Boston Wildlife Sightings December 2013

Crystelle Wilson – Gramarye

Cape Longclaw

Boston_7859_Cape LongclawOn early morning walks at The Drift farm I came across a water mongoose

Boston_7332_water mongooseand a black-backed jackal

Boston_6932_jackal while in the wetland on Gramarye which was burnt late winter it was gratifying to meet a crab

20131225_070013_craband seeing the vegetation flourishing, including a beautiful gladiolus flower.

20131229_064109_gladiolusBird sighting of the month was Black Harrier, the first time I’ve ever seen one of these in the district. The bird is endemic to Southern Africa and has the most restricted range of the 13 harrier species worldwide. It hunts over dry and damp grasslands, fynbos and karoo and its breeding stronghold is in the south western parts of the country.  Another new listing for the Elandshoek pentad was Southern Pochard, only the second time I’ve seen the duck in the area, as was the pair of European Rollers which I saw for the second time after several years in the same spot near the Good Hope dams.

Boston_7820_European RollerBlack-crowned Tchagra and Golden-breasted Bunting were also new additions to that pentad. The list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000: Diederik Cuckoo, Pin-tailed Whydah, Cape Sparrow, Southern Greyheaded Sparrow, Dark-capped Bulbul, Cape White-eye, Amethyst Sunbird, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Greater Striped-Swallow, Cape Turtle Dove, Red-eyed Dove, African Firefinch, Hadeda Ibis, Southern Boubou, Cape Robin-Chat, African Harrier-Hawk, Black Saw-wing, African Hoopoe, Yellow-billed Kite, Spur-winged Goose,

Boston_7951_Spur-winged GooseCape Canary, Le Vaillant’s Cisticola, Fan-tailed Widowbird, African Stonechat, Little Rush-Warbler, Fork-tailed Drongo, Drakensberg Prinia, Egyptian Goose, Yellow-billed Duck, Cattle Egret, Helmeted Guineafowl, Common Waxbill, African Reed-Warbler, Red-collared Widowbird,

Boston_7909_Red-collared WidowbirdCape Wagtail, Brown-throated Martin, Common Fiscal, Cape Crow, Red-necked Spurfowl, Cape Grassbird, Dusky Indigobird, Zitting Cisticola, Speckled Pigeon, Southern Red Bishop,

Boston_6601_Southern Red BishopCape Weaver, Village Weaver, African Rail, Cape Longclaw, Bokmakierie, Red-billed Quelea, African Darter, Red-knobbed Coot, Little Grebe, White-breasted Cormorant, African Pipit, Malachite Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Grey Crowned Crane, White-faced Duck, Black-headed Heron, Blue Crane, White-throated Swallow, Barn Swallow, Pied Starling, Black Sparrowhawk, House Sparrow, Amur Falcon, Steppe Buzzard, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Jackal Buzzard, Sombre Greenbul, Blacksmith Lapwing, Banded Martin, Wailing Cisticola, Hamerkop, Red-chested Cuckoo, Yellow Bishop, Long-tailed Widowbird, Bar-throated Apalis, Black-backed Puffback, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, African Emerald Cuckoo, Forest Canary, Alpine Swift, Burchell’s Coucal, Olive Thrush, Black-headed Oriole, Long-crested Eagle, Red-throated Wryneck, Common Moorhen, Red-chested Flufftail.

Trevor and Cheryl Scheepers of Lapa Lapa: Four Buff-spotted Flufftail chicks in the garden

Bruce and Bev Astrup of Highland Glen: Watched Crested Barbet shinning up tree in garden; Burchell’s Coucal; Red-shouldered Widowbird; Red-chested Cuckoo (Piet-my-Vrou), calling. Saw the pair of Spotted Eagle-Owls in the evening in Basket Willows alongside the Elands river, and further sightings of  the Crested Barbet – appear to be nesting in the Weeping Willow along with Fork-tailed Drongos, Darkcapped Bulbuls, Village Weavers, Long-crested Eagle; Elands river over its banks last night, 22nd Dec, and a couple of Village Weavers nests are upmarket with running water.

Christeen Grant – Sitamamani

December has continued to be wet, many afternoon thunderstorms, fortunately only small hail a few times. Many fungi have sprung up including Earth Stars

2013 12 Fungi 03 Earth Starsand Amanita pantherina.

2013 12 Fungi 05 Amanita pantherinaThey quickly shrivel and fade when the sun comes out again.

2013 12 Fungi 04

2013 12 Fungi 01For the first time I found a large patch of Clubmoss, Lycopodium clavatum on a moist slope.

2013 12 Fern Clubmoss Lycopodium clavatumA few interesting invertabrates have been around, a Harvestmen, Order Opilones was sitting near the kitchen door.

2013 12 Harvestmen Order OpilionesA Lunate Blister Beetle, Decapotoma lunata was seen on a Hypoxis 

2013 12 Insect 01 Lunate Blister Beetle Decapotoma lunataand an unusual moth of the Goat Moths, family Cossidae settled for the day on the backstep.

2013 12 Insect 03 Goat Moth fam Cossidae In amongst the grasses, very cleverly camouflaged was a Green lynx spider a Oxyopidae Peucetia sp.

2013 12 Spider Green lynx spider Oxyopidae Peucetia spThere are a multitude of jewel like flowers scattered over the hillside: Agapanthus caulescens,

2013 12 Plant Agapanthus caulescensAnthericum cooperi,

2013 12 Plant Anthericum cooperiAspidonepsis diploglossa,

2013 12 Plant Aspidonepsis diploglossaConvoluvus natalensis,

2013 12 Plant Convoluvus natalensisCyanotis speciosa (particularly prolific this year),

2013 12 Plant Cyanotis speciosaDipcadi viride (and amongst the brown coloured ones a green one which echoes it’s given name),

2013 12 Plant Dipcadi viridea first for me Drimia spaerocephala,

2013 12 Plant Drimia sphaerocephalaEriosema distinctum,

2013 12 Plant Eriosema distinctumEucomis autumnalis,

2013 12 Plant Eucomis autumnalisGladiolus ecklonii,

2013 12 Plant Gladiolus eckloniiHibiscus aethiopicus,

2013 12 Plant Hibiscus aethiopicusHypericum lalandii,

2013 12 Plant Hypericum lalandiiMoraea brevistyla,

2013 12 Plant Moraea brevistylaNemesia caerulea,

2013 12 Plant Nemesia caeruleaOrnithogalum graminifolium,

2013 12 Plant Ornithogalum graminifoliumPachycarpus dealbatus,

2013 12 Plant Pachycarpus dealbatusPapaver aculeatum,

2013 12 Plant Papaver aculeatumRubus ludwigii

2013 12 Plant Rubus ludwigiiand Zantedeschia albomaculata were some of them flowering during the month.

2013 12 Plant Zantedeschia albomaculataOn a walk over Mondi’s Mt Shannon, in and near a rather murky pool of water, we saw a Common Platanna Xenopus laevis, 2013 12 Amphibian 02 Common Platanna Xenopus laevisa Common River Frog  Afrana angloensis

2013 12 Amphibian 01 Common River Frog Afrana angloensisand a Swamp Bluet Africallagma glaucum.

2013 12 Insect 02 Swamp Bluet Africallagma glaucumCREW fieldtrip on Edgeware on 13 December, searching for Schizoglossum bidens and ‘new’ Moraea, last seen on 28 December 2012. The very late rains had arrived too late to bring out the hoped-for plants, so the few CREW and helpers, who were available to make the climb up the hillside were disappointed and when eventually the rains did show that they meant business, it was helter-skelter to a waiting car driven by a kindly rescuer,  Celia Speirs, who came to assist Suvarna Parbhoo, Christina Potgieter, Barbara Clulow and others, who were somewhat wet through. A few flowers were recorded, which compared to the usual masses at this time of the year, was a slight compensation.   The lists up until then were of 155 species on Edgeware and this outing added another 7 new species – photos by Barbara Clulow  – including Asclepias cucullata

asclepias culcullataCycnium racemosum for first time on Edgeware

Cycnium racemosumTephrosia macropoda

Tephrosia macropodaPelargonium alchemilloides

Pelargonium alchemilloidesNot the first time, but a lovely Asclepias albens

Asclepias albensThe hard cover book of the 100 most highly threatened South African plant species, “Plants in Peril”, has been published.  Boston CREW is represented therein with Barbara Clulow, Christeen Grant and David Clulow at Impendle Nature Reserve, where the rare plant, Asclepias concinna, was found earlier. This impressive book is available from Suvarna Parbhoo at 082 354 5649. An extract:  Asclepias concinna

Asclepias concinnaGomphocarpus photographed by Crystelle Wilson of Gramarye on the edge of the Norwood forests. The one seen before in the area is a physocarpus and is described in Elsa Pooley’s “Wildflowers of KZN” as being white flowers, which is the case; so this is an interesting variation – Darwin would have been intrigued.


8 thoughts on “Boston Wildlife Sightings December 2013

  1. David Clulow

    One is absolutely blown away by these magnificent photographs – they must be allowed to speak for themselves. What delight ………..


  2. Meriel mitchell

    What a treat to look at such such good quality colour photos, particularly of the flowers, on my iPad. Thank you for sharing and compiling the info for us.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s