Boston Wildlife Sightings – July 2015

Christeen Grant of “Sitamani”:

July and finally winter’s icy teeth start to bite. Many smoky days when fire-breaks have been burnt.

Smoke in the valley

Smoke in the valley

Two snowfalls on the ‘Berg, the last one on the 25 July covered the mountains in a white cap down onto the little berg and dusted Mahaqwa Mountain.

Snow on Mahqwa Mt

Snow on Mahqwa Mt

Snow on the berg, Sani Pass

Snow on the berg, Sani Pass

Although we had no snow here we have had two welcome falls of rain over 12mm. Immediately after the last rain fungi started appearing, what I think might be Sulfur Tufts and False Earth Stars.

False Earth Star

False Earth Star

Possibly the Sulphur Tuft

Possibly the Sulphur Tuft

This month has seen two full moons on the 2 and 30 July, both breathtakingly beautiful.

Full Moon

Full Moon

The dampness has also kick-started new leaf growth in the fire-breaks. Moraea graminicola, Senecio isatideus and tiny Helichrysum globerantum leaves have sprung up.

Leaf of the Moraea graminicola

Leaf of the Moraea graminicola

Leaves of the Senecio isatideus and Helichrysum globerantum

Leaves of the Senecio isatideus and Helichrysum globerantum

Reluctant buds are starting to open on winter flowering shrubs, Glossy Berg Bottlebrush, Greyia sutherlandii, Buddleja salvifolia and Ouhout, Leucosidea sericea.

Glossy Berg Bottlebrush - Greyia sutherlandia

Glossy Berg Bottlebrush – Greyia sutherlandia

Buddleja salvifolia

Buddleja salvifolia

When out trying to get a photo of the delicate Ouhout flowers I became aware of hundreds of buzzing Drone Flies. Everywhere I looked I found them on plants and then realized I’d ‘captured’ a tiny spider as well!

Drone Fly

Drone Fly

Drone fly on Ouhout Leucosidea sericea flower

Drone fly on Ouhout Leucosidea sericea flower

Drone fly with small spider

Drone fly with small spider

A persistent Fork-tailed Drongo reminded me that they are in the garden all year round, as are the pair of Hadeda Ibis.

Fork-tailed Drongo

Fork-tailed Drongo

A delight was a sighting early one evening of a female Common Reedbuck with a very young fawn. Each winter when I see these young animals I am amazed that they are born in such a harsh season. Common Reedbuck spoor and droppings mark their passage around the property. Also seen were a pair of Grey Duiker.

Common Reedbuck droppings

Common Reedbuck droppings

Common Reedbuck spoor

Common Reedbuck spoor

When I pass a particular sunny spot I usually hear a rustle on wood. While standing still and quiet, a shy Agama peeked out from behind the slats.

Agama

Agama

The Striped Skinks are far more brazen, sunning wherever they find a good spot.

Striped Skink

Striped Skink

Rob Geldart of “Boston View”:

It was special to see a Wattled Crane pair at Glandrishok (Myrtle Grove). They were not preparing to breed, as there were no nesting signs yet.

Bruce and Bev Astrup of “Highland Glen”:
A great sighing of 27 Grey Crowned Cranes flew overhead from “Harmony” farm towards “Netherby” farm. We also enjoyed a visit from the delightful House Sparrows.

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

Barbara and David Clulow:

Visiting on 22 July:

We enjoyed watching 3 Grey Crowned Cranes coming in to land on “Elvesida” at the dam, feeding on grasslands and then roosting in the Willowtree for the night.

We also saw Cape Crows; House Sparrows; Sacred Ibis; Egyptian Geese; Village Weavers; Common Fiscal; Red-eyed Dove; cape Turtle Dove. Calling of Common Reedbuck, that unique wistful whistle; calling of the Black-backed Jackal, that chilling urgent threatening sound.

Visting end July 2015:

Juvenile Long-crested eagle on Garmarye, now stopped calling for food and hunting and feeding itself as parents have left.

Long-crested Eagle

Long-crested Eagle

Black-headed Heron on “The Willows”, finding it difficult to balance on the fir in the breeze.

Black-headed Heron

Black-headed Heron

Common Reedbuck in the distance in the rye pastures on “Netherby” farm.

Common Reedbuck

Common Reedbuck

Crystelle Wilson of “Gramarye”:

An unusual sighting for the district was an African Jacana seen at Melrose Dam at the beginning of July. White-faced Ducks and Red-billed Teals were among the other visitors not usually present at the same dam. I was away for much of the month and managed only a few atlas cards with mostly the hardy residents.

These included: Fan-tailed Widowbird, Olive Thrush, Jackal Buzzard, African Darter, Common Moorhen, African Fish-eagle, African Sacred Ibis, Blue Crane, African Rail, Red-knobbed Coot, Little Grebe, Giant Kingfisher, Blacksmith Lapwing, African Pipit, Red-capped Lark,

Red-capped Lark

Red-capped Lark

Bokmakierie, Common Fiscal, Black-headed Oriole, Southern Red Bishop, Common Waxbill, South African Shelduck, Brown-throated Martin, Helmeted Guineafowl, Drakensberg Prinia, Black-headed Heron,

Black-headed Heron

Black-headed Heron

Cape Wagtail, African Stonechat, Spur-winged Goose, Egyptian Goose, Red-necked Spurfowl, Speckled Mousebird, Red-throated Wryneck, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, Dark-capped Bulbul, Fork-tailed Drongo, Long-crested Eagle, Cape Turtle-dove, Red-eyed Dove, Cape Crow, Pin-tailed Whydah, Cape Robin-chat, Village Weaver,

Village Weaver

Village Weaver

Cape Sparrow, Hadeda, Cape Canary and Grey Crowned Crane. The chick ringed at Gramarye earlier this year is now flying strongly with its parents and I love watching the three of them coming to roost at the dam at Elvesida in the late afternoon.

Grey Crowned Crane family

Grey Crowned Crane family

Junior is in the middle of this picture taken on the same night as the first of the two full moons in July.

Full moon

Full moon

And it was also the night when Jupiter and Venus had a close encounter.

Jupiter and Venus

Jupiter and Venus

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2 thoughts on “Boston Wildlife Sightings – July 2015

  1. David

    Some of Boston’s great signs of wellness are found in the many activities of the Boston Country Club, in the way a helping hand is offered when misfortune strikes Boston locals, and the witness such as is seen in these observations, that reassures us that Bostonians are aware of their beautiful surroundings, appreciate them and share them as widely as possible. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

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