Dargle Wildlife Sightings – February 2015

Oak Tree Cottage – Barry Downard

Chameleon

Chameleon

Saw this chameleon making his way across the lawn... unusually dark colours, but looks like he's just shed his skin.

Saw this chameleon making his way across the lawn… unusually dark colours, but looks like he’s just shed his skin.

And an interesting shot of a mantis and his shadow.

And an interesting shot of a mantis and his shadow.

Jenny Fly

The first photo is of Collared Earth Stars growing in the leaf mould of a yellowwood

Collared Earth Stars

Collared Earth Stars

and the other two of unknown fungi.

Fungi 1

Fungi 1

Fungi 2

Fungi 2

Albury Farm – Pat and Sandra Merrick

While I was deheading flowers 3 weeks ago nearly stood on a puff adder. It did disappear into shrubbery thank goodness but have not done much gardening since. At least we had good rain afterwards. We have had 150mm rain for the month.

Rainbow over garden one morning after storm.

Rainbow over garden one morning after storm.

The Juvenile Blue Crane is doing well and now 3 months old. Still not flying.

Our young blue crane is now two and half months old

Juvenile Blue Crane

 

Dozens of chats are back. Swallows and sparrows nesting once more. The barn owls are still in chimney. Hundreds of toadstools after the rains especially around the oak trees. Pat saw spotted eagle owl on D18 and then again one evening.

Beautiful sunset evening.

Beautiful sunset evening.

He also saw a baby reedbuck under a bug tree one morning while spraying. It ran off. Five Grey Crowned Crane have visited the dam. They nest on our neighbour’s farm and rear 2 to 3 juveniles each year. They have been there for the 30 years that we have lived on the farm. The problem about rearing the young is that there are a couple of water monitors in the dam which seem to eat the young.

Levaillant's Cisticola

Levaillant’s Cisticola

Little grebe, egyptian geese and yellow bill duck have all reared youngsters. Black sunbird (male in flight) female built another nest on glass shade on verandah and she is now sitting. Male pops in and out feeding her.

♂ Amethyst Sunbird in flight

♂ Amethyst Sunbird in flight

The Jackals are still seen during the day. Two Reedbuck carcasses found at the dam. Not sure if they died of natural causes or were attacked and eaten. Still see many reed buck and duiker. Heard ground woodpecker.

Male malachite sunbird

♂ Malachite Sunbird

Female malachite sunbird on kniphofia

♀ Malachite Sunbird on Kniphofia

 

Ten days ago we saw that the aardvark had dug an enormous hole in the side of the hill opposite our house. We called Amy Wilson, who does research on these animals, and she came and set up 3 camera traps. She will be collecting them next week, so hopefully we may be able to show you some footage next month.

White Stork roosting in gum tree.

White Stork roosting in gum tree.

We have had a number of crabs running around. 2 on our verandah and…

Not sure what kind of crab this is

Unidentified Crab

 

… a Steppe Buzzard eating one in our driveway. He took about 5 minutes to devour it but only ate the innards as the shell was left. The Steppe and Jackal Buzzard visit us every few days. They are eating frogs and crabs in our small pools.

Steppe buzzard eating a crab

Steppe buzzard eating a crab

One night the dogs were barking for hours. Pat eventually went out to have a look and found that they had cornered a giant grey mongoose in the stream. A fight ensued and they killed it but not before giving my rottie a severe bite on his face. Fortunately they have had their rabies vaccinations.

Many butterflies in the garden. Took hours of patience to photograph them as they flit around so quickly.

Garden Commodore

Garden Commodore

Common Diadem

Common Diadem

Common Diadem - Hard to believe this is same butterfly with wings closed

Common Diadem – Hard to believe this is same butterfly with wings closed.

 

Citrus Swallowtail (Papilio demodocus)

Citrus Swallowtail (Papilio demodocus)

Unidentified Butterfly

Unidentified Butterfly – flits around very quickly, pale yellow with strange markings on wings with little circles here and there…

My most exciting news is that a month after the cape robins vanished from their nest (last months newsletter) I saw them in the garden one morning sitting on the water spray. They had caught an earthworm and mom was close by watching the antics. They do not look like robins yet. They are brown/grey with mottled chests and reddish tails. I have taken many pics of them swimming in the rock pool each morning.

Juvenile Cape Robin-Chat

Juvenile Cape Robin-Chat

There is also another cape robin still feeding her youngster. I never realised that birds continue to feed and nurture their young for a number of weeks after leaving the nest.

Mom Cape Robin-Chat still feeding juvenile after 6 weeks.

Mom Cape Robin-Chat still feeding juvenile after 6 weeks.

There is also a juvenile (I think) Southern Boubou making use of the rock pool.

Southern Boubou

Southern Boubou

Some wildflowers seen this month:

Impatiens hochstetteri

Impatiens hochstetteri

Crocosmia aurea

Crocosmia aurea

argyrolobium tomentosum (velvety yellow bush pea)

Argyrolobium tomentosum (velvety yellow bush pea)

Bergonia sutherlandii

Bergonia sutherlandii

 

Not sure what these orange fungus things are that grow on broken down trees are called = found in forest

Not sure what these orange fungus things are that grow on broken down trees are called – found in forest

 

Hopedale Farm – Mike & Ann Weeden

Mike and Ann rented the Dargle Conservancy trophy camera from November 2014 up until January this year and thought that they hadn’t captured anything. I managed to locate 1 video of a Reedbuck doe which is available on the “Dargle” Facebook page. I made a screen capture so you can see an image of it.

Reedbuck doe

Reedbuck doe

Copperleigh Farm – Ashley Crookes

Not a good month for the poor snakes, found a few dead ones.

Dead Puffadder killed by dog

Dead Puffadder killed by dog.

Squashed snake (Night Adder I think) and frog on road

Squashed snake (Night Adder I think) and frog on road.

 

Ethan found a dead Red-lipped Herald snake

Ethan found a dead Red-lipped Herald snake.

 

We also had a nice thunderstorm this afternoon (Saturday). Unfortunately we all got caught on top of the hill and were soaked through by the time we got home, but there was a brilliant rainbow afterwards.

Brilliant rainbow after storm

Brilliant rainbow after storm

 

I’ve also been using the DC Trophy camera for a couple of weeks now and managed to capture some of the Yellow-billed ducks and Spurwing geese we have around our little island on Mavela Dam.

Sunset after storm over Mavela Dam

Sunset after storm over Mavela Dam.

 

Egyptian Geese on lawn

Egyptian Geese

 

Will get videos onto the Dargle Facebook page soon. We also had a Barn Owl flying through our shed this past week while we were working with the sheep which was quite exciting.

Frog in shed

Frog in shed

 

Natal Green Snake on the paving.

Natal Green Snake on paving 1

Close up…

Natal Green Snake on paving 2

…and then climbing up into the roof!

Natal Green Snake climbing into roof

Other sightings:

Garden Commodore or Garden Inspector (Precis archesia)

Garden Commodore or Garden Inspector (Precis archesia)

Mushroom gills

Mushroom gills

Toadstool

Toadstool

Kniphofia caulescens - Red Hot Poker

Kniphofia caulescens – Red Hot Poker

 

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4 thoughts on “Dargle Wildlife Sightings – February 2015

  1. David Clulow

    Superb variety of wonderful sightings; very much enjoyed. Hope you enjoyed getting them as much, or more, than I did, viewing them

    Like

    Reply
  2. Meriel mitchell

    Stunning photography – seems to be getting better and better. thank you for sharing interesting wildlife behaviour. Sunset at Mavela Dam is beautiful and the red hot pokers!

    Like

    Reply

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