Boston Wildlife Sightings – July 2014

2014 07 19 Soft winter dawn

Photo of a wintery Boston morning by Christeen Grant

Trevor and Cheryl Scheepers – Lapa Lapa
Two Glossy Starlings frozen to death after minus 9 in early morning; plenty of young Helmetted Guineafowl noticed; a Grey Long-tailed Mongoose hiding in a hole on Lapa Lapa.

Christeen Grant – Sitamani
July has been mixture of warm berg winds, a light dusting of snow followed by a hard frost that burnt off all the Greyia sutherlandii buds before they had really opened, misty days and some very chilly nights.

2014 07 06 Mist

Light snow fell here on 7 July, very damp and cold, the temperature didn’t go above 2C for three days.

2014 07 07 Snowing

A Speckled Pigeon fluffed herself over the eggs she was brooding in the garage, glaring at me with a very beady eye. Her brood of two have hatched since and excited cheeps erupt whenever the parents are near.

Bird Speckled Pigeon

Buddleja salviifolia scent fills the air, all the bushes are covered with blossom.

Plant Buddleja salviifolia

Bees fly busily around the inflorescences and I discovered a tiny greyish-green weevil with a black proboscis!

Plant Buddleja salviifolia with bee and weevil

Halleria lucida are also flowering profusely, an army of ants march up the stems to the flowers.

Plant Halleria Lucida

Leucosidea sericea have just started flowering, still with yellow winter leaves below.

Plant Leucosidea sericea flower

Plant Leucosidea sericea yellow leaves

Seedheads of Agapanthus campanulatus sub. sp. patens

Plant Agapanthus campanulatus subsp patens seedhead

and a Dierama sp. blend with the mellow winter landscape.

Plant Dierama seedheads

In amongst dry branches a ‘flowering’ lichen displayed vivid orange spore.

Lichen

Birds continue to be very vocal and enthusiastic around the garden, Cape White-eyes, Cape Robin-Chats, Southern Boubous, Black-backed Puffbacks, Cardinal Woodpeckers tapping dead wood in the Buddlejas, Long-crested Eagles, Jackal Buzzards and our perennial Cape Sparrow family, that now have a double story nest in the protective thorny lemon tree, to accommodate their growing numbers. Nearby is a large round Ant nest.

Insect Ant nest

One early morning I watched a Black-backed Jackal pick it’s way over the burnt grass through the rocks.

2014 07 08 Winter landscape

A very dear little Climbing Mouse has taken up residence in the kitchen. The first sign it was around was a ‘litter’ of fine ostrich feather strands, from the feather duster, on the washing machine. Good nesting material. Then one morning there it was peeping at me as it balanced on the electric cord. Some mornings it sits in the spice rack as I make coffee. One day it was being very obvious, persistently making it’s self ‘be seen’, making tiny squeaks. Philip called from the other end of the house, “Come quickly, there’s a mouse in the bath. It can’t get out!”. We made a ladder of a towel, the Climbing Mouse hopped on and out of the bath, then we shepherded it out of the window. The mouse in the kitchen was still there when I returned, then disappeared after a beady stare.

Caroline McKerrow – Stormy Hill
Three Mountain Reedbuck, one male and two female, while out horse riding on Mount Shannon.

Bruce and Bev Astrup – Highland Glen
Black-headed Heron in wetland near Elands river. Black-backed Jackal, closest to the house they have ever been

Barbara and David Clulow, visiting Boston:
Cape Crow, Sacred Ibis, Egyptian Geese, Spur-wing Geese, Red-knobbed Coot, African Shelduck.

Pete and Frances Nel – Four Gates
Two Southern Ground Hornbill, A pair of Blue Cranes

Des and Noreen Muller – Fairview
Numbers of Bald ibis in the old mealie felds on Netherby

Crystelle Wilson- Gramarye

In early July David and Barbara Clulow and I visited Tillietudlem Game and Trout Lodge to do a winter birding list for the SABAP2 atlas project. The pentad joins my home pentad at Boston on the western side. As expected in winter, birding was slow, but we were pleased to see a Secretarybird which staff member Wesley Dragt told us about. He said he hadn’t seen any nests, but that same evening he phoned to tell me he had found a nest with two birds in attendance, which is very good news.

Boston_8410_zebra

We also enjoyed watching a pair of African Fish-Eagles flying against a hillside near the dam.We managed a list of 45 in about four hours of birding. At Boston I got 71 for my home pentad over a couple of days, one of which included freezing cold weather with snow dusting the hilltops while I photographed a Malachite Kingfisher

Boston_8491_Malachite-Kingfisher

and a Reed Cormorant at the Elandshoek dam.

Boston_8502_Reed-Cormorant

Tillietudlem Pentad 2935_2955: African Stonechat, Le Vaillant’s Cisticola, Speckled Mousebird, Amethyst Sunbird, Cape Crow, Dark-capped Bulbul, Village Weaver, Red-eyed Dove, Cape Turtle-Dove, Common Fiscal, Cape Wagtail, Speckled Pigeon, Drakensberg Prinia, Buff-streaked Chat, Jackal Buzzard, South African Shelduck, Bokmakierie, African Pipit, Cape Longclaw, Little Grebe, African Fish-Eagle,

Boston_8445_African-Fish-Eagle

Southern Boubou, Egyptian Goose, Black-headed Oriole, Cape Batis, Cape White-eye, Secretarybird, Fork-tailed Drongo, Red-throated Wryneck, African Firefinch,

Boston_8464_African-Firefinch

Cape Canary, Rock Martin, Cape Rock-Thrush, Yellow-fronted Canary, Common Waxbill, Spur-winged Goose, Grey Crowned Crane, Brown-throated Martin, Hadeda Ibis, Yellow-billed Duck, Cape Robin-Chat, Pied Starling, Yellow Bishop, Southern Red Bishop, Fan-tailed Widowbird.

The SABAP2 list for Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000: Speckled Pigeon, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, White-breasted Cormorant, African Firefinch, Reed Cormorant, Common Moorhen, Pied Crow, Yellow-fronted Canary, Cape Canary, Buff-streaked Chat, Green Wood-Hoopoe, African Harrier-Hawk,

Boston_8543_African-Harrier-Hawk

Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, African Hoopoe, Spur-winged Goose, Black Sparrowhawk, Pin-tailed Whydah, Black-winged Lapwing, African Sacred Ibis, Spotted Eagle-Owl, Cape Glossy Starling, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Common Waxbill, Long-crested  Eagle, African Dusky Flycatcher, Brown-throated Martin, Jackal Buzzard,

Boston_8454_Jackal-Buzzard

Bar-throated Apalis, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Drakensberg Prinia, Speckled Mousebird, African Olive-Pigeon, Hamerkop, Cape Weaver, Red-winged Starling, Dark-capped Bulbul, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Three-banded  Plover, Blacksmith Lapwing, Village Weaver, House Sparrow, Amethyst  Sunbird,   Cape Sparrow,  Cape  Robin-Chat, Olive Thrush, Cape White-eye,  Bokmakierie,  Red-necked Spurfowl,  African Rail, Red-knobbed Coot,  Little Grebe, Cape Longclaw,

Boston_8434_Cape-Longclaw-(juv)

Red-capped Lark, African Pipit,  Cape  Wagtail,    Helmeted Guineafowl, South African Shelduck, African Stonechat, Southern Red Bishop, Red-billed Quelea, Cape Crow, Southern Boubou, Fork-tailed Drongo, Black-headed Oriole, Egyptian Goose, Grey Crowned Crane, Common Fiscal, Red-eyed Dove, Cape Turtle-Dove, Hadeda.

Boston_8528_snow

 

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3 thoughts on “Boston Wildlife Sightings – July 2014

  1. Meriel mitchell

    What an amazing collection of photos and equally enthralling reporting …. Rivals any high priced coffee table book! The misty moisty morning landscapes are my best!

    Like

    Reply
  2. Ken and Lorraine Harrison

    Thanks so much for the wonderful photos of plants and birds.
    We specially liked the photo of the flowering lichen.

    Like

    Reply

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