Boston Wildlife Sightings for February

Christeen Grant – Sitamani

The highlight this month was the CREW fieldtrip here on the 15 February. See photos of the morning spent on our hillsides looking for wildflowers at:

A multitude of moths have been seen in the early morning beneath the light outside the backdoor. The following, except one, were all taken on the 4 February! 2014 02 Moth 05 2014 02 Moth 02 2014 02 Moth 04 2014 02 Moth 06 2014 02 Moth 07 2014 02 Moth 08 2014 02 Moth 09 2014 02 Moth 10 2014 02 Moth 11 2014 02 Moth 12 If anyone knows of a good Moth field guide book I would be grateful to hear about it. The Field Guide to Insects of South Africa has a very limited selection of moths. Also seen were two types of Antlion, one I’ve never seen before and think is a Long-horned Antlion.

2014 02 Insect Long-horned Antlion

The Mottled Veld Antlion we see occasionally at this time of year. 2014 02 Insect Mottled Veld Antlion Red-collared Widowbirds, Dark-capped Bulbuls, Black-headed Orioles, Fork-tailed Drongos, Hadeda Ibises, Grey-headed Canaries, Cape Sparrows, Cape Robin-Chats, Southern Black Tits, Amethyst Sunbirds, Lesser Striped Swallows, Black and Red-chested Cuckoos calling, Cape White-eyes, Red-winged Starlings, Black-shouldered Kites, Jackal Buzzards, Long-crested Eagles, Rock Kestrels, Steppe Buzzards and Grey Herons, Wailing Cisticolas, Speckled Mousebirds, the call of a Fish Eagle from the dam on Mount Shannon (Mondi) and Spotted Eagle Owls hooting to each other in the early morning and evenings. A Serval sauntered along the servitude road one early morning as I drove out in half light. Several early morning encounters with Duiker and Reedbuck, and Black-backed Jackal calling close to the house at night.

David and Wizz Lawrence – The Willows

We have been watching out for the resident pair of Grey Crowned Cranes, who have hatched three chicks in January, one of which disappeared after the heavy rains; but the other two are growing rapidly. At the end of the month only one chick could be seen in the long grass.

Group of Grey Crowned Cranes in Boston: Flock of 43 Cranes seen regularly on Trelyon, Tembeni, and Four Gates farms. On the latter farm, a report from Pete and Francis Nel of Blue Cranes, a pair of Grey Crowned Cranes and the 3 Southern Ground Hornbills that have been seen there from time to time – now returned for a visit. Boston_3307_Grey Crowned Cranes Barbara Clulow on CREW fieldtrip to Sitamani Amongst many other wildflower photos was this greenish nymph of the Eyed Flower variety of mantid on a Berkheya bloom. Green nymph on Berkheya flower (2) Crystelle Wilson- Gramarye It was good to see about 60-70 Amur Falcons hunting grasshoppers from the wires along the Dargle Road, Boston_3233_ but it was sad to find a White Stork killed by overhead wires along a farm road. _compo_web Both these birds are migrants that travel thousands of kilometres every year to visit us in summer before returning to China or Europe for the northern summer where they breed. The sunbirds in their glorious breeding colours continued to delight as they feed on abundant veld flowers. I was also pleased to find a Groundscraper Thrush near Barrett’s Guesthouse in the Dargle, a bird I haven’t seen in the district for a long time. Boston_3043_Ground-scraper-Thrush The atlas bird list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000 was: Greater Striped-Swallow, Boston_2850_White-throated-Swallow Grey Crowned Crane, Red-eyed Dove, Cape Turtle Dove, Diderik Cuckoo, Cape Robin-Chat, Hadeda Ibis, African Sacred Ibis, Blacksmith Lapwing, Little Grebe, Red-knobbed Coot, Cape Sparrow, Southern Greyheaded Sparrow, Amethyst Sunbird, Boston_2857_Amethyst-Sunbird Le Vaillant’s Cisticola, African Dusky Flycatcher, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Little Rush Warbler, Pin-tailed Whydah, Common Waxbill, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Black Saw-wing, Common Moorhen, Boston_3302_Common-Moorhen Southern Red Bishop, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Cormorant, Black-headed Heron, Cattle Egret, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, African Stonechat, Long-crested Eagle, Boston_2777_Long-crested Eagle_imm South African Shelduck, Boston_2791_ Drakensberg Prinia, Village Weaver, Barn Swallow, Horus Swift, Brown-throated Martin, Spur-winged Goose, Cape White-eye, Common Fiscal, Yellow-fronted Canary, African Reed-Warbler, South African Shelduck, Egyptian Goose, African Darter, African Rail, Bokmakierie, Boston_2891_Bokmakierie Yellow-billed Duck, Red-necked Spurfowl, Cape Crow, Cape Wagtail, Speckled Pigeon, Cape Longclaw, Pied Kingfisher, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Southern Boubou, Fork-tailed Drongo, Dark-capped Bulbul, Steppe Buzzard, Boston_2845_Steppe-Buzzard_juv Sombre Greenbul, Red-winged Starling, Amur Falcon, Red-chested Flufftail, Pied Starling, House Sparrow, Wailing Cisticola, Long-tailed Widowbird, Speckled Mousebird, Thick-billed Weaver, Malachite Sunbird, Boston_2803_Malachite-Sunbird Hamerkop, Boston_3107_Hamerkop Black-headed Oriole, Yellow Bishop, African Emerald Cuckoo, Barratt’s Warbler, Bar-throated Apalis, African Hoopoe, Terrestrial Brownbul, Cape Batis, African Olive Pigeon, Olive Woodpecker, Greater Honeyguide, Yellow-billed Kite, African Quailfinch, Giant Kingfisher. Boston_2878_ David Clulow on The Willows A Monitor Lizard has been seen on a neighbour’s property but has been shot by another nearby smallholder. Why? Same reason as he shoots Genet cats and so satisfies some primeval urge to kill. Thought that would have gone out with Homo erectus having defeated the Neanderthals in Europe, but clearly it was not a total victory.

3 thoughts on “Boston Wildlife Sightings for February

  1. David Clulow

    Thanks for varied coverage and lovely photos. What a pleasure to view. Fine compilation of late summer sightings



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 )

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