Boston Wildlife Sightings – March 2016

Crystelle Wilson of Gramarye:

A GROUP of Grey Crowned Cranes made good use of a pivot at Elandshoek farm, demonstrating their perching skills.

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And it is very pleasing that the resident pair on The Willows, Gramarye and Elvesida has once again managed to raise one youngster. The surviving chick is making good progress. The parents were taking extra safety precautions by sleeping on a little island in a dam at night.

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I love the nests of Thick-billed Weavers, very beautiful, and woven with great skill

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and it was good to spot the inhabitants as well

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A female was visiting a stand of Leonotus elsewhere

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The atlas list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000 also included: African Black Swift, African Wattled Lapwing, Village Weaver, Red-chested Flufftail, African Rail, Grey Heron, South African Shelduck, Steppe Buzzard,

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Southern Boubou, Common Quail, Red-necked Spurfowl, Bokmakierie, Diderick Cuckoo, Fork-tailed Drongo, Olive Thrush, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, House Sparrow, Cape Sparrow, African Dusky Flycatcher,

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African Hoopoe, African Firefinch, Red-throated Wryneck, African Darter, Spur-winged Goose, Amethyst Sunbird,

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Brown-throated Martin, Cape Robin-chat, Hadeda Ibis, African Sacred Ibis, White-breasted Cormorant, Reed Cormorant, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Black Saw-wing, Greater Striped Swallow, African Paradise-flycatcher, Speckled Mousebird, Zitting Cisticola, Cape Crow, Speckled Pigeon, Malachite Kingfisher, Cape Grassbird,

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African Olive-Pigeons and Pied Starlings forming strange bedfellows on overhead wires

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Black-headed Heron, White-throated Swallow, Common Moorhen, Red-knobbed Coot, Pied Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Duck, Little Grebe, Common Waxbill, Blacksmith Lapwing, Southern Red Bishop, Three-banded Plover,

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Egyptian Goose, Cape Longclaw, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Long-crested Eagle, Wailing Cisticola, Common Fiscal,

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The last of the Amur Falcons before migration, both male and female

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Fan-tailed Widowbird, Red-billed Quelea, Red-collared Widowbird, Cape Canary, Pin-tailed Whydah, Barn Swallow, African Stonechat, Drakensberg Prinia, Cape Turtle-dove, Red-winged Starling, Dark-capped Bulbul, Jackal Buzzard, Yellow-fronted Canary, Red-eyed Dove, Cape White-eye, Sombre Greenbul, and Cape Wagtail.

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Christeen Grant of Sitamani:

There has been a mellowness of autumn creeping in, in milder days between very hot ones, cool mornings and golden tones in the grasses. Beautiful light effects at dawn and sunset.

02 Cover b IMG_4832

Flowers are almost over for the season subtle shades of autumn grass make a perfect foil for silhouetted flowering grasses. However bright yellow Berkheya Echinacea and Helichrysum cooperi shine and it’s also the season for Hesperantha baurii and masses of Plectranthus calycina.

03 Flower Berkheya echinacea IMG_4821

Berkheya echinacea

03 Flower Berkheya echinacea IMG_4822

Berkheya echinacea

03 Flower Helichrysum cooperi IMG_4816

Helichrysum cooperi

03 Flower Hesperantha baurii IMG_4824

Hesperantha baurii

03 Flower Plectranthus calycina IMG_4819

Plectranthus calycina

For the first time I saw what I think is a Drakensberg Crag Lizard, it was very wary; also at a distance, so not a perfectly sharp photo.

04 Reptile Drakensberg Crag Lizard Pseudocordylus melanotus subviridis IMG_4820

A lovely Bush or Forest Beauty butterfly found it’s way inside and I managed to get a couple of photos before setting it free.

05 Insects & Spiders Bush or Forest Beauty butterfly  IMG_478305 Insects & Spiders Bush or Forest Beauty butterfly IMG_4776

One of my favourite insects, the Mottled Veld Antlion, settled in the grass near the house one morning.

05 Insects & Spiders Mottled Veld Antlion IMG_4769

A sparkling dew beaded spider web after rain caught my attention.

05 Insects & Spiders dew beaded spider web IMG_4799

A pair of Malachite Sunbirds flitted busily over the hillside for a couple of weeks. Cape White-eyes, Cape Robin-Chats and the Black-backed Puffback have been enjoying the verandah birdbath. The Village Weavers have dispersed, abandoning their summer nests. A Long-crested Eagle has used the Eskom poles as a vantage point. Several times after an absence I’ve heard the Spotted Eagle Owl hooting.

Most evenings the Black-backed Jackal yip and call. A pair of Duiker are still seen regularly along the drive and in the garden. A Doormouse had a narrow escape, somehow it had fallen into the toilet bowl during the night. I managed to rescue it in the morning and set it free outside. However for a while there was evidence in nibbled fruit and moth wings, that it had come back inside again.

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