Boston Wildlife Sightings – June 2014

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!

Mammal Serval kitten

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.

Mammal Mt Reedbuck 02

On the 6 June we awoke to a winter wonderland.

2014 06 06 Snowy morning

June has been a delight of bird sightings. A winter wash of White-eyes,

Bird Cape White-eyes

Dark-capped Bulbuls,

Bird Dark-capped Bulbuls

Cape Canaries and Drongos enjoying the bird bath.

Bird Cape Canary

The Speckled Pigeons love preening in the sunshine on top of the roof

Bird Speckled Pigeon

and Cape Turtle Doves forage on the lawn.

Bird Cape Turtle-Dove

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

Insect Bee in Soap Aloe

and a Gaudy Commodore (winter form).Insect Gaudy Commodore winter form

Bared branches reveal colourful lichen.

Lichen

A few flowers caught my eye, Aloe maculata, Common Soap Aloe;

Plant Aloe Maculata Soap Aloe yellow form

Buddleja dysophylla with dainty white drifts of blossom

Plant Buddleja dysophylla

and Euryops laxa’s yellow star-like flowers in the dry grass.

Plant Euryops laxus

Searsia dentata leaves glow in russet colours.

Plant Searsia dentata

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.

Boston_7420_Black-winged-Lapwing

The list for Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000: African Hoopoe, Red-eyed Dove, Cape Turtle Dove, Hadeda Ibis, Cape Crow, Cape Sparrow,

Boston_7630_Cape-Sparrow_juv

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,

Boston_7299_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,

Boston_7617_Pin-tailed-Whydah-male

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.

Boston_8474_Cape-Wagtail

 

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