Dargle Wildlife Sightings August 2013

Sue Robinson – Ivanhoe Farm  I enclose a couple of photos of the more than 150 Cape Vultures which visited our Vulture Restaurant after we put a cow there which had to be destroyed after being attacked by jackals while giving birth.


Cape Vulture in Flight


Vultures Gathering


Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres), also known as Kolbe’s Vulture. It is endemic to southern Africa, and is found mainly in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and in some parts of northern Namibia. It nests on cliffs and lays one egg per year.

Rose & Barry Downard – Oak Tree Cottage 

Birds:  Two grey crowned cranes are seen and heard regularly on Moyeni farm next to us. On 30/8, four cranes were seen flying towards Finchley. Three grey crowned cranes were also seen earlier this month over the Sinclair’s farm. Grey herons, yellow-billed kite, amethyst sunbirds, prinias, sparrows, black and pied crows, olive thrush, southern boubou, hoopoes, fiscal shrike. The Egyptian Geese who took over the crows’ nest last month have been sitting on eggs, but have needed to guard the nest from another pair of keen Egyptian Geese. A Cape Robin has become a daily visitor inside our house, and occasionally flies off with some of our cat’s dried kibble in his beak!

Also seen:  Duiker, Natal green snakes, bees, butterflies. Heard:  Fish Eagles, Cape Parrots, Jackals. In flower:  Scadoxis, Freylinia, Kniphofia, Strelitzia, Proteas, Watsonias, Clivias

Nigel Anderson – Lane’s End Farm

There were about 40 Crowned Cranes on Laurie Boshoff’s farm in Lion’s River vlei on Petrus Stroom road

Cranes and farm 009

Gaudy Commodore Butterfly (This is the winter form of Precis octavia sesamus)

Gaudy Commodore  (3)

I have just photographed a Spotted Bush Snake on Lane’s End


Spotted Bush Snake (Philothamnus semivariegatus) is a non-venomous snake in the family Colubridae, distributed from South Africa to Sudan and Guinea. Mostly found in trees in bush and forest areas, where it hunts lizards and Treefrogs. They are excellent climbers and swimmers, and have very good eyesight. Very common and completely harmless to humans.

Craig Cameron: Swallows are back at the Dargle Store!

 Andrew Pridgeon – Copperleigh Farm:  Saw a Red Duiker in the gum trees near La Bon Vie, as well as a Civit Cat in the same spot earlier in the month.

 Ashley Crookes – Copperleigh Farm

The usual array of Yellow Billed Duck, Red-Knobbed Coot, Spurwing Geese, and a pair of Egyptian Geese on our dam. We were also visited by the African Harrier-Hawk or “Gymnogene” which was busy trying to catch something in the Bottle Brush tree. Other birds we spotted included: Starlings, Cape Weaver and sunbirds.

We also had a gorgeous sunset the one evening, we had visitors from up country staying with us and they called me to have a look. I only had about 5mins to capture a few before all the colours disappeared.

sunset mavela

Whilst doing the rounds on the farm, I stopped off at a smaller dam and captured the pic below. Mavela Dam with Inhlosane in the distance

mavela dam inhlosane

Large moth found one night


Wild Aloes flowering in the veld


Malvina van Breemem – Old Furth

We had a Spoonbill here and saw an Otter pair with a youngster on our road.nLots of reedbuck, duiker and bushbuck, plenty of Owl calls, and we heard some Jackal pups in the one plantation near the gate, they must have been calling for their mum.  We have also had numerous sightings of water mongoose.

Nikki Brighton – Old Kilgobbin Farm

Birds: A big group of Spurwinged Geese flying North early in the month. Yellow billed kite spotted on 28 Aug.  Bush black cap, Thickbilled weavers, masked Weavers, Southern Boubou, Olive Thrush, Ring-necked dove, Chorister Robin Chat, Cape Robin Chat, Mousebirds, White Eyes, Sombre bulbuls, Bulbuls,  Cape Parrots, double collared sunbird, amethyst sunbird, Stone chat, fiscal shrike, Grey heron, yellow billed ducks, Jackal Buzzard, Egyptian geese, Cardinal woodpecker, Rock pigeons, ring necked doves, Bronze mannekins.

Mammals: Duikers, reedbuck, bushbuck, scrub hare, Samango monkeys. Lots of vervets along the D17. Other creatures: Gaudy commodore butterflies, frogs starting to call in wetlands, lots of tiny black caterpillars hatching.

Plants: Leucosidea sericea, Halleria lucida, Nemesia (below), Apodolirion buchananii, Cyrtanthus breviflorus, Ursinia tenuiloba, Senecio speciosus, Morea modesta.

nemesia res

Pat and Sandra Merrick – Albury Farm

Took photo of a fiscal shrikes larder on the barbed wire fence (a snake and a frog) and a decapitated bird staked at the end of a pin oak branch.

Steam train 20.7.13 152

Fiscal Shrike Larder (Remains of other birds)

Steam train 20.7.13 151

The chats are busy nesting as have not seen them around the garden for awhile.  A pair of orange throated longclaw arrive now and then. Malachite sunbirds, Olive thrush, cape robins are all in the garden. The yellow bill kites arrived a few days ago.  One had a fight with a jackal buzzard just near our house, probably about territory as the buzzard has been here for some time. Saw a few swallows around the house this morning.

We have a pair of black sparrow hawks nesting in the fork of a very tall gum tree in our avenue.  This is the 2nd year that they are nesting there.  Very hard to see them as the trees are dense and the light not very bright.  When we walk around the area, they fly out and make a lot of screeching noises, so have found it difficult to get a photo. 4-5 spoonbills in dam everyday. 1 sacred ibis arrived a few days ago at the dam.  They never come up to this part of the valley. 4 blue crane at the dam most days, mornings and evenings.  They are eating mielies on the neighbouring farm after combining.  Also saw 3 crowned crane there yesterday.

Sunset in all it’s Glory

August Sitings 2013 028

Many reedbuck on the hills. A few days ago, a ram spent hours chasing a doe around the hill next to the house. A female oribi is seen about twice a week on our boundary. A number of duikers daily.  Coming home one evening we saw 3 duikers and a beautiful bush buck ram about a km from our house on the D 18. A jackal on our private road at noon.  We have seen jackal hunting through the day quite often lately and of course lots of noise at night. The bush pig are digging up large sections of kikuyu on neighbouring farm.

August Sitings 2013 020

I saw some Nguni calves trying to chase a crow off an old cage in our land.  The crow would not budge and seemed to be eating something on top of the cage.  Then as the ngunis got closer, he bent down and it looked either that he was giving the calf some of his food, or just a good morning kiss.  I thought it so special,then mom arrived to see what all the fuss was about.

August Sitings 2013 009

My most exciting moment this month was when we were driving up our road on way home, we saw a reed buck doe suckling a fawn. This was about 5pm and I did not have my camera, and the dogs were on back of bakkie. I raced home, threw the dogs off, grabbed my camera and raced back down the road, thinking what chance of them still being there?  Well they were there, but the fawn had finished feeding.  I got out the bakkie and they stood frozen, looking at me for 10mins. Eventually the doe decided that everything was okay and turned around and walked away. The fawn looked at her for awhile, disappearing in the distance. She then started eating the green shoots for awhile and then lay down next to a rock and long grass. She was so well hidden that I battled to find her in my lens.  I stayed there for half an hour until dark but mother did not return. It was a special sitting for me and I have not seen them since.

August Sitings 2013 016

Éidín Griffin – Witsend

This month has been rather busy at Witsend with a natal green snake in the garden and two puff adders on the veranda. The green snake slid off into the undergrowth and the puffys were caught and relocated up the mountain near indigenous forest with lots of rocky outcrops…nowhere near anybody’s homes or livestock!  Juno very carefully helping to untie the sack with a Puff Adder inside…


Also spotted were the olive woodpeckers, some duiker and a mongoose out hunting (he should have come to the veranda…) A gang of mousebirds made a dramatic appearance, demolished my peas and left. Not at home but in the Dargle neighbourhood I saw 3 crowned cranes below Lemonwoods and two blue cranes at Ivanhoe. What a gorgeous sight.

Mike and Anne Weeden – River Run

We have been fortunate to see two serval, one quite large one which we spotted on a Sunday morning quite close to the house and which I managed to photograph.


We also had a porcupine walking in front of the car for a few hundred metres before it disappeared into the grass. This is the first one we have seen since buying in the Dargle six years ago. The reedbuck and duiker have again been plentiful this month while the swallows which nested under the eaves of the house last year returned on the 21st August; hopefully they are not too early.


Kevin & Margi Culverwell – The Wallows

Lots of bushbuck on our rye pastures in the evenings, with youngsters at foot. We have a male “melanistic” black sparrow hawk spending a lot of time chasing pigeons around the farm. “Our” small flock of 7 Spoonbills has returned to nest in the driveway again, which is delightful. The pair of Spectacled weavers busy building their very tidy long tunnelled nest. All the normal garden birds very busy with their spring activities.

Graham & Vicky Griffin – The Dargle Farm

Some recent sightings with pictures taken by our trail camera. First there was a dead Dassie that we found which we then put down in front of the camera hoping to see something exciting taking it.  We had seen a Serval take a Dassie the week before.  We think it’s a mongoose taking the Dassie.  Otherwise some Jackal, a bush pig and lots of bush buck.

Photos By Trail Camera

Photos By Trail Camera

2 thoughts on “Dargle Wildlife Sightings August 2013

  1. Meriel mitchell

    Once again, Thank you to all you lovely caring folk of the midlands for sharing your special memorable sightings, sharing the sightings, experiences and encounters you have with nature. Exceptionally good pics of the sunset.


  2. David from Howick

    A stupendous record and what a lovely gesture, sharing these wonderful experiences with those of us in less blessed areas



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