Boston Wildlife Sightings – March 2014

Caroline McKerrow Stoney Hill one Bushbuck; one Duiker; two Common Reedbuck; one Vlei Rat; a Snake – presumed Boomslang?  This is a picture of snake inspecting the plumbing on outside of house.

IMG_4993

boomslang?

Christeen Grant Sitamani I love this time of year when the heat of summer has abated; the weather settled to stunning days in golden sunshine and the mellowness of Autumn is creeping in. Many insects, including butterflies and moths, have been around. If anyone had been watching me stalk this tiny butterfly, about 25mm, over the lawn, they would have rolled around laughing! It did help though to post the photos on the Facebook group: Southern Africa Butterflies, Bugs, Bees and other small things, where Steve Woodhall gave me a possible ID: a female Common Zebra Blue, of the Leptotes genus; most likely to be Leptotes pirithous.

2014 03 Butterfly 01 Zebra Blue female

Zebra Blue female

Sharing, seeing and learning from a Facebook group is an unexpected pleasure. Excellent photos from all over Southern Africa are posted and friendly expert advice and ID’s offered, really quickly.

2014 03 Butterfly 02 Zebra Blue female Blue

Zebra Blue female Blue

Some of the other insect-life seen were: Grasshoppers;

2014 03 Insect 01

Grasshopper

 

2014 03 Insect 02 Locust Heteracris

Locust Heteracris

a myriad of Beetles including some with amusing common names:

2014 03 Insect 03 Museum beetle

Museum beetle

 

2014 03 Insect 04 Stink bug

Stink bug

 

2014 03 Insect 05 Pleasing fungus beetle

Pleasing fungus beetle

and a fantastic diversity of fast moving Flies, one in particular of the Philoliche genus intrigued me!

2014 03 Insect 08 Fly Philoliche sp

Fly Philoliche sp

Three main flowers caught my eye, as they shone in numbers in the grassland: brilliant yellow swathes of Helichrysum cooperi;

2014 03 Plant 01 Helichrysum cooperi

Helichrysum cooperi

tall, graceful, Plectranthus calycinus;

2014 03 Plant 02 Plectranthus calycinus

Plectranthus calycinus

and the stunning, regal, Leonotis leonurus.

2014 03 Plant 03 Leonotis leonurus (1)

Leonotis leonurus

A variety of fungi appeared after rain, Boletus edulis growing under the Pin Oak avenue attracted Bush Pig, who literally ploughed up the earth in their eagerness to eat them!

2014 03 Fungi 01 Boletus edulis (1)

Boletus edulis

One early morning in half light I saw ‘big daddy’ Bush Pig sauntering off into the pine trees on Mount Shannon across from our gate, and on another morning driving out, really lovely sighting of the Caracal. Common Reed buck are round the house at night, resting on the hillside during the day. The Common Duiker love the Sweet Chestnuts that have fallen and can often be seen munching! Most evenings Black-backed Jackal call from the valley. An occasional visitor, the African Harrier-Hawk, swooped into the trees looking for fledglings. 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, and Spotted Eagle Owls hooting to each other in the early morning and evenings.

Boston_4747_Black-shouldered-Kite

Black-shouldered-Kite by Crystelle Wilson

Rob and Celia Spiers – The Rockeries  2 young Berg Adders and a young Green House Snake run over in the driveway. Cape Parrots in the Pecan Nut trees David and Barbara Clulow during a visit to Boston on 30 March; Spur-winged Geese; Red-eyed Dove; Common Fiscal; Barn Swallows, feeding and perching.  During a visit to Boston for four days from 13 March to 16 March: Grey Crowned Cranes with chicks at “The Willows; “Elandsvlei”; “Melrose” Crystelle Wilson Gramarye There are three Grey Crowned Crane families raising chicks that I came across this month. Apart from the one surviving chick (out of three hatchlings) at The Willows

Grey-Crowned-Crane_5140_The Willows

Grey-Crowned-Crane The Willows

there are two juveniles at Melrose Dam

Boston_4884_Grey-Crowned-Crane_Melrose Dam

Grey-Crowned-Crane_Melrose Dam

and next door at the dam at Boston Tea Party there is a youngster of a few weeks old.

Boston_4905__Grey-Crowned-Crane_Boston T-Party dam

Grey-Crowned-Crane_Boston T-Party dam

On the way to Howick one day I was very pleased to see a Martial Eagle near the Base Camp (Four Trees) site. This month we also said goodbye to migrants such as Barn Swallows, Amur Falcons,

Boston_3799_Amur-Falcon_fem

Amur-Falcon female

White Storks and Steppe Buzzards.

Boston_3787_Steppe-Buzzard_imm

Steppe-Buzzard imm

Fork-tailed Drongo, Dark-capped Bulbul, Cape Sparrow, Southern Greyheaded Sparrow, Cape White-eye, Cape Turtle Dove, Red-eyed Dove, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Common Fiscal, African Stonechat, Black Saw-wing, Southern Red Bishop, Drakensberg Prinia, Cape Crow, Zitting Cisticola, House Sparrow, Le Vaillant’s Cisticola, Hadeda Ibis, Cape Wagtail, Cape Longclaw, White-throated Swallow, Barn Swallow, White Stork, Black-headed Heron, Cape Grassbird, Red-knobbed Coot, Common Moorhen, Yellow-billed Duck,

Boston_4212_Yellow-billed-Duck

Yellow-billed-Duck

Little Grebe, Egyptian Goose, Blacksmith Lapwing,

Boston_5250_Blacksmith-Lapwing

Blacksmith-Lapwing

Sombre Greenbul,

Boston_4064_

Sombre-Greenbul

Bokmakierie, Cape Weaver, Malachite Sunbird, Speckled Mousebird, Pale-crowned Cisticola, Steppe Buzzard, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Common Waxbill, Red-collared Widowbird, Amethyst Sunbird, Greater Striped-Swallow, Cape Robin-Chat, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Little Rush-Warbler, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Barn Owl, Giant Kingfisher, Pin-tailed Whydah, African Reed-Warbler, Grey Crowned Crane, Red-necked Spurfowl, Reed Cormorant, White-breasted Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Dideric Cuckoo, African Rail, Pied Starling, Pied Crow, Brown-throated Martin, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Yellow-fronted Canary, Bar-throated Apalis, Cape Batis, Amur Falcon, Long-crested Eagle, Hamerkop, Spur-winged Goose, Pied Kingfisher, African Hoopoe, Long-tailed Widowbird, South African Shelduck, African Dusky Flycatcher, African Sacred Ibis, Southern Boubou, Thick-billed Weaver, Yellow-billed Kite, Cape Glossy Starling,

Boston_4103_

Cape-Glossy-Starling

African Olive-Pigeon,

Boston_5292_African Olive Pigeon

African Olive Pigeon

Jackal Buzzard, Yellow Bishop, Forest Canary, Southern Double-collared Sunbird,

Boston_MG_0243_Southern-Double-collared-Sunbird

Southern-Double-collared-Sunbird

Speckled Pigeon, Terrestrial Brownbul. Flight of 32 Grey Crowned Cranes on 21 March.

2014 March Grey Crowned Crane (2)

Grey Crowned Cranes in flight

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