Pat and Sandra Merrick – Albury Farm
We have been spoilt this month by the visitation of a pair of wattled crane every few days. The one is ringed – Left leg: large white and Right leg: small red over small blue. Quite distinctive in the photo. The other one is not ringed but has a limp. This sighting will be reported to the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Crane Programme.
The black sparrow hawks nest has been taken over by egyptian geese. I have seen them flying through the trees but not sure if they are going to build another nest in the gum trees like last year. Every night at sunset about 50 ibis (ha de das) stop at the dam to drink and then fly over the house in various numbers.
Found 2 dead Reedbuck at the dam. Not sure how they died as only bones left and little flesh.
Bees swarming a few weeks ago down the chimney which chased the owls away as have not seen or heard them since. For days lots of dead bees around the house.
9 Waterbuck still on farm and neighbouring farms. The day after the snow, they were lying up against the stone wall out of the wind, trying to keep warm.
One morning 9 wattled crane flew south over the house.
An african hoopoe been visiting our garden which is unusual.
One morning a frantic female duiker was running around the hills smelling the ground and following a scent – not sure if the jackal scent or perhaps the scent of her lost baby which had been taken by the jackal. This went on for 30 minutes and she kept returning to one particular spot in front of our farm gate. The next day 2 duikers were chasing each other around the farm – going at such speed could not see what sex.
A great sighting this month was a female sentinel rock thrush which is a first for us.
Cape Longclaws visit our garden every few days.
Saw black shouldered kite, crowned grey crane, blue crane only once.
There has been a lot of activity on our road and neighbours road with the aardvark digging huge holes. On the hill behind our house, there were distinct claw marks on the rocks where he tried to pull them out, trying to get to the termites beneath. We therefore asked Dr Amy Wilson (Shuttleworth) to bring up her trail cameras – we put 3 up on neighbour’s farm (Paul Smit) and after a week brought them back to our place and placed them up at the stone wall where there is a rickety old gate where the animals climb through. Unfortunately, we had no luck with pics for the elusive aardvark but plenty of other interesting sightings.
Rupert Powell Bukamanzi Cottage
With everyone hunkered down for the winter and not all that much on there is a lot more time for Wuthering Heights moments such as these, out on the hills:
Sometimes the gloom can be more beautiful than the more obvious golden afternoons, I think. The same goes for lesser Dargle wildlife, such as the sociable spiders who have been busy in the grassland (Oh, hello Daphne! is that you?!)
This great big hairy number got very sociable indeed, and fell out of a curtain in the cottage. I scooped her up and had a good hour photographing her on the verandah – she didn’t mind it a bit and stuck around for ages, showing off.
Aside from arachnids I have also seen plenty of bushbuck and hares and the return of the weaver birds. I’ve been hearing woodpeckers recently and best of all, at about five-thirty every morning, two Crowned Cranes and their juvenile have been flying noisily over the roof of the cottage to visit the Stipstitches dam, and hold out their damp wings in the rising sun.
Before the frost hit us I also found this single flower, the only bloom for miles:
After the freak rainstorm of the 25th of July this is how glorious and clear everything looked the morning after the night before. Every blade of grass and every leaf shone as if someone had been at them with a cloth and feather-duster.
There is a lovely sleepiness to the landscape at the moment – if Inhlosane had eyes then at this time of the year only one of them would be open.
Helen and Barend Booysen – Crab Apple Cottages
Helen was the recipient of the Dargle Conservancy Trail Camera for a month, after she won one of the photography categories at the AGM. These are some of the pics captured…
David and Alvera Crookes – Copperleigh Farm
Ashley Crookes – Copperleigh Farm
Nikki Brighton – Cottage at Old Kilgobbin Farm
Our baby owls have been learning to fly! Lots of crashing about the barn and hissing. This chap was not too thrilled when I climbed up a ladder to take his picture. I, of course, was delighted.
Samango monkey troops spend late afternoons basking and playing in the sunshine on the forest edges. They pick and nibble at a plant in the grass – obviously just what they need at this time of year. They are also eating Vepris lanceolata berries. I enjoy watching them tumble about and listening to the sounds they make – squeaks and clicks, chattering and booming.
I’m collecting a collection of winter colours and textures on my walks.
I have seen Oribi, Reedbuck and quite a few Duiker on my rambles. Lots of raptors, herons, red necked spurfowl and shimmering hadedas. Egyptian geese flying in formation and swimming on the dam.
An interesting stick insect on my verandah.
The first of the grasshoppers to hatch (does this seem a tad early?)
The low light at this time of year makes everything seem extra magical,
Crunchy leaves carpet the forest and fungi make good use of fallen branches.
Early one morning I spotted three men and seven dogs obviously out hunting. That was a little disconcerting. I reported to SACAN 083 799 1916 as soon as I got home.