Bugs & Pests Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Something new for Someone new

It seems that whenever I add something new, someone new turns up to inspect my garden … A week or so ago when I spotted the little Rooibeksysie (Common Wax-bill) eating the apples in the bird feeder, I asked what I should be doing to attract different and new birds to my garden. One suggestion I got from Clare at Curbstone Valley Farm was to add different fruit and she suggested citrus. Other suggestions included different seeds, more water, other fruits, different feeders and a few other ideas including supplying the birds with nesting materials.

With thanks to everyone for the suggestions, so far I have added another bird feeder – a wooden free standing feeder which I’ve filled with seed, apple and granadilla pulp, (will try some oranges tomorrow) and I added some water bowls (we have bird baths and plenty of moving water in the pond for them in the front garden, but no drinking water in the back shade garden, hence the addition). After finding the adorable baby doves sitting in the shade garden last week I realised they need some water nearer ground level, as those babies would not be able to fly up high to reach the nectar bottle or the water in the bird baths and pond.

Twenty-four hours later I have new bird visitors …

Cape Robin-chat

Armed with my new book, “Birds of Southern Africa”, identifying the the new visitors was a breeze. Above is a Cape Robin-Chat (Cossypha caffra). It’s a cute 17 cm little bird with a pale orange throat, upper breast and rump and white belly. According to the book its song is a series of melodious phrases, usually starting with ‘cheroo-weet-weet-weeeet’ and also often mimics other birds. It’s a common resident in gardens in the Western Cape.

Below is a Cape Sparrow (Passer melanurus), 15cm little bird that nests in bushes or small trees or in a wall or roof cavity. The male has a striking black-and-white head. They like to eat seed, fruit, buds, nectar and insects. The Cape Sparrow is near-endemic and lives in grassland, fields and large gardens (so obviously just “passing through” my back garden).

Cape Sparrow

A few more photos …

[one_half]Cape Robin-chat, first, furtive look around …A first, furtive look around ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cape Robin: “Ok, this looks pretty cool …”Ok, this looks pretty cool ...[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The Cape Sparrow is not shy at allThe Cape Sparrow is not shy at all[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cape Sparrow getting stuck into the foodCape Sparrow digs in to the fruit and seed[/one_half_last]

[one_half]New feeder under the big treeNew feeder and water bowls[/one_half]

[one_half_last]New water bowls under the treeNew water bowls under the tree[/one_half_last]

Tomorrow we’ll try oranges and see who turns up …

Happy gardening

List of Birds seen in my garden so far
Cape Sparrow
Cape Robin-Chat
Common Red Waxbill'(Rooibeksysie)
Doves, doves & lots more doves
Red-winged Starling
Southern Double-collared Sunbird
Greater Double-collared Sunbird
Hadeda Ibis
Cape White-eye (Witoogie)

Barbie's garden Home page features Miscellaneous

Malachite sunbird babies

I had the whole day in the garden today and with the joy of seeing the new Malachite sunbird babies in my fuchsia bush, well it made my garden work a whole lot more fun. I literally ‘played’ with them all afternoon. They were not at all fussed to see me in the garden. The mother bird made lots of noise to warn the young ones, but they watched me nonchalantly.

The male malachite sunbird is a bit of a psycho bird – I believe they get aggressive and restless during the breeding season. He makes so much noise for his size and continuously chases the female and attacks the babies. It was my duty to keep the young ones safe. He got so aggressive that he knocked the smaller one out of the fuchsia and he fell between the wooden slats of the front deck! It took me a good half an hour to help him (her) out from under there. He got all tangled up in webs and old leaves that I had to softly roll it off his delicate feet. By this time he was so exhausted and now so tame that he allowed me to hold him. It was such a delight!! We are now buddies!!

[one_half]Spotted the first baby sunbird in the fuchsia[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Can’t tell them apart yet[/one_half_last]

[one_half]This is the smaller one[/one_half]

[one_half_last]and this is the other one[/one_half_last]

Then as the evening came, the mommy sunbird called the children back to the nest and we took more photos of them, all cuddled up and ready for bed! They let us near and we have now been accepted as “cool” by the young ones! Yeay! I love having my feathered friends around me. I guess they all know that I’m the chicken lady and come and make their homes in my trees! What a delight!!

[one_half]And so to bed[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Nighty night little ones[/one_half_last]

Happy Gardening xxxxx