Simon Hayes – Hambledon
A fish eagle has been visiting our dam lately, trying rather unsuccessfully to catch a fish.
Maybe the otter in the dam puts him off!
Sandra and Pat Merrick – Albury
We have had sleepless nights this past month with our 3 barn owlets learning to fly.
They have been flying onto our verandah, onto our window sills, causing the alarm to go off as much as 5 times a night. After the alarm went off one night and we saw the owl on the window sill, we also saw a natal red rock rabbit in the garden hopping around. Just may be the one that lived in my formal garden for 4 months as a baby and vanished in March. Things have quietened down this past week, so it looks like the owlets are now hunting on their own. There is still an adult barn owl in the chimney which the other 2 adults keep chasing.
The hamerkop came into the garden again on an overcast day.
We have dozens of sunbirds and most of them have lost their summer colours, so have found it difficult to identify. Greater collared sunbird
Female malachite sunbird
Also many common stonechats and buff streaked chats. Common Stonechat
Some Female African Stonechats (saxicola torquatus) – Thanks to Hugh Bulcock for identifying them as well as the Yellow-throated Petronia.
Hundreds of seed eaters on the lawn every day. Up to 16 sacred ibis on dam every day and the odd spoonbill. Gurney sugarbird
At the beginning of june our 2 adult blue crane arrived at the dam one afternoon and mournfully cried for about ten minutes and then flew off. A few hours later one blue crane arrived and he too also gave a few mournful cries and flew off. I can only guess that mom and dad were saying a sad farewell to their baby as I have not seen them since. I miss them but they will be back next season, I am sure. Cape White-eye
A redthroated wryneck living in corner post in our garden. A pair of shelduck, egyptian geese, spurwing geese, plovers. Black crested eagle, jackal buzzard. Heard the cry of the fish eagle several times during the month. Cape Robin
a Secretary Bird arrived at last for a short while and then flew off
Yellow-throated Petronia (gymnoris superciliaris)
Malachite sunbird in eclipse
Black sunbird – with its tongue out!
One morning saw a Natal red duiker standing in the middle of the road just past Endebeni farm. I stopped the car, went for my camera but it ran back into the bush. I have never seen one here before but I checked out the website and it was definitely a red duiker. Dark auburn in colour, small head and smaller in size than the common duiker.
Lots of reedbuck on the hills and in the long grass around the house. The males have been chasing a female for a couple of weeks now. They came to blows one morning. Walked towards each other, face to face, eyeball to eyeball and then the fight began. Locked horns, pushing backwards and forwards.
One of them went down and I wondered what would happen next but he got up, they looked at each other and calmly walked off.
We had fun with the trail camera. Captured as many as 100 photos in 2 nights with the trail camera we hired for the month (from the Dargle Conservancy). Well worth the R100. Pat changed the camera position about every 5 days. Some very interesting photos of the owls with the owlets practising their jumping and flapping skills before learning to fly. They have been flying for the last 2 weeks.
We also saw many jackal in the bush. One running up the burn at 7am one morning.
male bush buck,
and lastly a beautiful caracal which is very special.
Many male and female reedbuck on our road to the house. Strangely no images of bush pig or female bush buck were captured.
Robin Barnsley – Sanctuary
Saw a Genet up the tree late one night when I arrived home. Also saw the one-horned Bushbuck that attacked Jenny Fly a few months ago.
Ashley Crookes – Copperleigh Farm
Have seen the Vervet Monkey’s on the corner of our farm near Barret’s Country house on quite a few occasions. This morning I saw a Reedbuck take off up the hill when putting out salt lick for our cows.
Dieter Setz – Wakecroft
At present this is the only colour, even with frost on it, along the riverbed
Bugweed (Solanum mauritianum) or what is left of it after strong frost
Don’t know the name of this weed. It flowers, seeds and is frost resistant (all in one) and no animal eats it. Can anybody out there shed some light on it?
Here is the most hated flower by hikers and people walking in the veld – Blackjacks!
These tiny little flowers are flowering now and have a very pleasant sweet scent
Strawflowers are hanging in as well
The frost got hold of these wild melons as well.
Images from the Trail Camera: a Small Antelope
Porcupine and Jackal
Common Male Duiker
I spent most of the month beside the seaside, so have nothing interesting to report for Dargle. If you are interested, you can see what I saw at the beach here: https://plantabundance.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/east-coast-abundance-figs-flowers-and-footprints/
Keep an eye on the Dargle Facebook page for local news. Video footage of the Barn Owls captured at the Merrick’s property will be posted soon. https://www.facebook.com/dargle.kzn