Crystelle Wilson of Gramarye
Winter truly arrived in June and we regularly had temperatures of -6ºC in the mornings.
A Cape Longclaw tried its best to warm up in the first weak rays of the sun at the edge of a dam
A sad sighting was that of a dead Spotted Eagle-Owl lying on the path to the river. We couldn’t work out why it died, but it appeared as if its neck was broken.
Very welcome sights were that of Denham’s Bustards on a few occasions
In the frost in a maize field (above) and ponderously taking to the air (below)
The atlas list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000: White-breasted Cormorant, Long-crested Eagle, Common Moorhen, Yellow-fronted Canary, Red-knobbed Coot, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Brown-throated Martin, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Starling, African Stonechat, Little Grebe, Egyptian Goose, Yellow-billed Duck, African Spoonbill, Black-shouldered Kite (carrying out its pest control duties)
Red-winged Starling, African Sacred Ibis, Bar-throated Apalis, Jackal Buzzard, Cape Crow, Common Fiscal, Spotted Eagle-owl, Green Wood-hoopoe, Red-necked Spurfowl, Olive Woodpecker, Speckled Pigeon, Cape Glossy Starling, Sombre Greenbul, Black-headed Heron, Dark-capped Bulbul,
Amethyst Sunbird, Fork-tailed Drongo, Hadeda Ibis,
Southern Boubou, Helmeted Guineafowl, Olive Thrush, House Sparrow, Cape Robin-chat, Village Weaver (making the most of hospitality on offer at the feeding station)
As did the Cape White-eyes
Bokmakierie, Drakensberg Prinia,
Red-eyed Dove, Cape Turtle-dove, African Firefinch. The Grey Crowned Crane family continued with their daily routine, the youngster is still with the parents and roost with them at night.
Caroline McKerrow of Stormy Hill
There were three Mountain Reedbuck on the hill. The Common (Grey) Duiker was seen a few times and the Vervet Monkey troop have been visiting. An African Fish-Eagle cruised around overhead. An African Harrier-hawk landed in one of the trees and flew off with one of our resident Weaver birds. A Common Reedbuck was seen while out on a ride. Jackals have been heard a lot with the dogs barking to let them know that they are not welcome near the house.
Christeen Grant of Sitamani
June and fire-break burning are synonymous, tracer lines burnt earlier in April hold the fire when the breaks are burnt. A damp day preceded our burn day so fortunately we had an ideal cool burn, that doesn’t damage the plant life as severely. Jackal Buzzards, Drongos, Long-crested Eagles and Cape Crows wheeled around looking for rodents displaced from their homes. The fires are dramatic, particularly in the late afternoon.
Despite the very dry and cool conditions some of my favourite flowers found here were blooming, bright golden yellow and orange Aloe maculata on the hillside;
snow white, delicate Buddleja dysophylla;
Buddleja salvifolia buds are swelling, almost ready to bloom;
tiny, cheerful Euryops laxus have popped up in the short grass around the house; in the tracer-lines,
early Gerbera ambigua;
Halleria lucida is flowering profusely and creating a magnet for birds and insects;
a neon coloured Ipomoea bolusiana plant took advantage of the shelter along the warm east side of the house.
The male Black-backed Puffback is still persistently trying to attack his mirrored image in the windows, defending his patch. When resting he is starting to display his courtship puffback. The birdbaths are very sought after and often up to 30 Cape White-eyes splash and drink together, the shy Southern Boubou, Cape Robin-chats and Dark-capped Bulbuls take their turn in the verandah birdbath. The Fork-tailed Drongos, Olive Thrushes, Canaries and Cape Sparrows prefer the birdbath under the trees in the garden. Also seen were a flock of Common Waxbills, African Stonechats, Buff-streaked Chats, Amethyst Sunbirds, a Spotted Eagle-Owl and a Cape Batis. A Fish Eagle can be heard regularly calling from the valley.
The Lesser Savanna Dormice, Grahiurus kelleni, are still very much in residence, though seen less frequently, particularly in cooler weather. The young Duiker has moved off on it’s own, we still see all three around, but separately.
A few butterflies seen are what I think is a Common Hottentot male,
and a Geranium Bronze, Cacyreus marshalli.
An unusual Katydid perched on the backstep.
A spider I hadn’t seen before and rescued from the bath, was identified as a Funnel web wolf spider, Family Lycosidae.