Tag Archives: insects

Boston Wildlife Sightings – July 2016

Christeen Grant of Sitamani

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Fire and Ice July, the first part of the month was characterized by smoky, hazy skies from fire-break burning. A cold front brought a sharp frost on 3 July, with very chilly temperatures and a few flakes of snow on the previous day.

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The dry, warmer, intervening weather was changed into a snowy winter wonderland on the 25 July, much needed moisture, including rain, soaked the dry soil for a few days.

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Aloe maculata have started fruiting, there are still some bright orange flowers on the hillside;

Buddleja salvifolia burst into flower after the snow;

as well as hundreds of bright yellow Gazania krebsiana;

03 Flora Flower Gazania krebsiana IMG_6307

one or two Greyia sutherlandii flowers had opened earlier, now the tree is covered in red tipped branches;

03 Flora Flower Greyia sutherlandii IMG_6293

the Halleria lucida branches are dripping with flowers, the most I’ve seen in a long time;

03 Flora Flower Halleria lucida IMG_6297

now that the soil is damp Ledebouria ovatifolia rosette, flat leaves have tightly packed buds above them.

03 Flora Flower Ledebouria ovatifolia IMG_6327

We have been working at rehabilitating a hillside that had a stand of pine trees growing on it. It is a very slow process, nine years since the trees came down in a tornado. Removal of the trunks and large branches came first, then regular annual burns and weeding out alien species. We are seeing indigenous pioneer species coming in. Recently we cut down and removed Acacia melanoxylon

and were happy to identify small indigenous trees that grow in a grove, Canthium (now Afrocanthium) mundianum, which will remain there.

03 Flora Tree Canthium (now Afrocanthium) mundianum IMG_2301

This last month there have been several sightings of Common Reedbuck. A very fine male, with beautiful horns, regularly wanders quite close to the house. He rests in a patch of bracken, one evening he was emerging as I arrived home.

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Male Common Reedbuck

Then on a walk to the top of our property I saw three males and four females, the largest group I’ve seen together in recent years.

04 Mammal Common Reedbuck spoor IMG_6331

Common Reedbuck spoor

Down near the gate I found many small pieces of fur, possibly Vlei Rat, that had been discarded by a predator, possibly the Long-crested Eagle, as that gatepost is a frequent perch.

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A pile of Porcupine droppings indicated they are still around.

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Porcupine scat

A Black-headed Oriole has taken over from the Black-backed Puffback, trying to attack his mirrored image in the windows, defending his patch. His liquid song from the verandah, where he perched in between bouts was so beautiful.

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Black-headed Oriole

A Cape Robin-chat splashed in the verandah birdbath even though there was still snow on the ground.

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A flock of Cape Weavers sunned themselves in bare branches.

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Cape Weavers

The large group of Cape White-eyes are my favourite winter birds, they all keep together, moving constantly whether foraging or taking a drink and dip.

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Cape White-eyes

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Cape White-eye

The Speckled Pigeons have multiplied, there are about six living here, roosting and nesting in the carports. I regularly hear the African Fish-Eagle calling from the valley, took a flight up over the house.

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Speckled Pigeon

There are many Striped Skinks living among the wooden slats of an outbuilding. They enjoy the warmth of a winter sun, basking.

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Striped Skink

There are many bees and hoverflies buzzing in the few flowering plants.

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I found what I think is a Wasp nest on the ground and several huge ant nests in trees.

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Possible wasp nest on the ground

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Ant nest in the tree

A beautiful Painted Lady butterfly soaked up warmth from a rock on the hilltop.

07 Invertebrate Butterfly Painted Lady IMG_6310

Painted Lady Butterfly

Caroline McKerrow of Stormy Hill

We are getting quite a lot of activity at Stormy Hill Horse Trails. The buck are coming to drink at our horses’ water trough on the hill, so we have spotted a pair of Bushbuck, a Reedbuck, including a ‘teenager’ Reedbuck, and our resident Common (Grey) Duiker. We have even had a Bushbuck doe eating the rose bushes in the garden, which is great as it will save me some pruning.

We were quite excited to see a pair of Knysna Turaco (previously know as the Knysna Lourie), so I’m hoping that they have decided to nest in the area.

Crystelle Wilson of Gramarye

Birds have evolved very efficient ways to regulate their body temperature, but in winter it is hard not to think they are feeling the cold when they are sitting all huddled up like the Speckled Pigeons on the roof of a barn

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Speckled Pigeons

or facing into the cold wind like a group of Helmeted Guineafowl

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Helmeted Guineafowl

Black-headed Herons also appeared to huddle together in supporting companionship

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Black-headed Heron

The atlas list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000: Cape Weaver, African Sacred Ibis, Spur-winged Goose, Blacksmith Lapwing, Red-knobbed Coot, Yellow-billed Duck, Egyptian Goose, Red-winged Starling, Lanner Falcon, Rock Kestrel, Denham’s Bustard, Green Wood-hoopoe, Bokmakierie, Forest Canary, Pied Starling, Buff-streaked Chat

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Buff-streaked Chat

African Firefinch, Sentinel Rock-thrush, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, House Sparrow

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House Sparrow

Cape Wagtail, Grey Crowned Crane, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Levaillant’s Cisticola

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Levaillant’s Cisticola

Black-shouldered Kite, Long-crested Eagle, Black-headed Heron, Cape Sparrow, Jackal Buzzard, Cape Robin-Chat, Cape Crow, Cape Turtle-dove, Fork-tailed Drongo

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Fork-tailed Drongo

Cape White-eye, Speckled Pigeon, Village Weaver (the males beginning to practise their building skills)

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Village Weaver

Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Cape Longclaw, Yellow Bishop, Little Grebe

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Little Grebe

Drakensberg Prinia, Red-eyed Dove, Hadeda Ibis, White-necked Raven, African Stonechat, Dark-capped Bulbul, Cape Canary and Southern Boubou (which appreciated having water available in the bird bath).

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Southern Boubou

Boston Wildlife Sightings – May 2016

Christeen Grant of Sitamani

May has been a Furry-beasties, Ferns and Fungi month. A light overnight snowfall dusted the mountains on the 1st May.

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Winter chill, fairly frequent frosts, not much rain but a few damp days and in between smoky sunsets from tracer-line burning.

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Cool winter skies with beautiful prefrontal cirrus cloud effects. The grass and ground are very dry for this time of year, and the water table is very low.

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At last I have managed to take a photo of the very dear Lesser Savanna Dormouse, one of two in residence… albeit with a cell phone and not a good one, I just hoped I’d captured it in the dark… It had found an unopened packet of peanuts and raisins, tore a hole in the packet and was delightedly eating, making contented chirpy noises at about two in the morning… I know they will have to be relocated, just haven’t the heart to turf them out into winter. All foodstuff has to be carefully put away otherwise it is nibbled.

03 Animals Lesser Savanna Dormouse IMG_2212

The Lesser Savanna Dormouse, Grahiurus kelleni, is only 14cm in length, 6cm of that being the tail. They are definitely nocturnal in habit, extremely agile climbers, scampering up and down furniture and curtains. They eat insects, plant material, seeds and in a house love fruit, bread, cake and almost anything they can find. They are frequently found in association with man-made structures. According to literature local species are supposed to hibernate, or become less active in winter. No one told these two!

The Duiker family, Bushpig and Vervet Monkeys all enjoy the fallen Pin Oak acorns along the driveway.

03 Animals Duiker IMG_5398

Birds flock to the birdbath on the verandah and the one in the garden, often needing a refill by early afternoon. I spotted a juvenile Black-headed Oriole, with dark flecks on his yellow breast. Cape Crows; Dark-capped Bulbuls; Cape Robin-chats; Cape White-eyes; Black-backed Puffbacks; Speckled Pigeons; Amethyst Sunbirds; African Stonechats and the call of a Fish Eagle from the valley. A small nest was exposed when the leaves turned and fell from the Japanese Maple tree.

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Very interesting Fungi were spotted after a sprinkle of rain and misty conditions. I observed the unfurling of two different fungi; Blusher, Amanita rubescens and The Miller, Clitopilus prunulus; also seen were a False Earth-star and an unidentified, 20mm high mushroom.

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Blusher – Amanita rubescens

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Blusher – Amanita rubescens

04 Fungi The Miller Clitopilus prunulus IMG_2216

The Miller – Clitopilus prunulus

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The Miller – Clitopilus prunulus

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False Earth-Star

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Unidentified fungi

The Fern Allies species Lycoodium clavatum had many strobili, cone-like structures that bear the spores. Two ferns seen, though browning off quickly in the dry weather, were; Cheilanthes involuta var. obscura and Mohria nudiuscula.

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Lycoodium clavatum

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Cheilanthes involuta var. obscura

05 Fern Mohria nudiuscula IMG_5426

Mohria nudiuscula

Almost all the flowers are over, all that remains are the dried bracts like those of the Berkheya setifera; or seeds of Plectranthus calycina;

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Berkheya setifera

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Plectranthus calycina

there are however a few hardy ones still flowering, Senecio madagascariensis and Stachys aethiopica.

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Senecio madagascariensis

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Stachys aethiopica

A few of the insects seen were: the tiny Common Blue butterfly; Giant Carpenter Bees; a tiny Grasshopper; Green Vegetable Bug, Nezara viridula; an unidentified Moth; very busy Paper wasps, Polistes fastidiotus; and a very small Twig wilter sp.

07 Insects Common Blue butterfly IMG_545807 Insects Giant Carpenter Bee Xylocopa flavorufa IMG_545507 Insects Grasshopper IMG_545607 Insects Green Vegetable Bug Nezara viridula IMG_540507 Insects Moth IMG_545007 Insects Paper wasps Polistes fastidiotus IMG_537307 Insects Twig wilter sp P1070316

Crystelle Wilson of Gramarye

Once again my time in Boston was limited this month. While out birding, it was special to come across a bushbuck doe delicately walking on the side of the road.

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The drought continues to bite, which means that any time spent at the edge of dwindling dams are guaranteed to provide sightings of birds. The Red-knobbed Coot chicks are growing up

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And the African Spoonbill was on its post as usual

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The atlas list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000: White-breasted Cormorant, Red-collared Widowbird, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Southern Red Bishop, Secretarybird, African Fish-eagle, Grey Crowned Crane, Reed Cormorant, Cape Glossy Starling, Speckled Mousebird, Common Moorhen,

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Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, Cape Sparrow, Pin-tailed Whydah, Long-crested Eagle, Olive Thrush, Black-headed Oriole, Cape Turtle-dove, Red-eyed Dove, House Sparrow, Helmeted Guineafowl, Village Weaver, Cape Wagtail, Cape White-eye, African Firefinch, African Stonechat, Common Fiscal, Greater Honeyguide, Red-knobbed Coot, White-necked Raven, Bokmakierie, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Malachite Kingfisher,

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South African Shelduck, Blacksmith Lapwing, Brown-throated Martin, African Spoonbill, Egyptian Goose, African Sacred Ibis,

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Little Grebe, Jackal Buzzard (juvenile),

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Black-headed Heron, Cape Robin-chat, Cape Canary, Fork-tailed Drongo, Southern Boubou,

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Common Waxbill, Hadeda Ibis, Pied Crow, Red-necked Spurfowl, Yellow-billed Duck,

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Dark-capped Bulbul, Cape Crow, Southern Double-collared Sunbird.

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Dargle Wildlife Sightings – January 2016

Louis Bolton – Robhaven Farm

A new contributor, hopefully Louis will send us pics on a regular basis… the first is an image of some White-throated Swallows sitting on a mailbox – perhaps the newly appointed CEO of The Post Office will make use of them?

White-throated Swallows

White-throated Swallows

White-throated Swallow

White-throated Swallow

White-throated Swallow

White-throated Swallow

The spider was taken at Misty Meadows School up the D17

An Orb Spider

An Orb Spider

The panorama was from Crab Apple Church bench

Panorama from Crab Apple

Panorama from Crab Apple

Dieter Setz – Wakecroft

Found this “Stinkhorn” Mushroom by pure luck and had my camera. I never saw the early stages of this mushroom, only when it is red and stinks.

Stinkhorn Mushroom

Stinkhorn Mushroom

It sure is mushroom season now after the welcome rain, must say it has not stopped since I am back.

It sure is mushroom season now after the welcome rain, must say it has not stopped since I am back.

Had to catch these buggers, as they were running away, must be from the “speedy” variety.

Had to catch these buggers, as they were running away, must be from the speedy variety

The Locusts are also out in full force on Wakecroft.

The Locusts are also out in full force on Wakecroft

They sure don’t mind what they eat, this one I found on my rosemary bush.

They sure don`t mind what they eat, this one I found on my rosemary bush

One of our cabbage trees is beginning to bloom.

Cabbage Tree

Cabbage Tree

Two’s a party

2 is a party

Emperor Moth (Aurivillius fuscus) Also paid me a visit.

Emperor Moth (Aurivillius fuscus)

Emperor Moth (Aurivillius fuscus)

Malvina van Breemen – Old Furth Estate

2016 started off with a lovely experience for me – I had to drop our youngest daughter off in Petrusstroom early on New Year’s Day, so on the return journey I was looking out for the pair of Crowned Cranes who frequent the little dam next door to Colmonel. They had crossed the road and were keeping company with a few Storks and as I slowed down to have a good look, I was treated to the special sight of them doing a delightful courtship dance!

Since the Cranes are by far one of my favourite birds, I was quite delighted to see this.

Grey Crowned Cranes dancing

Grey Crowned Cranes dancing

On the same morning, we also had a mass visitation of Spoonbills at our nearly dry bottom dam – I have never seen so many here! The quality of these pics is really poor but I only had my phone 😦

Spoonbills flying over dry dam

Spoonbills flying over dry dam

Then one Saturday afternoon, we came in at our gate house and saw what we thought was a plastic bag flapping on the wind, hooked onto our fence. We very quickly realised it was a bird! We found a young Jackal Buzzard had obviously misjudged and had hooked itself on the fence by its upper wing. We wrapped it in a cardigan and got it into a big box for transportation to Free Me. They then sent it on to Raptor Rescue who examined the wing and sadly had to euthanase her as the tendon and flesh were too badly damaged. We were very sad, but hope to be able to do our bit in the future as a raptor release site and with that in mind, we will build a rehabilitation area for future releases.

Young injured Jackal Buzzard

Young injured Jackal Buzzard

We are also very excited with the new forest trail which our enthusiastic and energetic youngsters have started working on, watch this space and follow us on Facebook to see the progress: https://www.facebook.com/Old-Furth-Estate-507001752673713/

Forest Trail

Forest Trail

Kevin Barnsley – Constantia, D17

Obviously rich veld and pasture lands attract these awesome birds.
For me they represent an awesome indicator species due to their insatiable appetite for all the little chaps (rodents, snakes, insects, frogs etc) that should be pursuing life down in the undergrowth of this habitat.

Of course mowing a pristine block of veld is going to expose these poor creatures, especially during the summer months. My suggestion to other hay cutting farmers and contractors is to sacrifice some yield by pitching your mowers up a little, in order to leave a little more foliage behind during the summer months. This not only gives the little chaps I’m referring to, some cover and a better chance, but also leaves some of the plants solar panels behind for them to be able to bounce back a little before winter, or even give you a better second cut of the season.
In late autumn one might be able to cut a bit lower, as the affected parties have mostly headed for deeper cover underground for the winter to escape the cold and ravages of fires etc. Of course a short cut at this time does expose the soil for the long winter, but is probably less harmful than fire, however any fire will be far less intense in such cut lands.

White Stork

White Stork

Belinda and Pierre Oosthuizen – Hambledon Farm

We have a small bat I found on our veranda floor this morning. I didn’t want my dogs to kill it so we placed it in a box and will release it tonight. Will update u how it goes. We have seen some huge rabbit’s but don’t know what kind and weren’t fast enough with the camera. We have owls too. And spotted 8 deer (Ed: “Reedbuck perhaps?”) on the short drive from the farm to the turn by the Zenex and Everything shop 2 nights ago. Have heard the jackles call the other night as well.

This is the unfortunate adder we couldn’t save the gardener from killing.

Dead Puff Adder

Dead Puff Adder

We spotted this snake near our stables, which went into the haystack. It’s about 1.2m long. We thought at first that it may have been a Mamba, however, Pat McKrill (the Snake Man) responded with the following identification: “A beautiful Olive House snake. No venom, no problem, not aggressive.”

Olive House Snake

Olive House Snake

Sue & Derek Millier – Buxtons Cottage on Beaconfield Farm

This duiker arrives at dusk and dawn most days to eat the acorns which the
vervet monkeys drop while foraging in our large oak tree.

Common (Grey) Duiker

Common (Grey) Duiker

Pat and Sandra Merrick – Albury Farm, Lidgetton

Well our new year started with a bang – we have had 234 ml of rain this month – wonderful.

Waterfall flowing for 1st time this week

Waterfall flowing for 1st time this week

After having an empty dam and stream, it is now running well and the dam is filling up, much to the delight of the cows and water fowl.

Storm building

Storm building

Wed 27th was not a great day as we had 2 huge hail storms with gale force winds, slicing through my garden. No electricity for 7 hours and pressure pump hit and Pat was knocked back while closing the garage door, but he’s fine. Just a slightly burnt finger thank the good Lord. The good news was we got 38 ml of rain as well. What a blessing it has been in these dry months.

A Hamerkop arrived on our swing looking for another frog but unfortunately our stream and dam were empty at this stage.

A hammerkop looking for another frog in the stream

A hammerkop looking for another frog in the stream

Late one afternoon through the mist, we saw a Woolly-necked Stork sitting on our transformer pole. Once the mist cleared he flew off.

Woolly-necked Stork

Woolly-necked Stork

Our juvenile White-throated Swallows were still returning to their nest each evening on the verandah a month after flying off. Then one morning the nest lay in a heap on the verandah slipping off the glass lampshade that it had been attached to. The one juvenile did appear on our front verandah one afternoon during a big storm. The 2 of them weren’t crazy about getting wet.

Juvenile White-throated Swallow sheltering from the storm

Juvenile White-throated Swallow sheltering from the storm

The Sunbirds have been plentiful this month with lots of shrubs and flowers to feed off. Here the male Amethyst Sunbird:

Amethyst Sunbird (male)

Amethyst Sunbird (male)

Female Amethyst Sunbird

Amethyst Sunbird (female)

Amethyst Sunbird (female)

Double-collared Sunbird

Double-collared Sunbird

Double-collared Sunbird

Female Malachite Sunbird

Female Malachite Sunbird

Female Malachite Sunbird

Male Malachite Sunbird

Malachite Sunbird (male)

Malachite Sunbird (male)

The steppe buzzard has been visiting regularly as has the Gymnogene:

African Harrier-Hawk (previously know as a Gymnogene)

African Harrier-Hawk (previously know as a Gymnogene)

Our most exciting sighting was seeing our Blue Crane with a chick about 2 months old. They arrived mid month when the dam was just starting to fill up but as there was little grass for them (being so short from the drought and eaten by 300 animals) to feed off they vanished shortly thereafter. They do reappear about once a week to wade in the dam. Another pair have also arrived on the farm but no chick.

Mama Blue Crane with her Juvenile

Mama Blue Crane with her Juvenile

We have seen reedbuck every day but not in the numbers that we used to see, which is rather sad.

Common Reedbuck (male)

Common Reedbuck (male)

Also just one Duiker this month. Pat saw a male Oribi on 2 consecutive days near our gum trees. He has also seen a black saw winged swallow down the bottom of the farm on a few occasions. A male samango monkey has been running around and on some days I could drive right past him sitting on a pole and he would just stare at me.

For the first time we had a Long-tailed Widowbird on our lawn eating along with the Sparrows.

Long-tailed Widowbird (male)

Long-tailed Widowbird (male)

Female Cape Weaver

Cape Weaver (female)

Cape Weaver (female)

Olive Thrush and female Malachite Sunbird

Olive Thrush and female Malachite Sunbird

Olive Thrush and female Malachite Sunbird

Rose Downard – Oak Tree Cottage

Just two small sightings: A dying locust resting on top of our owl, perhaps it had been injured, or affected by crop spraying in the area.

Owl-and-Locust

The recently shed skin of a skink.

skink-skin-1

Hayley & Neville van Lelyveld – Benn Meadhon Farm

Oribi
Only four of the original 9 animals were seen. A single male Oribi was seen across the road, more or less opposite the normal oribi paddock. The second herd of 5 animals that used to be above the maize field have all but disappeared.

Reedbuck
Only 4 females were seen out of a previous average count of 20 animals. Once again as per our October visit no males were observed.

Other antelope/Jackal
No other antelope species were seen at all. There has been a very steady decline in wildlife on the farm. No Jackals were seen or heard during this visit.

Other mammal species
No porcupine were observed, however I have been informed by Iain that 19 have been trapped and destroyed by Mannie since our visit in October. We were also informed that 2 Jackals were also trapped and destroyed since our October visit.

Bird life
It was very pleasing to see that the geese on the dam have been breeding; both the Egyptian and the Spurwing geese as there are quite a few goslings of both species on the dam.

General
Over the last past few months we have encountered unwanted people on the farm (in August we encountered a dog IPO club using the farm as tracking grounds. When we confronted them as we always do and as per Iain’s request to confront any strangers on the farm to find out why they are there, we were told that Mannie Delgardo, the land owner, had given them permission to use his farm. Once we informed them that Mannie was not the farm owner they were very surprised.

On Monday the 28th December from around 08h00 until around 11h00 we noticed a small white aircraft (sesna size) flying very low over the area across the road over the natural bush near Lemonwood constantly. We thought nothing of it at the time. Later however due to circumstances it became all too clear as to what the low flying air craft was doing as I believe that it was scouting the wildlife within the natural bush area on that side of the farm and the surrounding farms including Graham Freese’s forest as it circled over that area as well.

Later, Iain informed me that Mannie and his new partner, Clint, have insisted that we leave the farm with immediate effect as they have a problem with our presence on the farm. I firmly believe that this objection to us being on the farm was due to our February 2015 report. We immediately packed up and left the farm.
As Hayley and I are no longer permitted to be on Iain’s farm we can no longer monitor the wildlife on the farm and on the surrounding farms. However, the unexplained radical drops in wildlife on Iain’s farm has now become abundantly clear with this development. Unfortunately the actions of this group of people is well known by Ezemvelo, EWT and people like Robin Barnsley, the probable results of which will result in a major threat to the rest of the wildlife in the greater Dargle Valley area if this situation is allowed to continue. Hayley and I, not been allowed on Iain’s farm anymore does not mean that our involvement with the Dargle conservancy has to come to an end, but rather it will just be a little more challenging, however we will still continue to do our very best to support the Dargle Conservancy as much as possible with all their conservation projects and courses that I still intend to do. It does however affect our Oribi project with EWT as I believe that the few animals left now have no chance of survival and this greatly disturbs Hayley and I particularly since “Baby Girl” was due to give birth during November 2015. The success of this will now never be known. This project was in particular very close to our hearts and it is very painful for Hayley and I to see it totally destroyed in this way. It is very painful for us both to just leave behind 9 years of work and have it all destroyed in a matter of days.

Ashley Crookes – Copperleigh Farm

Continuing with my “macro” images that I’ve been capturing the past few months, had some really interesting little critter sightings in January, starting with this beautiful green caterpillar

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and again from behind…

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I found the carapace of one of these bugs last month, this one was still alive and crawling around the natural bush on the farm

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This poor Watsonia densiflora was being chewed to pieces

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Whilst this Dragonfly was struggling to fly with a wonky wing

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I came home late from Quiz Night at il Postino and had this magnificent Rhino beetle to greet me as I was closing the gate

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The locusts were ‘busy’ this month, though not too many seen

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Spiders were making works of art in the early hours before the dew came

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Had a couple of different types of fungi appearing this month, this white one with some spires on top

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and this orange one growing on an old dead Eucalyptus tree

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A Giant Kingfisher came to visit us once

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and to end off, a pic of the clouds coming over Inhlosane

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Jenny Fly – Kildaragh Farm

More snakes . There have been so many this summer. Natal green snake, just off the veranda.

Natal green snake, just off the veranda.

Natal green snake, just off the veranda.

A slug eater on our driveway.

A slug eater on our driveway.

A slug eater on our driveway.

The beautiful little Erythrina humeana, which is very happy in the Midlands if in a protected spot. The sunbirds love it.

Erythrina humeana

Erythrina humeana

Balloon milkweed or Hairy balls – Ghomphocarpus physocarpus. Host to the African Monarch butterfly. The little prinias and apalis ferret around in it. The sunbirds enjoy the freshly opened flowers and the fluff on the seed is used to line nests of many birds (although it is also poisonous).

Balloon milkweed, hairy balls - Ghomphocarpus physocarpus

Balloon milkweed, hairy balls – Ghomphocarpus physocarpus

While weeding I came across what I thought was a type of fungus that looked like goose down. Then these THINGS started WALKING and they JUMPED (about 20 cm high). Response from Dr Jason Londt : “It’s a plant sucking bug (Hemiptera) – I have the name Orthezia insignis – but I’m no expert on these beasts. They are usually considered pests – but I have never seen a lot of damage caused by them (but may not have the necessary experience).”

Orthezia insignis

Orthezia insignis

the bush looks totally dead.

Beatles eating Buddleja salviifolia

Beatles eating Buddleja salviifolia

Then it slowly comes back to life. It is obviously host to these beetles and they have this incredible symbiotic relationship.

Beatles eating Buddleja salviifolia

Beatles eating Buddleja salviifolia

Beatles eating Buddleja salviifolia

Beatles eating Buddleja salviifolia

Nikki Brighton – Old Kilgobbin

 

Senecio

Senecio

Late afternoon

Late afternoon

Kniphofia

Kniphofia

Helichrysum setosa

Helichrysum setosa

Grewia occidentalis

Grewia occidentalis

Gerbera

Gerbera

damp Crocosmia

damp Crocosmia

Aritea

Aritea

Allophylus dreageanus

Allophylus dreageanus

Dargle Wildlife Sightings – December 2015

Malvina van Breemen – Old Furth Estate

December has seen increasing competition for the puddles remaining in our dams and we have seen numerous Herons, African Spoonbills, Spur-winged Geese, Egyptian Geese, Hamerkops, Teal, Yellow-billed Ducks, African Black Ducks, loads of raptors, disconsolate African Fish-Eagles, Sacred Ibis and even Grey Crowned Cranes visiting the ever-shrinking pools. The dam closest to the house is now completely dry and only has a mud puddle to show for the tiny amounts of rain we have received so far. Most of our little streams are dry and the stream which feeds the house is still just managing to keep going. We are deeply grateful for that! The Furth River is so low it is just threading its way between the rocks. We are also deeply grateful that at least our livestock has grass to graze on thanks to the little bit of rain – unlike areas in the rest of SA where there is just spectacularly nothing. I recently travelled to Joburg and there was a howling dust storm all the way from Harrismith to Joburg. Heaven knows where that part of the Free State went….

Chameleons (Natal Dwarf) thankfully are still bountiful and I am gleefully awaiting the tiny babies who will appear all over the garden. The hot days have delivered numerous little brown grass snakes of varying sizes who have required rescue from our cats.

Midlands Dwarf Chameleon

Midlands Dwarf Chameleon

The Cicadas have been loving the heat and we found one emerging from its casing inside the house in late November, after the sightings had been listed.

Cicada (superfamily of insects in the order Hemiptera, suborder Auchenorrhyncha)

Cicada (superfamily of insects in the order Hemiptera, suborder Auchenorrhyncha)

Thousands of baby Praying Mantis have been hatching as well.

We had a lovely visit from the Knysna Loeries (or Turaco), who have increased their flock from two to five. What a delight to just catch the flash of their beautiful plumage as they explore the indigenous forest along the stream bed near the house! Various Flycatchers and Sunbirds have been very active in and around the garden and the Paradise Flycatchers are often seen flitting upstream to where the waterfall should be running (but is not) near the house – they must have a nest there again this year.

On returning from a recent road trip to Gauteng, we were welcomed back to the Midlands by the most spectacular sight of thousands of Amur Falcons (previously known as Eastern Red-Footed Kestrels) arriving in Mooi River at sunset, seeking a roost for the night in the big London Plane trees near the Spar. I could not have asked for a better welcome home! Hopefully they will decimate the huge swarms of locusts we have been having in the garden now that they have arrived.

Amur Falcons

Amur Falcons

Wishing everyone in our wonderful Valley all the very best for an excellent 2016, hopefully we will get some rain next year!

Wendy de Waal – Honeywood Cottage

HAPPY 2016 EVERYONE!

BIRDS
The junior Crowned Crane and its parents went away for a few days and then they were back without jnr. Did they deliver him/her to its mate? They seem to have made two paddocks their home territory. I see them every day.
The village weavers have been entertaining in their tree right in front of the veranda. Many nests on the ground testify to frustrated hens not being ready to mate. Broken egg-shells tell of success and busy-ness. I’ve noticed the Drongo checking out the possibilities of a meal, as does the resident Fiscal Shrike.
The entrance porch is home now to a pair of house martins (I think). One flew into the cottage to the delight of my old cat who could do nothing but chatter. It was evening so I switched off the inside lights and it soon found its way out.

MOTHS
Never have I seen such a variety of insects as those that invade any lighted room in my cottage!

 

Metarctica lateritia

Metarctica lateritia

Does anyone know the ID of this brown moth?

Does anyone know the ID of this brown moth?

GUTTURAL TOAD
The insects invite predators so of course I have had to remove frogs from the cottage. At last I remembered to photograph one: the flash in the bucket has given the toad an unusual colour but its patterns show quite clearly. The cross on its back is reminiscent of the cross on a donkey’s back, but I don’t think there’s any linking the toad to that legend!

Guttural Toad

Guttural Toad

Dieter Setz – Wakecroft

The first pic is where I was walking with Inhlosane in the back. I have never seen the grass that short before and only very few flowers very low down to the ground before.

Inhlosane

Inhlosane

This purple flower was almost not visible at all.

2

This yellow flower I have seen many a times before, but this time very low to the ground and not many about.

3

Purple flower next to a fern, also not taller than 15cm in height.

4

Dung Beatle busy rolling his food store for the next generation.

5

Evening primrose normally well over 1 meter tall, this one 20cm high.

6

Never seen this before on the side of an eroded path.

7

This green friend was very happy where he was

8

Normally these Beatles are also 10x bigger. Must have been the lack of rain this year that stunned all growth up here in the upper dargle.

9

Nicole Schafer – Woodcroft Farm, Lidgetton

A large Bushbuck ram seen on Woodcroft farm, photographed from a distance

Bushbuck

Bushbuck

Brunsvigia photographed in the Mbona Private Nature Reserve

Mbona Nature Reserve - Brunsvigia 2

And here a little closer…

Mbona Nature Reserve - Brunsvigia

Charles Crookes – Copperleigh Farm

Common Slug Eater (Thanks Pat McKrill for the identification!)

Common Slug Eater

Common Slug Eater

Andrew Pridgeon – Copperleigh Farm

Black and orange locust

Black & Orange Locust

David Crookes – Copperleigh Farm

Black scorpion seen near the MTN tower on the top of the farm

Black Scorpion

Pat and Sandra Merrick – Albury Farm, Lidgetton

Our 2 wagtail babies hatched on a day of 38 degrees (1st dec) The 2 white throated baby swallows on the front verandah decided it was just too hot and decided to also get out of the nest and sit on top of it

White-throated Swallow sitting outside his mud nest

White-throated Swallow sitting outside his mud nest

They kept sitting on lampshade for a few days and then across to the ledge a metre away for a few hours where mom kept encouraging them to get out there and fly. Eventually on the 7th December they flew out and sat on gutter where mom and dad fed them for a few hours (they were born 23rd November approx.)

Mommy swallow flying in to feed the 2 young that had just left the nest

Mommy swallow flying in to feed the 2 young that had just left the nest

They then joined the parents and flew off into the blue skies – they returned to the mud nest each evening for 2 weeks thereafter and then we went on holiday. They were not here on our return.

I was very excited to watch the growth and feeding of the wagtail young on our verandah.

Cape Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

Both parents so diligent feeding non stop till late evening

Pair of Cape Wagtails feeding their young

Pair of Cape Wagtails feeding their young

Then on the 10th December I went out to see them and they were lying dead beneath their nest. One half eaten and very little left of the other one

Remains of dead wagtail babies

Remains of dead wagtail babies

I was absolutely devastated. I cannot understand what is happening with this pair of wagtails. First she laid 2 eggs in the jasmine creeper in spring and never sat on them. Then she made a nest in the other creeper and the 2 young just disappeared on the tenth day too. Then they came and built on the verandah in my pot plant and again death – but why and who would eat them? A few days later they decided to start building again on the verandah but this time in my maidenhair fern. That was an absolute no no. Removed the fern. They now have built another nest in the jasmine creeper but so high that I cannot see anything but see the pair of adults flitting in and out.

On the other side of the verandah the female Amethyst Sunbird started feeding her young at the beginning of December. On the 10th dec I saw one sunbird peeking its head out the nest and tweeting loudly for its food.

Only room for one sunbird at a time to stick its head out of nest

Only room for one sunbird at a time to stick its head out of nest

Poor mama was working overtime because he screamed all day long – then 2 days later suddenly another head appeared behind the front head battling to get the front position, but no room.

2 juvenile Amethyst Sunbirds

2 juvenile Amethyst Sunbirds

No wonder mom was working so hard. Dad arrived now and then to check out the progress of the young. On the 15th dec both babies left the nest at lunch time and sat on the hanging basket for awhile.

2 juvenile Amethyst Sunbirds leaving the nest for the first time

2 juvenile Amethyst Sunbirds leaving the nest for the first time

Unfortunately I was not here to see this magic emergence but fortunately my husband was, and took a few pics. Thereafter mom fed both of them in the bottlebrush tree and fuschia bushes outside my bedroom. I could not see them but could hear them and saw mom popping in and out. I was just so thrilled to know that at least the swallow and sunbird babes had survived.

There are at least 4 sets of sparrows being fed by mom on the lawn at the moment. Two have 3 each, one has one and the other one has 2, so they too have done well considering this is their 2nd batch this season.
A pair of starlings have been feeding young in the one chimney and rock pigeons feeding in the other chimney.

What was very special this year was seeing one juvenile Red-throated Wryneck emerge from its nest in the hollow pole next to the gate in front of our house.

Juvenile and adult Red-throated Wryneck

Juvenile and adult Red-throated Wryneck

The female has sat there and called for about 3 seasons now and no young ever seemed to come from this. This juvenile sat on top of the pole for a few days before eventually flying off with mom.

Juvenile Red-throated Wryneck testing his wings before flying off with mom

Juvenile Red-throated Wryneck testing his wings before flying off with mom

Another first for us was having a pair of black cuckoo calling in the trees around the house. Probably because our trees have grown large (we have been here nearly 8 years)
An olive thrush has been digging up our ground cover in the formal garden looking for grubs and worms and is nesting in one of the standard drassina bushes.

One afternoon, 2 Cape Longclaws were giving vent to their feelings for hours while sitting in the proteas.

Couple of Cape Longclaws

Couple of Cape Longclaws

I have only seen 2 juvenile Cape Robin-Chats this season.

Juvenile Cape Robin-Chat

Juvenile Cape Robin-Chat

Have only seen 16 white stork in our lands. Pat saw an oribi running through farm and also a Martial Eagle. Our gardener sadly killed another Red-lipped Herald on the verandah (~perhaps the gardener needs to attend a Snake Talk with Pat McKrill?! – Ash). Our house sitter saw a genet at 7pm walking along the stone wall behind the house.

A pair of Natal Spurfowl walked down our driveway one morning.

Natal Spurfowl

Natal Spurfowl

Another first for us was the female Buff-streaked Chat nesting under the eaves of the house. Could not see the nest but they kept flying in and out. One precious baby came of this mating.

Juvenile male Buff-streaked Chat

Juvenile male Buff-streaked Chat

One morning I heard a commotion out the front and saw dad chasing his son around the rockery – poor little guy was terrified and screeching his head off.

Adult father Buff-streaked Chat chasing his juvenile son away – little chap hiding behind rockery

Adult father Buff-streaked Chat chasing his juvenile son away – little chap hiding behind rockery

Dad eventually left. Juvenile male buff streaked chat resting on rock after being chased by dad…

Juvenile male Buff-streaked Chat resting on rock after being chased by dad

Juvenile male Buff-streaked Chat resting on rock after being chased by dad

Ingrid if you are reading this, I have about 12 photos for you if you are still interested, as you told me last year that there was only 1 picture on the internet of a juvenile and then the one I took last year. Now I have some lovely ones of him which I will post next month or contact me should you need the photos.

I think this may be a juvenile Malachite Sunbird?

I think this may be a juvenile malachite sunbird

Eidin Griffin

Spotted lots of these giant African land snails on the D16 between Corrie Lynn and the river. Saw them around the same time last year too. I was in and out of the car a couple of times moving them so they wouldn’t get squashed by traffic. Must ask the Corrie Lynn school kids to make a ‘Beware of the Snails’ sign 🙂

Snail

Barend & Helen Booysen – Crab Apple Cottages

The Carnivorous snail on the right is busy having a dinner of Agate Snail in Kilgobbin Forest…

Untitled

Carl Bronner – Old Kilgobbin Farm

I was riding with a friend up on our main hayfield last week and we saw two huge black birds with red faces. When we got home and checked in the Roberts’ bird book, we found out that they were ground hornbills! Quite rare in our area. We didn’t get too close as we had dogs with us, and the birds marched along the edge of the field and then disappeared into the forest.

Ashley’s Response: Thanks Carl! That is a rare and a great find. Southern Ground-Hornbills are listed as ‘Vulnerable’ throughout Africa by the IUCN, but within South Africa they have been classified as ‘Endangered’, as their numbers outside of formally protected areas are still declining. If you have a moment and can possibly provide additional info such as exact location and GPS coordinates, please go to the Mabula Ground Hornbill Project website:

http://www.ground-hornbill.org.za/

Ashley Crookes – Copperleigh Farm

American brambles (declared Invasive Alien Plants) are a terrible curse that we are battling to get rid of on the farm, but after 3 years we are almost winning the battle. The berries are delicious though…I will miss them!

American Bramble Berries

American Bramble Berries

The dandelions are certainly popping up all over the countryside.

Dandelions

Had a plague of beetles arrive the one day, luckily they soon disappeared.

Beetle plague, here one day and gone the next

A large green locust came to visit.

Large green locust

And a hairy worm was playing on the lawn.

Large hairy worm

This beautiful large moth was sitting on the dog’s blanket.

Large moth on dog blanket

On one occasion I picked up a dead leaf from the hydrangea bush and found this very large yellow spider inside (Hairy Field Spider), I set him down and made my retreat!

Large yellow spider inside a Hydrangea leaf

Hairy Field Spider

One evening the dogs were going mad, so I went outside to find out the cause…

 

I found a very docile Natal Black Snake Natal black snake...1which didn’t seem at all worried about all the commotion it was causing. It slowly slithered through the grass, and went down the drain pipe.

Natal black snake...2

This beautiful Painted Reed Frog came into the kitchen one evening so I tried to take it outside. I found out it had really sticky foot pads as I struggled to get it off my hand!

Painted Reed Frog

Every evening these black beetles are attracted in their hundreds to the gate security lights

Thousands of small black beetles drawn to the security lights

A couple of coiled up Millipedes found under an old tyre.

Tightly Coiled Millipedes

And a strange bug I found, never seen one before.

Unknown bug

The wild Aloes were managing to collect some of the dew drops.

Water collecting in wild aloe leaves

Water running down the road after a big rain! Sadly it was short lived and we still needs lots more to add to the little puddles of dams in the area.

Running rain water - a welcome sight

Jenny Fly – Kildaragh Farm

The dry weather continues with just enough drizzle to keep things green. The Pavetta lanceolata,  (weeping brides bush )in the garden was looking very pretty but with the intense heat and no rain, it was soon over.

Pavetta lanceolata

Pavetta lanceolata

At the beginning of December we noticed a pair of Gurney’s Sugarbirds in the gigantic Jochroma cyaneum ( South American ) known as blue cestrum. One of the few exotics in the garden as the sunbirds, amethyst, malachite and Southern double-collared, love it too.

Jochroma cyaneum

Jochroma cyaneum

In the 12 years we have lived on Kildaragh, we have trotted up 128 bird species. Residents, holidaymakers and daytrippers. A motley selection outside the kitchen.

3 - Birds

The rye field alongside the garden, has attracted the tiny Zitting Cisticolas, and we constantly hear their loud, high pitched call as they fly dipping over the grass. Recently, in the early of the morning, we have heard the nkonyane’s (bladder beetle) eerie call . Our children used to think that the Martians had landed and were always rather wide eyed at the sound.

Our gardener, while eating her lunch noticed an umhlangane running across the wide lawn to cover, on the other side. It must have been a confused, large , grey mongoose.

A night adder paid us a Christmas visit. Tried to gain entry to house, but I shooed him off.

Night Adder

Night Adder

The Alberta magna gives us a good display of lovely bright flowers each summer.

Alberta magna

Alberta magna

The little Eucomis humilis

Eucomis humilis

Eucomis humilis

Boston Wildlife Sightings – December 2015

Caroline McKerrow of “Stormy Hill”:

In November, I saw two large grey mongooses or it could be one that I saw one twice as it was in the same area on both days. A jackal ran across my path when I was out riding. Two bushbuck were grazing when taking a trail ride. A couple of mountain reedbuck, and then at home I saw a Common Reedbuck and Duiker

Crystelle Wilson of “Gramarye”:

Breeding season is in full swing. A necklace of Southern Red Bishops paints a picture of colonial harmony,

Southern Red Bishop

Southern Red Bishop

but there are a lot of territorial disputes between males

Male Southern Red Bishop

Male Southern Red Bishop

All these activities are keenly observed by Diderick Cuckoos for the slightest opportunity to slip into a nest and deposit an egg

Dideric Cuckoo

Dideric Cuckoo

Another parasitic species, a Dusky Indigobird, put in a surprise appearance on my kitchen stoep on Christmas morning. I haven’t seen them around for some time and this one was probably checking out the presence of African Firefinches.

Dusky Indigobird

Dusky Indigobird

A disaster though, on the same morning, was when I found that part of the nest of the Greater Swallows had broken off and an empty egg was lying on the stoep below.

CW5 - Egg of Greater Striped Swallow

Despite the dry conditions and shortage of suitable mud, the parents wasted no time to begin fixing the damage

Greater Striped Swallow

Greater Striped Swallow

I was delighted to notice that one chick seemed to have survived in the nest. During the days following, the parents were kept busy alternating between feeding their offspring and repairing the nest

Surviving chick of Greater Striped Swallow

Surviving chick of Greater Striped Swallow

Breeding success for other species meant there are a number of fledglings flopping around in the vegetation, trying out their balancing acts, like Levaillant’s Cisticola

Levaillant's Cisticola

Levaillant’s Cisticola

And Amethyst Sunbird sitting pretty

Amethyst Sunbird

Amethyst Sunbird

And African Stonechat testing its vocal skills

African Stonechat

African Stonechat

I was very pleased to find a posse of Orange-breasted Waxbills feeding on a path. By standing very still, they came quite close and allowed themselves to be photographed.

Orange-breasted Waxbill

Orange-breasted Waxbill

SABAP2 atlas sightings for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000 included: White-throated Swallow, Cape Robin-chat, African Sacred Ibis, Brown-throated Martin, Helmeted Guineafowl, Black-headed Oriole, Red-knobbed Coot, Pied Starling, Brimstone Canary, African Firefinch, Barn Owl, Natal Spurfowl, African Black Duck, Cape Grassbird, African Rail, Yellow-fronted Canary, Cape Canary, Common Waxbill, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Wailing Cisticola, Cape Longclaw, Speckled Pigeon, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Bar-throated Apalis, Jackal Buzzard

Jackal Buzzard

Jackal Buzzard

Sombre Greenbul, Wattled Crane, African Wattled Lapwing, Red-billed Teal, African Snipe, South African Shelduck, Black Crake, Common Moorhen, Reed Cormorant, Three-banded Plover, Blacksmith Lapwing, Barn Swallow, Little Grebe, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Cape Wagtail, African Darter, White-breasted Cormorant, Yellow-billed Kite,

Yellow-billed Kite

Yellow-billed Kite

Drakensberg Prinia, African Stonechat, African Reed-warbler, Little Rush-warbler, Red-chested Flufftail, Red-collared Widowbird, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Yellow-billed Duck, Southern Red Bishop, Cape Crow, Common Quail, Burchell’s Coucal, Pied Kingfisher, Red-billed Quelea, Dark-capped Bulbul, Cape White-eye, Speckled Mousebird, Black Saw-wing, Amethyst Sunbird, Green Wood-hoopoe, Black-headed Heron, Bokmakierie, Red-capped Lark, African Pipit, Village Weaver,

Village Weaver

Village Weaver

Cape Weaver, Zitting Cisticola, Red-necked Spurfowl, Common Fiscal, Spur-winged Goose, Egyptian Goose, Fork-tailed Drongo, African Dusky Flycatcher, Olive Thrush, African Hoopoe, Southern Boubou, Cape Turtle-dove, Red-eyed Dove, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, House Sparrow, Cape Sparrow, Pin-tailed Whydah, Diderick Cuckoo, African Paradise-flycatcher, Greater Striped Swallow, Hadeda Ibis, Long-crested Eagle, Cattle Egret, Grey Crowned Crane, (cutting a lonely figure in a dam drying out)

Grey Crowned Crane

Grey Crowned Crane

African Spoonbill, Dusky Indigobird, African Fish-Eagle

African Fish-Eagle

African Fish-Eagle

Christeen Grant of “Sitamani”:

At last rain, thunderstorms, misty mornings and damp overcast days.

After the storm

After the storm

Although it seems too late for most of the indigenous flowering plants, flower numbers are way down compared to most Decembers, many of the wide variety are represented. The insect world however has come alive, particularly moths.

There were two first sightings for Sitamani, both have the common name ‘maiden’ although not the same genus, African Maiden Moth, Family Thyretidae and Cool Maiden, Amata kuhlweini.

African Maiden Moth, Family Thyretidae

African Maiden Moth, Family Thyretidae

Cool Maiden, Amata kuhlweini

Cool Maiden, Amata kuhlweini

Then many more of which I only have three ID’s, Marbled Emperor; a stunning red moth Metarctica lateritia and Plum Slug, Latoia lastistriga which is quite apt as the caterpillars eat plums and we have an orchard of them!

Marbled Emperor

Marbled Emperor

Metarctica lateritia

Metarctica lateritia

Plum Slug Latoia lastistriga

Plum Slug Latoia lastistriga

02 Moth P1050939 02 Moth IMG_1422 02 Moth P1050942 02 Moth P1050945 02 Moth P1050946

Other insects include butterflies, Common Meadow Blue, Cupidopsis cissus cissus and a Pirate, Catacroptera cloane cloane this was a first sighting here.

Common Meadow Blue, Cupidopsis cissus cissus

Common Meadow Blue, Cupidopsis cissus cissus

Pirate Catacroptera, cloane cloane

Pirate Catacroptera, cloane cloane

Bees are plentiful in the indigenous brambles and any other flower they can find.

Bee

Bee

Then I wrote last month: “The distinctive sound of the Bladder grasshoppers echoes at night, ‘gonion, gonion’, but I haven’t seen one yet”, and one appeared!

Bladder grasshopper

Bladder grasshopper

A gorgeous Blister Beetle, a shy Mottled Veld Antlion, a Praying mantis that pretended to be a stick insect and an interesting small wasp of the Enicospilus genus which lays its eggs in Cut Worms.

 Blister beetle on Cyanotis speciosa

Blister beetle on Cyanotis speciosa

Mottled Veld Antlion

Mottled Veld Antlion

Praying mantis

Praying mantis

Wasp of Enicospilus genus

Wasp of Enicospilus genus

The Village Weavers are still busy building, but one female is happy, she laid an egg now hatched and both parents are frantically feeding the demanding vocal chick! Other birds that attracted my attention was a Cape Longclaw, four Greater Striped Swallows and a disconsolately damp Red-throated Widow on top of a tree in the damp drizzle!

Village Weaver male

Village Weaver male

Village Weaver egg

Village Weaver egg

Greater Striped Swallow

Greater Striped Swallow

04 Bird Cape Longclaw IMG_4493

Red-collared Widowbird

Red-collared Widowbird

Flower species seen were: Agapanthus campanulatus, Asclepias albens, Berkheya speciosa, Commelina africana, Cynaotis speciosa,

Agapanthus campanulatus

Agapanthus campanulatus

Asclepias albens

Asclepias albens

Berkheya speciosa

Berkheya speciosa

Commelina africana

Commelina africana

Cynaotis speciosa

Cynaotis speciosa

both green and orange Dipcadi viride,

Dipcadi viride

Dipcadi viride

Dipcadi viride orange form

Dipcadi viride orange for

Dipcadi viride seeds

Dipcadi viride seeds

Gadiolus ecklonii, another first sighting just a single plant, Eulophia calanthoides, Eulophia ovalis, Eulophia zeheriana,

Gadiolus ecklonii

Gadiolus ecklonii

Orchid, Eulophia calanthoides

Orchid, Eulophia calanthoides

Orchid Eulophia ovalis

Orchid Eulophia ovalis

Orchid, Eulophia zeheriana

Orchid, Eulophia zeheriana

then an exception that is flowering profusely, some colonies of between 10-15 plants plus individuals scattered around, Orthochilus foliosus, Pachycarpus natalensis, Pelargonium luridum, Spotted-leaved Arum Zantedeschia albomaculata, Tephrosia purpurea, Watsonia confusa, Zornia capensis and fruiting Searsea discolour.

Orchid, Orthochilus foliosus

Orchid, Orthochilus foliosus

Pachycarpus natalensis

Pachycarpus natalensis

Pelargonium luridum

Pelargonium luridum

Spotted-leaved Arum Zantedeschia albomaculata

Spotted-leaved Arum Zantedeschia albomaculata

Tephrosia purpurea

Tephrosia purpurea

Watsonia confusa

Watsonia confusa

Zornia capensis

Zornia capensis

Searsea discolour

Searsea discolour

Black-backed Jackals yip and howl in the evenings. A male and female Common Duiker are regular visitors in the early morning and evening and have been enjoying the bounty of fallen plums!

Dargle Wildlife Sightings – October 2015

We were sad to hear that David Clulow passed away during October. David was the inspiration behind our Wildlife Sightings, having started collecting monthly records in Boston many years ago. He was pleased that other Conservancies had followed his example, and always sent supportive notes when he received the latest edition. We will miss his witty and clever comments.

October has been an extremely dry month for us here in the Dargle. With only a few millimeters of rain received near the beginning of the month, we had almost nothing until this past week when a few drops finally fell to cool down the parched earth. Hopefully this means that the big rains will be coming soon!

We have some great images and stories to share, so let us take your mind off your normal daily worries, and be transported to the enchanting forests and valleys of The Dargle, in the KZN Midlands…

David Crookes – Copperleigh Farm

South African shelduck or Cape shelduck (Tadorna cana), this is the female

South African shelduck or Cape shelduck (Tadorna cana), this is the female

A Male Shelduck keeping watch from the jetty

A Male Shelduck keeping watch from the jetty

Shelduck Family, only 3 of the original 8 babies are left

Shelduck Family, only 3 of the original 8 babies are left

How to do the "Shelduck Bob"...

How to do the “Shelduck Bob”…

Male Shelduck being chased by Egyptian Goose

Male Shelduck being chased by Egyptian Goose

Life is tough, living on a farm dam

Life is tough, living on a farm dam

Spurwing Goose standing on wooden pole

Spurwing Goose standing on wooden pole

A Pair of Blue Crane flying overhead

A Pair of Blue Crane flying overhead

The Amethyst sunbird, also called the black sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina)

The Amethyst sunbird, also called the black sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina)

Juvenile Gymnogene, checking out the weaver nests

Juvenile Gymnogene, checking out the weaver nests

Eidin Griffin

Puffadder caught by Mlungisi.

Puffadder caught by Mlungisi

Puffadder caught by Mlungisi

Nikki Brighton – Old Kilgobbin

This month, for the first time ever I saw a Tambourine Dove. It may not be rare or unusual, but it was very exciting for me!

Tambourine Dove

Tambourine Dove

A group of big egrets were in the water and roosting in the dead tree beside the dam one morning, I have never seen them here before, either. Are they Yellow-billed Egrets?

Who's this Egret?

Who’s this Egret?

Have often heard Burchell’s Coucal (will have to change it’s common name ‘Rain Bird’, I think), occasionally a Buff Spotted Flufftail and of course, all the cuckoos – Emerald and Klaus’ – Red Chested first heard on 9 October, with African Black on 10 October. I have not heard the Diederick yet. Spotted this clump of Spurwinged Geese early one morning.

Spur-winged Geese

Spur-winged Geese

Always good to find familiar spring favourites in the grassland, like Senecio speciosus.

Senecia speciosus

Senecia speciosus

Eulophia clavicornis – The colour of the flower is variable, ranging from purplish brown to dark green with a white or purple or yellow fleshy lip. One reference I came across described Eulophia clavicornis as a ‘mauve pixie’ which seems just perfect.

Eulophia clavicornis

Eulophia clavicornis

Learn more about Eriosema disctinctum:

Eriosema distinctum

Eriosema distinctum

Eriosema Kraussianum – The silvery stems are covered in silky hairs which set off the pale yellow flowers perfectly. For centuries, Zulu men have drunk hot milk infusions or boiled root decoctions made from Eriosema to treat impotence. In 2006, research undertaken by the University of Natal found that key compounds in the plant are effective in tackling this problem.

Eriosema kraussianum

Eriosema kraussianum

Senecio oxyriifolius with fleshy, nasturtium like leaves and flowers help aloft on long stalks.

senecio oxyrifolius false nasturtium

senecio oxyrifolius false nasturtium

Kouhautia amatymbica are flowering profusely – must like the dry weather.

Kouhautia amatymbica

Kouhautia amatymbica

Clerodendrum hirsutum Wild violet, in the grassland.

Clerodendrum hirsutum

Clerodendrum hirsutum

Beside a stream bed (no water flowing) a splendid, shoulder high Crinum macrowanii

Crinum macrowanii

Crinum macrowanii

Found some more unusual plants too like Schizoglossum cordifolium Common Split tongue

Schizoglossum cordifolium

Schizoglossum cordifolium

Asclepias cucullata Hooded Meadow Star

Asclepias cucullata

Asclepias cucullata

Have seen one oribi, two bush buck and a few reedbuck and common duikers. Lots of evidence of wildlife in the damp edges of the dam. There are great swathes of Senecio bupleuroides (I think) which flower in recently burnt areas.

Senecio bupleroides mass

Senecio bupleroides mass

Up close the flowers are too pretty for words. Commonly known as Yellow Starwort.

Senecio bupleroides

Senecio bupleroides

Finding this damselfly was a treat! Not sure what it is. Help anyone? Perhaps it is actually an antlion?

Who's this Damselfly?

Who’s this Damselfly?

I am always pleased to come across a dung beetle, there don’t seem to be nearly enough around.

Dung Beetle

Dung Beetle

Fields of daisies (I think Adenanthellum osmitoides)

White daisies

White daisies

Derek & Sue Miller

Natal Green Snake, not very sharp as it was shot in a hurry! We used the markings on the wall to measure the snake’s length of well over 1.5metres.

Natal Green Snake

Natal Green Snake

Ashley Crookes – Copperleigh Farm

A couple weeks ago I was checking up on our little stream which runs through the natural bush on our farm. Thankfully it was still running, providing water further down for some of our animals.

Even through the worst part of the drought this little stream still flowed from underground

Even through the worst part of the drought this little stream still flowed from underground

I also managed to sneak up to within 3m of an Olive Woodpecker before he got nervous of myself and the cellphone camera

Male Olive Woodpecker (Mesopicos griseocephalus)

Male Olive Woodpecker (Mesopicos griseocephalus)

He left quite a few holes in one of the little trees…

Holes in wood from woodpecker

Holes in wood from woodpecker

…as well as a significant pile of “saw dust”!

Sawdust from woodpecker

Sawdust from woodpecker

There was a fire (November) recently which burnt a large portion of farmland – just to give you all an idea of how dry it has been.

Fires started last week near the chicken farm

Fires started last week near the chicken farm

A massive Aardvark hole at the top of our farm

Massive Aardvark hole on the farm

Massive Aardvark hole on the farm

Spiderweb on the ground captured the recent rain

Spiderweb on ground captured the rain

Spiderweb on ground captured the rain

The Dargle Valley should start to look a little greener now, after the recent rains

View of the valley from up high

View of the valley from up high

I wasn’t sure what this dead snake was, so sent it to Pat McKrill for his expert opinion: ” It’s a Cross marked, or Montane grass snake, probably got a new common name now, but still Psammophis crucifer. Although venomous, completely harmless, and feeds on lizards and frogs. Good find, not often seen, pity that it’s got to the end of the road before time.”

Unknown

Cross marked, or Montane grass snake

Some lovely skins found in the garden, courtesy of the Natal Green Snakes!

Snake skins found in garden most likely from Natal Green Snakes

Snake skins found in garden most likely from Natal Green Snakes

Brian & Marashene Lewis – GlenGyle
Everyone looks at plants and animals. After the lovely rains the forest fungi are flourishing. We noticed 3 specimens today.

The yellow fungus is Pycnoporus Sanguineus. (Cinnabar Bracket)

Pycnoporus Sanguineus. (Cinnabar Bracket)

Pycnoporus Sanguineus. (Cinnabar Bracket)

The white fungus appears to be Auricularia Auricula-judae (Jews ear)

Auricularia Auricula-judae (Jews ear)

Auricularia Auricula-judae (Jews ear)

Best game camera photo for September. I desaturated a day photograph – Bushbuck Ram

Bushbuck Ram

Bushbuck Ram

Malvina van Breemen – Old Furth Estate

We have been privileged this month to see a caracal right near the house in our hill paddock, although we are wondering whether it was scoping out one of our Nguni calves or coming closer to check on our free-roaming ducks and Bushveld chickens! There’s a caracal in this photo – somewhere at the bottom of a clump of grass…

Caracal hidden in the grass somewhere

Caracal hidden in the grass somewhere

We have also had numerous Natal dwarf chameleons around the house, male and female and so look forward to a crop of tiny, itsy bitsy babies soon.

The spoonbill has been very busy in our super-low dams, along with several sacred ibis and the first Piet-My-Vrou started calling on the 7th of October.

Spoonbill making the most of the low water levels

Spoonbill making the most of the low water levels

The first swallows were spotted here on the 15th of October and the Swifts and Martins just before that. The raptors have been very busy overhead and our Gymnogene has been causing havoc with the Weavers. The Blue and Crowned Cranes have been spotted flying overhead and landing on various parts of the farm.

The Bushbuck have been very active on the hill near the house and we have seen the magnificent male a few times on the road going up the hill. He is a very watchful chap and we often hear him ‘barking’ at night whenever something disturbs them.

Inhlosane viewed from Old Furth Estate

Inhlosane viewed from Old Furth Estate

We also had a rather noisy and large fruit beetle land in our kitchen – I knew them by the Afrikaans name of “Tor” but think it may be a CMR beetle in English

Beetle

Beetle

The baboons are obviously getting really hungry and munched through a couple of cables on one of our WebSmart Wireless Broadband masts, thereby decommissioning everyone’s connections to that high site! Frustrating for all concerned…..

Jenny Fly – Kildaragh Farm

So hot , so dry , but we all press on hopefully , and as night follows day, so we hope the rain must come.

A beautifully patterned moth

A beautifully patterned moth

Despite the drought and heat , indigenous plants and trees in the garden are valiantly blooming.Scilla natalensis or blue squill

Despite the drought and heat , indigenous plants and trees in the garden are valiantly blooming.Scilla natalensis or blue squill

Thunbergia natalensis. The Natal Bluebell.

Thunbergia natalensis. The Natal Bluebell.

The little Ochna natalita tree with it's cheerful yellow flowers

The little Ochna natalita tree with it’s cheerful yellow flowers

Prunus africana , Red Stinkwood or Bitter Almond in glorious bloom

Monsters in the garden, that appeared one mizzly evening.

Monsters in the garden, that appeared one mizzly evening.

Monsters in the garden, that appeared one mizzly evening.

Monsters in the garden, that appeared one mizzly evening.

Lara Kirsten and Kim Goodwin – Woodstock Farm, Lidgetton

Unknown - Bagworm moth larvae

Unknown – Bagworm moth larvae

Neville van Lelyveld : Farm Report for Iain Sinclair, Benn Meadhon Farm

Oribi: During both visits we only saw 5 Oribi, 3 female and 2 males in the Oribi Paddock all of the other Oribi from the second herd that lived above the maize paddock have disappeared. This is a major blow to our Oribi project as we have had a reduction from 15 to 5 ever since the February issue. One bit of good news however is that “Baby Girl” one of our babies from 2013 is now pregnant. We noticed this during our September visit and confirmed it during our October visit. She is already withdrawing from the main herd so she is close to delivery. This is a big thing for us as she was one of our babies that is now pregnant so it is very special for Hayley and I. We will be closely monitoring them from slightly more of a distance over the next few months and we will also monitor the jackal movement and presence in this paddock from now on, in order to ensure the survival of this very precious baby on the way. She still let us within our normal 5m range of her.

Reedbuck: There has been a major reduction in the reedbuck population from 27 animals during our September visit to a total of 12 female only. All the males have been poached out. It is very obviously that these males have been “professionally” poached or shot as only the males have been taken. This poaching of the males only is obviously for their horns as trophies as they are of a taxidermist value as trophies for sale to the general public. These trophies can fetch several thousands of rand each. This situation will also be closely monitored and the perpetrators will be brought to book.

Grey duiker: Sadly only 3 duiker females were observed and once again as per the Reedbuck all the males have been poached again for their horns as trophies as a taxidermist value. As with the Reedbuck we will be monitoring this closely and the perpetrators will be brought to book as well as any other accessories involved in this poaching going on, on the farm. This is very clearly not the local with snares as the poaching is done far to selectively and professionally.

Jackals: During the September visit while we were observing the nocturnal wildlife we heard someone on the farm using an electronic jackal caller on the farm fairly close to the cross road area. We saw no jackals that night. The question then has to be asked who did and who were they? A very big concern for the welfare of the wildlife.

Bushbuck: No Bush buck have been seen on the farm since January 2015. There is however bush buck scat and tracks to be seen on the farm in certain areas, but even this is nowhere near as much as what was seen prior to February this year. The distinct reduction in scat and track presence since February does prove a major reduction on the farm.

Conservation Award:

2015 AGM Trophy Award for Conservation Neville van Leyleveld

Neville van Lelyveld received the J.F.King Conservation Trophy from KZN Hunting and Conservation Association recently for his work in conservation, particularly in Dargle. Neville believes that this is an example of how hunters and conservationists can work together for the greater good of indigenous wildlife and hope that his work inspires other hunters to get involved in similar projects. “This is a team effort” he said, thanking in particular Iain Sinclair of Benn Meadhon, Dr. Ian Little from EWT, Brian and Teresa Jones of SACAN, Dargle Conservancy, Kim Gillings Ezemvelo DCO, Howard Long, Rob Hanbury, Graham Freese, Katie Robinson, AP Smith and Robin and Sharon Barnsley.

Pat and Sandra Merrick – Albury Farm

Most evenings we had ten reedbuck grazing in the dry dam below us – 3 males and 7 females – one evening the 2 males were fighting until it got too dark for me to see – I was concerned that they would get injured with their large horns but Pat assured me that he did not find any injured animal the next day. The secretary bird has been walking the hills for a few weeks.

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A male spurwing goose arrives on some mornings and sits or stands on the rock on top of the hill behind us, admiring the view.

Spur-winged Goose

Spur-winged Goose

We saw 2 oribi running up the hill one day (male and female) – the male looked like he only had one very long horn but was difficult to see as they were running.

Oribi

Oribi

On the 17th, 3 wagtails were born in the jasmine creeper – i took a photo of them at ten days old and the next day they had vanished – they certainly did not look ready to fly – looked all over for them but no luck – I wondered if the owls may have eaten them – they were living under the eves close by – the barn owls have now left.

On the 20th, 2 cape robins were born in a honeysuckle creeper – I checked them today and they are getting quite large now but still with lots of fluff.

3 4
Pat saw a serval at 7am on the driveway one morning.

A few days ago while having tea on the verandah Pat and I heard jackal buzzards – we went outside and saw what looked like mom giving her 2 fledglings a lesson in flying – there was lots of conversing – the youngsters seemed to flap madly at times, while mom glided swiftly and smoothly through the thermals. When one went up too high she flew up and brought him down, still with lots of chat between them all. It was a very heartwarming sighting.

We have 3 pairs of white throated swallows nesting around under the eves of the house in the corners. The one pair decided to make their mud nest in a cup shape on the same glass lamp shade that the black female sunbird built on last year (we left that nest there in the hope that she would return)

Female Amethyst Sunbird enjoying the Protea flowers

Female Amethyst Sunbird enjoying the Protea flowers

Instead, the female Amethyst sunbird decided to build her nest on a piece of string with 2 crystal baubles tied to it – this has hung on our back verandah for 5 years now – my daughter got married and made a whole lot of hearts and baubles for wedding decoration and I brought one home. Over the years the wind has broken most of it, just leaving about 9 inches of string (too old to work out cm). She started building on the 17th – I have watched her for 2 weeks now as I still have a broken ankle and moon boot, so plenty time to observe our wonderful wildlife.

Amethyst sunbird starting the nest

Amethyst sunbird starting the nest

Sunbird starts at 5am and goes through till 6pm = each trip lasting approx 30 secs –If you had to work out the mileage it would run into a number of kms each day. Every few hours she stops to feed on my alstramerias and bottle brushes. One day when it drizzled she did not work on the nest – probably the wet material would rot the rest of nest or else too difficult to break the pieces of grass, not sure. After ten days of building she started collecting lichen to decorate the outside of the nest – she found a number of feathers in the gutters where the rock pigeons and sparrows sit.

Male Amethyst Sunbird

Male Amethyst Sunbird

Sometimes she would sit on the balustrade and turn her head left and right to check and see that everything was as it should be – sometimes her partner would arrive and sit on my hanging basket and chat to her –probably telling her to get a move on!!

Female Amethyst Sunbird

Female Amethyst Sunbird

Its the 31st today and she is still at it – she has made the hole in the entrance smaller and now lining the inside of nest. Its 2 weeks since she started building. Doing it all on her own. She has been stopping work at 3pm now. I think she becomes exhausted. I always know when shes there as she always arrives with loud cheeping. As my study looks out onto the verandah, I am very fortunate to be able to see her clearly. I am sure there are birds where both male and female help with the nest building. Amazing. I am in awe of God’s creation.

Female Amethyst Sunbird with a gorgeous nest

Female Amethyst Sunbird with a gorgeous nest

We have sparrows in all 4 corners of the house – mostly on top of the gutters – fortunately have not had much rain – some years the nests have been swept down the gutters.

Southern Grey-headed Sparrow

Southern Grey-headed Sparrow

Woke up one cold morning to find the dogs had killed a night adder outside the garage – then 2 weeks ago, also on a cold overcast day, my gardener killed a puff adder. Sorry Pat McKrill, I know you will not be impressed.
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I took a picture of a raptor in our gum trees which we could not identify – I sent it to Dr David Allan in Durban and he said he thought it might be a juvenile jackal buzzard.

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Caught this cape robin fluffing her feathers after a rock pool bath – she looks like a fat clown

Cape Robin-Chat

Cape Robin-Chat

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Duiker

Duiker

Boston Wildlife Sightings – August 2015

Christeen Grant of “Sitamani”:

August has been very dry, despite a few very early in the season thunderstorms, not much rain and that quickly dried up in the hot winds that followed them. There have been mainly very hazy conditions, creating stunning sunrises and sunsets.

02 Cover Dawn through haze IMG_3429

Just the small amounts of moisture has started the slow season change to summer, grass is greening, the earlier spring flowers are starting to appear, with them insects and birds re-growing summer plumage.

02 Cover Clouds IMG_3421

A first sighting / exciting find for me was two small groups of Urginea capitata. These small plants of the Hyancinthaceae Family, are only about 15cms tall, topped with dense inflorescenses of star shaped white flowers. Apparently they are used as a good luck charm by traditional healers.

Urginea capitata

Urginea capitata

Urginea capitata

Urginea capitata

The Common Soap Aloes, Aloe maculata are bright orange splashes of colour on the rocky hillside. Anemone fanninii wave newly opened white flags on the grassy slopes.

Common Soap Aloe - Aloe maculata

Common Soap Aloe – Aloe maculata

Anemone fanninii

Anemone fanninii

The morning after a light rain shower Green-lipped Fire Lilies Cyrtanthus tuckii as well as fragrant, dainty Apodolirion buchananii started appearing.

Cyrtanthus tuckii

Cyrtanthus tuckii

Cyrtanthus tuckii

Cyrtanthus tuckii

Apodolirion buchananii

Apodolirion buchananii

Apodolirion buchananii

Apodolirion buchananii

Tritonia lineata, Tulbaghia leucantha, Dimorphotheca jucunda, Nemesia caerulea, Gazania krebsiana, Gerbera ambigua and Ledebouria ovatifolia, one with Bee fly, Bombomyia discoidea.

Tritonia lineata buds

Tritonia lineata buds

Tritonia lineata

Tritonia lineata

Tulbaghia leucantha

Tulbaghia leucantha

Dimorphotheca jucunda

Dimorphotheca jucunda

Nemesia caerulea

Nemesia caerulea

Gazania krebsiana

Gazania krebsiana

Gerbera ambigua

Gerbera ambigua

Ledebouria ovatifolia with Bee fly, Bombomyia discoidea

Ledebouria ovatifolia with Bee fly, Bombomyia discoidea

Other insects spotted on or near flowers was a Lunate Ladybird Cheilomenes distigma on a Berkheya setifera bud, other Ladybirds and an interesting Milkweed Bug, Spilostethus sp.. A Crab spider, Thomisidae sp on Tritonia lineata, a small spider on the window and a delightful frosted spider web in the grass were also seen.

Ladybird

Ladybird

Ladybird

Ladybird

Lunate Ladybird Cheilomenes distigma on Berkheya setifera bud

Lunate Ladybird Cheilomenes distigma on Berkheya setifera bud

Milkweed Bug Spilostethus sp

Milkweed Bug Spilostethus sp

Milkweed Bug Spilostethus sp

Milkweed Bug Spilostethus sp

Spider Crab spider Thomisidae sp on Tritonia lineata

Spider Crab spider Thomisidae sp on Tritonia lineata

Spider

Spider

Spiders web festooned with frost

Spiders web festooned with frost

Two regular early birds to the birdbath on the verandah, before the sun is up properly and the Cape White-eyes take over, are the Black-backed Puffbacks and the Cape Robin-Chats.

Black-backed Puffback

Black-backed Puffback

Cape Robin-Chat

Cape Robin-Chat

On several early mornings I have seen a small group of four Mountain Reedbuck. Duiker are frequently active in the mornings and evenings, they ‘found’ the violets and within a few days all the flowers and leaves has been munched, leaving stalks and droppings behind. Common Reedbuck are also seen regularly. The eerie call of Black-backed Jackal is heard most evenings. A delight are the small Cape Serotine bat, Pipistrellus capensis bats that flit by at dusk. (Illustration: C. Grant, from Bats of Southern Africa: P.J. Taylor, pub University of Natal Press 2000)

Cape serotine bat Pipistrellus capensis

Cape serotine bat Pipistrellus capensis

Rob and Celia Speirs of “The Rockeries”:

Six Crowned Hornbills in the pecan nut trees in the back garden.

Nigel and Tracy Murray of “Trelyon“:

One Southern Ground Hornbill flying over behind the farmhouse, towards the Gum trees.

Crystelle Wilson of “Gramarye” has again produced the Annual 2016 KZN Birdlife Calendar with 13 excellent photos by Hugh Chittenden of spectacular birds, each month on a separate page, a photograph summary of which appears below.

DC1

Crystelle Wilson of “Gramarye”:

An exciting sighting this month was seeing an otter playing in the dam on The Drift one morning. I often see otter scat near the Elandsriver, but don’t get to see the animal itself.

Otter

Otter

A bird heard more often than seen, is the Lesser Swamp-Warbler. At the end of winter with reduced vegetation around the edges of dams it was easier to find.

Lesser Swamp-Warbler

Lesser Swamp-Warbler

So too in the forest it was easier to spot species such as the Cardinal Woodpecker.

Cardinal Woodpecker

Cardinal Woodpecker

And it was good to see a pair of Secretarybirds, near Lynre farm.

Secretarybird

Secretarybird

The first of the migrant species of birds are beginning to return, including the Yellow-billed Kites and Dark-capped Yellow Warbler.

The SABAP2 list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3100: African Spoonbill,

African Spoonbill

African Spoonbill

Alpine Swift, African Black Swift, Pied Starling, African Dusky Flycatcher, South African Shelduck, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Spotted Eagle-owl, Sombre Greenbul, White-breasted Cormorant, Bar-throated Apalis, White-throated Swallow, Lesser Swamp-warbler, Hamerkop, Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Amethyst Sunbird, Yellow-fronted Canary, Brown-throated Martin, African Darter, Cape Wagtail, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, Helmeted Guineafowl, Black Saw-wing, Red-billed Quelea, Pin-tailed Whydah (beginning to don its breeding colours)

Pin-tailed Whydah

Pin-tailed Whydah

Yellow-billed Kite, Green Wood-hoopoe, Cape Glossy Starling

Cape Glossy Starling

Cape Glossy Starling

Cape Canary, Cape White-eye, Speckled Mousebird, Speckled Pigeon, Giant Kingfisher, Blacksmith Lapwing, Southern Red Bishop, Cape Weaver, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Red-knobbed Coot, Common Moorhen, Little Grebe,

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

Bokmakierie, Reed Cormorant,

Reed Cormorant

Reed Cormorant

Yellow-billed Duck, Common Fiscal, Red-capped Lark, African Pipit, Cape Longclaw, Black-headed Oriole, Southern Boubou, Black Sparrowhawk, Long-crested Eagle, African Hoopoe, Red-necked Spurfowl (which visited my garden),

Red-necked Spurfowl

Red-necked Spurfowl

Spur-winged Goose, African Rail, Egyptian Goose, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-headed Heron, Cape Turtle-dove, Red-eyed Dove, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Common Waxbill, African Firefinch, Cape Grassbird, African Stonechat, Cape Robin-chat, Dark-capped Bulbul, African Sacred Ibis,
Cape Sparrow

Cape Sparrow

Cape Sparrow

Village Weaver, Cape Crow, Hadeda.

African Sacred Ibis

African Sacred Ibis