Christeen Grant – Sitamani
June has been a month of wonderful surprises!
In the early hours of the 15 June, gusty wind blew in the darkness outside my window. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a whitish shape flash past and thumping noises on the verandah, but thought it was just wind blown objects. Then a definite bump on the windowpane and two bright eyes beneath large ears revealed a Serval kitten, who seemed intent on trying to get in. When I got up for a closer look it looked back at me then ran off into the darkness. Two weeks later at 6.30am on 27 June, before sunrise, what I think was the same kitten, was dozing beneath the bay tree outside the kitchen door. This time it stayed long enough for me to photograph it!
The day before a family of three Mountain Reedbuck, a male, female and a youngster; grazed near the garages in the afternoon. My apologies for the poor images, but I only had my cell phone on me.
On the 6 June we awoke to a winter wonderland.
June has been a delight of bird sightings. A winter wash of White-eyes,
Cape Canaries and Drongos enjoying the bird bath.
The Speckled Pigeons love preening in the sunshine on top of the roof
and Cape Turtle Doves forage on the lawn.
One morning I watched an African Harrier-hawk swoop from tree to tree. The Fish Eagles iconic call floats up from the valley on most days.
Careful inspection of flowers and fallen leaves revealed a Bee about to enter an aloe flower
Bared branches reveal colourful lichen.
A few flowers caught my eye, Aloe maculata, Common Soap Aloe;
Buddleja dysophylla with dainty white drifts of blossom
and Euryops laxa’s yellow star-like flowers in the dry grass.
Searsia dentata leaves glow in russet colours.
Crystelle Wilson – Gramarye
Birding in winter is hard work and it is not easy to get more than 60 species on an atlas card. Some birds migrate to Europe or Africa north of the equator, following summer, while others do altitudinal migration to the coast. Like I did for most of the month, hence only a short list for this month! Most of the widowbird, weaver and bishop males have lost their breeding colours and it is more difficult to distinguish between species. The Pintailed Whydah male is also far less aggressive at the feeding table. The Black-winged Lapwings were also still present in the district.
The list for Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000: African Hoopoe, Red-eyed Dove, Cape Turtle Dove, Hadeda Ibis, Cape Crow, Cape Sparrow,
Village Weaver, Black-headed Oriole, Common Fiscal, Helmeted Guineafowl, Southern Greyheaded Sparrow, African Pipit, Egyptian Goose, South African Shelduck, Spur-winged Goose, African Stonechat, Speckled Mousebird, Drakensberg Prinia, Dark-capped Bulbul, Fork-tailed Drongo, Cape Robin-Chat, Cape White-eye, Grey Crowned Crane, Giant Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Duck, Green Wood-hoopoe, Long-crested Eagle,
African Firefinch, Red-necked Spurfowl, Red-throated Wryneck, Cape Longclaw, Black Sparrowhawk, African Rail, Le Vaillant’s Cisticola, Common Waxbill, Fan-tailed Widowbird, African Sacred Ibis, Black-headed Heron, Pin-tailed Whydah,
Southern Boubou, Bokmakierie, Red-knobbed Coot, Common Moorhen, Southern Red Bishop, Red-billed Quelea, Cape Glossy Starling, Little Grebe, Brown-throated Martin, Jackal Buzzard, Sombre Greenbul, Red-winged Starling, Speckled Pigeon, House Sparrow, Pied Starling, Black-winged Lapwing, Reed Cormorant, African Dusky Flycatcher, Red-capped Lark, African Darter, Cape Wagtail.