbuck
and a jackal, not the farmers’ favourite.