Christeen Grant – Sitamani
Windy and dry, no real rain to speak of, a myriad of brave flowers appearing, albeit that they seem to be smaller than usual. Small jewels glowing brightly: Argyrolobium marginatum;
Chrysanthemoides monilifera, Common Tickberry with flowers and ‘tick’ berries;
Dieramas including latifolium;
two types of Hebenstretia comosa (a first for me)
and Hebenstretia dura;
several Hypoxis including argentea;
Pachycarpus natalensis just about to open;
Senecio oxyriifolius with it’s insignificant ‘old paintbrush’ type flowers
and Tulbaghia leacantha were some of the flowers out.
Large congregations of hibernating ladybirds, (some in a safe place in the bathroom for winter, unfortunately both indigenous and alien varieties),
have migrated out into the new foliage that has attracted many smaller bugs, to feast.
Black-headed Orioles send out liquid sound from the treetops. Southern Black Tits, Red-collared Widowbirds, Fork-tailed Drongos, Hadeda Ibises, Grey-headed Canaries and Cape Sparrows with young are frequently in the garden foraging.
A Caracal sauntered past our bedroom window one misty morning, causing great consternation to Tigger our cat when he ventured out a bit later. Duiker and Common Reedbuck are both seen fairly frequently.
Crystelle Wilson – Gramarye
Raptors can be notoriously difficult to identify, especially because the plumage of juvenile and adult birds can differ vastly. I had to keep my wits about me this winter with all the juvenile Jackal Buzzards about.
Their plumage differed from rufous-tinged to straw-coloured and it is only because I knew the Steppe Buzzards have not arrived from Russia for summer yet that I got them sorted. The so-called “diagnostic” band across the chest of the Steppe Buzzard also seemed to appear in the Jackal Buzzard’s plumage as well.
And just to confuse the issue, there is the Forest Buzzard, but here the tear-drop shapes on the chest and paler eyes help with the identification.
The list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000 is: Jackal Buzzard, Olive Thrush, Village Weaver, Speckled Mousebird, Cape White-eye, Cape Turtle-Dove, Red-eyed Dove, Helmeted Guineafowl, Southern Boubou, Common Swift, Fork-tailed Drongo, Little Grebe, Egyptian Goose, Cape Crow, Hadeda Ibis, Cape Batis, Common Fiscal, Cape Robin-Chat, Dark-capped Bulbul, Cape Canary, Spur-winged Goose, African Sacred Ibis, Blacksmith Lapwing, African Stonechat, Cape Wagtail, Red-necked Spurfowl, Yellow-billed Kite, Drakensberg Prinia, Cape Grassbird, Barratt’s Warbler, Burchell’s Coucal, African Olive-Pigeon, Black Saw-wing, White-breasted Cormorant, Grey Crowned Crane, Common Quail, Southern Red Bishop, Le Vaillant’s Cisticola, Fan-tailed Widowbird, African Rail, Red-chested Flufftail, South African Shelduck, Cape Longclaw, Bokmakierie, Red-billed Quelea, Cape Weaver, African Darter, Yellow-billed Duck, Reed Cormorant, African Pipit, Rufous-naped Lark,
Orange-breasted Waxbill, Cape Sparrow, Southern Greyheaded Sparrow, Pin-tailed Whydah, Greater Striped Swallow, Black-headed Heron, Cape Glossy Starling House Sparrow, Blue Crane, White-throated Swallow, Brown-throated Martin, Three-banded Plover, Pied Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Red-knobbed Coot, Sombre Greenbul, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Southern Black Tit, Forest Canary, Cape Parrot, Yellow Bishop.
David Clulow: Jackal Buzzard, Sacred Ibis, Cape Crow, Blacksmith Lapwing, Spurwing Goose; Egyptian Goose, Cape Sparrow, House Sparrow, Village Weaver, Red-knobbed Coot, Little Grebe, African Stonechat, Yellow-billed Duck, all within two hours.
Dave and Wizz Lawrence – The Willows: African Hoopoe, COmmon Waxbill, Red Headed Quelea
From The Willows garden on 23 September: Cape Turtle-Dove; Southern Boubou; Village Weavers; Red-billed Quelea; Grey Crowned Cranes in the wetland; Sacred Ibis; Hadedah Ibis; House Sparrow feeding young on verandah; Grey-headed Sparrows also breeding on verandah; Bokmakierie; Blacksmith Lapwing in wetland; Cape Sparrow; Jackal Buzzard; African Spoonbill in wetland; Speckled Mousebirds.
Overlooking Melrose farm dam on 10 September: Jackal Buzzard, Dark-capped Bulbul, Blacksmith Lapwing in wetland, Cape Crow, Egyptian Geese, Red knobbed Coot, Little Grebe, Sacred Ibis, African Stonechat, Reed Cormorant, Yellow-billed Ducks.
Bruce and Bev Alstrup – Highlands Glen
Afternoon of 30 September – Black headed Heron, VIllage Weavers, White necked Raven, Pied Crow, European Starling, Yellow-billed Kite, Egyptian Goose, African Harrier Hawk, Long-crested Eagle on newly foliaged Willow tree, contrasting with green and brown pastures!