Boston Wildlife Sightings – October 2014

Crystelle Wilson – Gramarye

A great find in October was Red-winged Francolin by my nephew, Christiaan Smuts, while we were driving along the road to Ncwadi off the R617. The golden-coloured birds blend in perfectly with yellow winter grass.


With spring in full swing it was good to welcome back the Greater Striped Swallows and some of the warblers, increasing bird lists to over 80 in some pentads. It was also good to see new growth on cabbage trees


and finding tall stands of dierama flowers.


The SABAP2 list for Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000 was:

Burchell’s Coucal, Spotted Eagle-Owl, African Rail, Pied Starling, Brimstone Canary, Yellow Bishop, Wailing Cisticola, Yellow-fronted Canary, African Olive-Pigeon, Bronze Mannikin, Giant Kingfisher, Red-throated Wryneck, African Hoopoe, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Green Wood-Hoopoe, African Fish-Eagle, Cape Glossy Starling, Yellow-billed Kite, African Darter, Red-billed Quelea, Long-tailed Widowbird, African Pipit, Black Sparrowhawk, Speckled Mousebird, Fork-tailed Drongo, Lanner Falcon, Forest Canary, Sombre Greenbul, Amethyst Sunbird, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, African Firefinch, Bokmakierie,


White-breasted Cormorant, Malachite Kingfisher,


Little Grebe, Brown-throated Martin, House Sparrow, Fiscal, Common, Cape Crow, Pied Crow, African Spoonbill, Southern Red Bishop, African Black Duck, Common Moorhen, Drakensberg Prinia, Cape Weaver, White-throated Swallow, Black Saw-wing, Village Weaver, Southern Black Tit, Dark-capped Bulbul, African Sacred Ibis, Egyptian Goose, Spur-winged Goose, Black-headed Heron, African Stonechat, Cape Grassbird, Southern Boubou,


Cape Longclaw, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Blacksmith Lapwing, Yellow-billed Duck, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Jackal Buzzard, Long-crested Eagle, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Greater Striped Swallow, Olive Thrush, Black-headed Oriole,


Cape Canary, Pin-tailed Whydah, Cape Sparrow, Red-necked Spurfowl,


Hadeda Ibis, Red-eyed Dove, Cape Turtle-Dove, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, African Dusky Flycatcher, Cape Robin-Chat, Grey Crowned Crane.

Barbara and David Clulow, visiting Boston on 1 October

Experienced rare and pleasing drizzle, a relief to drought ravaged farms, though cold wind less pleasant. Hardy Yellow-billed Kite soared over Baxters’ dam.

View of indigenous forest, still expanding –


Nearby in a burned patch of old grassland, the new blooms were soon to be seen – Hermannia cristata and depressa. Surprising numbers of Eulophia


Also, Graderia scabra; Ledebouria; Hypoxis; Wahlenbergia; Cucumis; Pentanisia, Kohautia amatymbica

And from same spot, the view of Elandskop to the east –


Visiting the road above Melrose farm dam, the floater flock of Grey Crowned Cranes was soon spotted and despite difficult counting conditions, 69 were recorded.

Also an African Fish-Eagle ranged above, taking a good look at us. Perched on a branch in the dam, two White-breasted Cormorants; on the side of the dam,


Blacksmith Lapwing and nearby a flock of Helmetted Guineafowl. In the distance, Shelduck, Egyptian Geese and Spurwinged Geese.


A Long-crested Eagle, on a pole off the R617, looking very wet. Also a few Sacred Ibis, Village Weavers, Hadedah Ibis, African Stonechat & Cape Crows. Numerous Yellow-billed Ducks on Elandsvlei pan. Seen at Melrose dam: Cormorants perched on old tree stump in dam –BSCormorant-drying-out

In Norwood Forest, alongside road, masses of Geranium schlechteriBSGeranium

Below Edgeware hill, Buzzard showed its back, but flew off when asked to face us.


Pair of Blue Cranes flew in and landed between Norwood forest and dam;


Christeen Grant – Sitamani

Suddenly summer, lots of rain and thunderstorms. Spring green grass dotted with bright flowers happened almost overnight. Spring flowers seen include: Acalypha sp., Ajuga ophrydis,

Plants Ajuga ophrydisArgyrolobium marginatum,

Plants Argyrolobium marginatumAspidonepsis diploglossa,

Plants Aspidonepsis diploglossaBerkheya macrocephala,

Plants Berkheya macrocephalaConvolvulus natalensis,

Plants Convolvulus natalensisEriosema kraussianum,

Plants Eriosema kraussianumHebenstretia dura,

Plants Hebenstretia duraGerbera ambigua,

Plants Gerbera ambiguaHelichrysum pallidum,

Plants Helichrysum pallidumHermannia woodii,

Plants Hermannia woodiiLedebouria sp.,

Plants Ledebouria spMonopsis decipiens,

Plants Monopsis decipiensMoraea graminicola,

Plants Moraea graminicolaPentanisia prunelloides,

Plants Pentanisia prunelloidesVernonia hirsuta & natalensis.

Plants Vernonia hirsutaA lovely population of Kniphofia bracystachya seem to have multiplied this year

Plants Kniphofia bracystachyaand it is the first time that I have noticed Delosperma hirtum on a shale ‘bed’, perhaps because the grass hadn’t hidden it yet this year.

Plants Delosperma hirtumThere have been some lovely moths about, but my favourite find was out in the grass, perfectly camouflaged.

Insects MothThe dawn chorus loud and varied, many birds out courting! My special sightings this month were a pair of Golden-breasted Buntings down near the gate and Swee Waxbills around the house again. One early evening an adult male and female Common Reedbuck with a young one walked past the back of the house.

Insects Caterpillar

Sue and Rory Brighton – Elandsvlei Pair of Grey Crowned Cranes dancing their springtime ballet

Cheryl and Trevor Scheepers – Lapa Lapa Two baby Barn Owls in a tree near the dam

Wizz and David Lawrence – The Willows Spring rains have brought a flurry of birdlife: Village Weavers building nests or practise nests; Green Wood-Hoopoe; African Hoopoe; Speckled Mousebirds; Paradise Flycatcher; Cape Robin-Chat; Hadedah Ibis; Cape Sparrow; Glossy Starling; heard African Fish-Eagle often; Pied Crow; Cape Crow; Helmetted Guineafowl; Southern Boubou

2 thoughts on “Boston Wildlife Sightings – October 2014

  1. David Clulow

    Well done, Nikki, for excellent compilation; and Christine and Crystelle for super photos. Very pleasing. They deserve high praise.



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