Boston Wildlife Sightings – January 2015

Christeen Grant – Sitamani

Sunsets have been spectacular if the storm clouds have moved off in time.

By Christeen Grant

One midday there was a stunning view of towering thunderstorms over the Southern Drakensberg. That’s the sort of cloud that has been dumping rain here, most afternoons / evenings. Moisture haze builds up quickly in the mornings.

By Christeen Grant

The predominant flower colour has been yellow, thousands of Berkeya setifera glow in the grass around the house.

By Christeen Grant

Brilliant blue patches of Agapanthus campanulatus shine on the rocky hillsides and one of our special flowers, Brunsvigia undulata started flowering a bit earlier this January.

By Christeen Grant

Agapanthus campanulatus

It is a Threatened (Rare) species and was CREW’s (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers) flower of the month.

By Christeen Grant

Brunsvigia undulata

Two species of Gladiolus, Gladiolus ecklonii in two colour variations,

By Christeen Grant

Gladiolus ecklonii

and Gladiolus sericeovillosus, graced the grasslands.

By Christeen Grant

Gladiolus sericeovillosus

A myriad of ground orchids: Eulophia hians ( = clavicornis) nutans,

By Christeen Grant

Eulophia hians ( = clavicornis) nutans

Eulophia ovalis,

By Christeen Grant

Eulophia ovalis

Eulophia tenella,

By Christeen Grant

Eulophia tenella

Eulophia zeheriana,

By Christeen Grant

Eulophia zeheriana

Satyrium cristatum,

By Christeen Grant

Satyrium cristatum

Satyrium longicauda

By Christeen Grant

Satyrium longicauda

and one I had not seen here before, Orthochilus (formally Eulophia) welwitschii though I had to do some sleuth work as it had been severely munched by a bright green cricket (visible amongst the flowers).

By Christeen Grant

Orthochilus (Eulophia) welwitschii

This is what it could have looked like as depicted in Elsa Pooley’s ‘Mountain Flowers’ field guide.

Flower Orchid Orthochilus (Eulophia) welwitschii

Moreaea brevisyla, Tephrosia purpurea, Zaluzianskya microsiphon and Zornia capensis were a few of the other flowers seen during the month.

By Christeen Grant

Moreaea brevisyla

By Christeen Grant

Tephrosia purpurea

By Christeen Grant

Zaluzianskya microsiphon

By Christeen Grant

Zornia capensis

A Black-headed Oriole often sings a liquid call from the tops of trees.

By Christeen Grant

On an evening stroll I heard and spotted several Levaillant’s Cisticolas foraging in the Bracken,

By Christeen Grant

and early in the morning the shy Bokmakierie has joined the moth smorgasbord.

By Christeen Grant

Two of the moths, I think both Slug moths evaded hungry beaks.

By Christeen Grant

By Christeen Grant

A Stick Insect found it’s way onto a kitchen towel

By Christeen Grant

and a dainty Lacewing settled in a dark corner for the day.

By Christeen Grant

Last night as twilight faded a lovely rich chocolate brown adult male Bushbuck wandered through the garden, then on down the slope in front of the house towards the orchard, browsing as he went.

David Clulow: Two wildflower outings this month in Boston

Fern

Fern

The first a camera sortie by Barbara Clulow, Crystelle Wilson and David Clulow clambering around on “Edgeware” hillside – Gordon Pascoe’s portion – where the flowers had changed from a matter of a few weeks before; all quite different to most years at this time.

Epilobium capense

Epilobium capense

The carpets of Eriosemas are still wondering whether they should flower. But we did see two Eulophia which pleased us

Eulophia

Eulophia

and only one of the Pachycarpus/Xysmalobium type, when normaly there would be many.

Schizoglossum

Schizoglossum

The second outing was at “Stormy Hill”, home of Caroline McKerrow, whose riding school made way for a visit to the hillside,

Cycnium racemosum

Cycnium racemosum

together with CREW representatives to search for the uncommon Brunsvigia undulata – with its wavy leaves.

Brunsvigia undulata

Brunsvigia undulata

Happily there were 7 plants seen and photographed together with a wealth of other plants……………..

Moreae

Moreae

Orchid

Orchid

Pelargonium

Pelargonium

Watsonia

Watsonia

Paddy and Sue Carr – Netherby

Paddy and Sue reported a charming tale of an Egyptian chick rescue – having seen the brood on the road near their house, to find shortly after, one chick being taunted by the house cat in Paddy’s study, was alarming. Removing it, Paddy set off to find the parents – and there they were with the other chicks, taking swimming lessons. Calling the chicks away at the sight of the approaching Paddy, the parents made angrily in his direction. He placed the chick on the water and, hearing the parent’s frantic calls, the youngster was soon reunited with the family.

Crystelle Wilson – Gramarye

At the height of summer there is a great variety of grasses maturing in the veld.

Boston_5308_grass

I have no idea what their names are, but do enjoy the diversity of the plants.

Boston_4601_grass

By now most birds have completed their breeding and there are many juvenile birds flopping around, demanding to be fed and learning how to cope in the big wide world.

Nightjar chicks by Peter Geldart

Nightjar chicks by Peter Geldart

A new sighting this month was a pair of Banded Martins with their chick, I don’t often find them in the district.

Banded Martin

Banded Martin

A Spectacled Weaver at the Pickle Pot was new for me, and I saw a Dusky Indigobird for the first time in a long time.

Dusky Indigobird

Dusky Indigobird

Members of the BirdLife Port Natal bird club from Durban visited on 25 January, looking at wetland birds on Gramarye,

Boston_4589_veld

where a highlight was finding a Barn Owl at the river, and then going to the forest on Boston View where a Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher took the honours.

Boston_4592_veld

It was an enjoyable outing and was suitably rounded of by two African Fish-Eagles (an adult and juvenile) circling above Gramarye before the last visitors left.

African Fish-Eagle

African Fish-Eagle

This is the SABAB2 atlas list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000:

Malachite Kingfisher

Malachite Kingfisher

Terrestrial Brownbul, Pale-crowned Cisticola, Banded Martin, Lanner Falcon, Neddicky, Willow Warbler, Cape Glossy Starling, Black Sparrowhawk, Red-throated Wryneck,

Banded Martin

Banded Martin

South African Shelduck, African Firefinch, White Stork, Common Quail, Green Wood-Hoopoe,

White Stork

White Stork

Amur Falcon, Southern Black Tit, Red-billed Quelea, Long-tailed Widowbird, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Barratt’s Warbler, Red-winged Starling, Yellow Bishop, Forest Canary,

Red-billed Quelea

Red-billed Quelea

Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Cape Batis, Bar-throated Apalis, Wailing Cisticola, Sombre Greenbul, African Emerald Cuckoo, Black Cuckoo, Red-chested Cuckoo, African Olive-Pigeon, Speckled Pigeon, Blacksmith Lapwing, Thick-billed Weaver, Pied Starling, Common Moorhen, Helmeted Guineafowl, Red-capped Lark, Yellow-fronted Canary, African Hoopoe,

African Hoopoe

African Hoopoe

African Sacred Ibis, Barn Swallow, African Black Duck, Cape Grassbird, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Bokmakierie, Long-crested Eagle, Cape Canary, Grey Crowned Crane, Black Saw-wing, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Black-headed Oriole, Greater Striped Swallow, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, House Sparrow, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Cape White-eye, Pin-tailed Whydah, Brimstone Canary, Fork-tailed Drongo, Olive Thrush, Amethyst Sunbird, Village Weaver,

Amethyst Sundbird

Amethyst Sundbird

African Dusky Flycatcher, Southern Boubou, Cape Crow, Giant Kingfisher, Zitting Cisticola, Cape Wagtail, Yellow-billed Kite, Jackal Buzzard, Spur-winged Goose, African Pipit, African Darter, Pied Kingfisher, Red-knobbed Coot, Little Grebe, African Rail, White-throated Swallow,

White-throated Swallows

White-throated Swallows

Brown-throated Martin, Cape Longclaw, White-breasted Cormorant, Reed Cormorant, Yellow-billed Duck, Egyptian Goose, Cape Sparrow, Cattle Egret, Cape Robin-Chat, Red-chested Flufftail, Cape Weaver, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Speckled Mousebird, Red-collared Widowbird, Fan-tailed Widowbird, African Stonechat, Diderick Cuckoo, Little Rush-Warbler, Southern Red Bishop, Dark-capped Bulbul, Drakensberg Prinia, Alpine Swift, Horus Swift, African Black Swift, Red-necked Spurfowl, Common Fiscal, Hadeda Ibis, Cape Turtle-Dove, Red-eyed Dove, Burchell’s Coucal.

Common Waxbill

Common Waxbill

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Boston Wildlife Sightings – January 2015

  1. David Clulow

    It is a great thrill to scroll through these superb sightings and many, many thanks to Crystelle and Christeen for such fantastic coverage. And to Twane for putting it all together so attractively

    Like

    Reply
  2. cg58

    Thank you Twane’ for your lovely compilation! Peter Geldart’s Nightjar chicks are sooo very special, and as always Dave and Crystelle have seen and recorded such a rich diversity! ‘See’ you next month! Christeen

    Like

    Reply
  3. Karkloof Conservancy

    Well done Boston on your amazing sightings report! The photographs are beautiful and we have to agree with Christeen that Peter Geldart’s photo of the Nightjar chicks is extremely special! Keep up the fantastic work that you’re all doing.

    Like

    Reply
  4. Inge Vion from Berlin

    Thank you for lovely photos! I was also fascinated by the side article on selfies with snakes!! An excellent way of removing fear of them.

    Like

    Reply
  5. Barry Fiddes Estcourt Brickhill Road.

    Beautiful bird pictures! So much better than paging through “Roberts
    I do not have a suitable camera, Wish I had, Two Rock Pigeons reclining, preening, sunbathing
    on my front lawn for about half an hour at mid day today. completely at ease>

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s