Bugs & Pests Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

The Sunday Bird Show

Well its been hot, hot, hot here and I’ve really not had much inclination to dig in the dirt. All I can motivate myself to do as far as gardening goes is to lounge around, enjoy the garden and appreciate the birds who took over the back garden this afternoon. At one stage there were so many flitting around that I had to put the camera down just to appreciate the very sight of all these different birds who now find some reason to visit my little space in the world. It was really quite something to have all these visitors in such a short space of time.

Most of the birds today were regulars (Yay! I now have “regulars”!) but we also had new birds in the back garden. The Cape Bulbul was new to me and the Redwing Starlings are usually in the front garden, but today they joined us at the back. Every bit of “birdy equipment” was in use this afternoon and the birds showed me what else they’ve been drinking from …here the Redwing Starling is drinking from one of the pots on the Terrace.

Starling on the Terrace

[one_half]Starling on the Terrace[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Starling on the Terrace[/one_half_last]

The Starlings are really not shy at all. They’ve been making my garden their home ever since we’ve lived here but usually confine themselves to the front garden where they have plenty of water features and bird baths which is what they seem to want from me. Water! They also enjoy the Frangipani tree in the front.

Starling on my Terrace

[one_half]Starling on my Terrace[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Starling on my Terrace[/one_half_last]

According to my notes, these with the grey heads are females. They came really close to me and seemed very unfussed by my presence. Then is the “new” kid in town, the Cape Bulbul (Pycnonotus capensis). Cape Bulbul eat fruit, seeds, nectar and insects. They’ve been making short work of the goodies on the new bird feeder.

Cape Bulbul

[one_half]Cape Bulbul[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cape Bulbul[/one_half_last]

This next bird is new to my garden (I haven’t seen it here before). I’ve looked through my “bird” books and can’t find a match for this one. I thought it looked a lot like the Rooibeksysie which is now a very regular visitor, but … I really don’t know what this is. Does anybody recognise it? It has also been eating off the new bird table, but seems a bit shy.

Unknown Birdie

[one_half]Unknown Birdie[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Unknown Birdie[/one_half_last]

Here is the Rooibeksysie (aka Common Red Waxbill) again – they enjoy the hanging bird feeder and are regular everyday visitors now. They seem to prefer the apple pieces to all the other things we’ve tried. Apple and seeds. They are very cute, have become quite forward and are not shy to let the other birds know when they are around.

Red Waxbill

[one_half]Red Waxbill[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Red Waxbill[/one_half_last]

The sweet little sunbird that visits every day between at around five in the afternoon is growing up. (I first wrote about him here when he was a juvenile). I’ve watched him mature over the last three weeks and enjoy seeing him. Amazing that the same birds seem to come back every day or actually live somewhere in my garden …

The Sunbird

[one_half]"My" Sunbird[/one_half]

[one_half_last]"My" Sunbird[/one_half_last]

And then the last bird of the day, the Hadeda – Just as the sun was starting to go down I looked out of my bedroom window and saw this female Hadeda perched on the neighbours roof, looking into my garden. The light was not great so my photos are not good, but here she is – she gave us quite a show when I went outside to photograph her. Lots of preening and posturing.


[one_half]Hadeda Ibis[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Hadeda Ibis[/one_half_last]

Here are a few other random shots of the birds using their old and new birdy things. I’m thrilled to see they are actually using everything I’ve put out for them and are eating all the fruit and seeds. Having all these birds visit is a wonderful side-effect of gardening.

[one_half]More than one bird type …More than one bird type ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Glad to see they do use theseGlad to see they do use these[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Can you see them peeping from behind?Can you see them peeping from behind?[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The Birds main Meeting PointThe main area it all happens[/one_half_last]

Thanks for joining me and “my” birds for our Sunday Bird Show 🙂
Happy Gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Look who’s eating them apples

I put bird seed in the bird feeder and no-one came. Barbie suggested I add a few pieces of fruit – which I did, and a few days later all the fruit was gone. I never saw any birds go near the feeder. I replenished the apples and again, a few days later, all gone. The bird seed was getting less too, they were obviously eating it. Lather, rinse, repeat …

On the back terrace we have some comfy couches and a hanging pod chair where we like to entertain on a nice day. Its casual, relaxed … a lovely spot to catch up and laze away the afternoon. The last two guests have sat down and within minutes remarked … “look, there’s a bird in the bird feeder”. As soon as I look, they are gone, but now I realised why I never see them … I’ve been sitting on the wrong couch! (For some reason guests always gravitate to the couch with the view of the mountain and bird feeder).

So I resolved to spend an afternoon on the “other” couch, by myself. My entourage (dogs) settled down to sleep, I started to read and within minutes … look who came to eat the apples!!

Rooibeksysie in the bird feeder

It’s the Rooibesysie I wrote about here. His (or her) first visit was brief and was mainly inside the feeder – I got a few shots but nothing worth showing. Then it came back and spent a full five minutes eating apples, bird seed and then sat in the opening for what seemed like ages looking up and down and around before it eventually flew off. It’s not the same one from last week – the eye markings are slightly different if you look carefully at the photos, but I’m delighted to know they are using the feeder and eating my apples!

Common Red Waxbill

It’s so interesting to me how different birds have different habits and utilise different things in my garden, with little overlap. I only ever see the Witoogies at the nectar bottle …

Witoogie drinking

… I’ve only seen the Rooibeksysies at the feeder, doves in the trees and at the front garden’s bird bath, Sunbirds seem to stick to the Hibiscus and Frangipani … etc.

I’m loving the birds in my garden and going to research to see what I can do to attract more. Perhaps something different to attract another type. Any suggestions?

How do You attract birds to your garden?

Happy Gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Rooibeksysie in the Pepper Tree

Today I spotted this cute bird in the Pepper Tree and was lucky enough to be sitting with the camera when it briefly perched in the tree, surveyed the scene and decided it was not safe to spend too much time hanging out. It hopped to another branch where it was briefly joined by two others and then they all took off.

Common Waxbill

I assume that I only attract common garden birds to my garden. I’m right slap bang in the middle of Suburbia after all and I have not yet planted anything to specifically attract more exotic birds to my garden. So assuming this is a common bird, I tried to identify it using the Internet and have come to the conclusion that I need to buy a book! The Internet was not very useful this time, but I finally found what I was looking for.

This is a Common Waxbill, also called a Rooibeksysie (“rooibek” translated is red beak in Afrikaans) and they are about 11 – 13 cm in size. The bill, facial skin (eye-stripe) and underbelly is bright red. It is finely barred brown above and pinkish white below. Found near water, on the edge of cultivated fields in grassland and reeds. Common resident. So yes, it is common, but that doesn’t make it any less cute!

[one_half]Common Waxbill surveying the sceneCommon Waxbill surveying the scene[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And then (briefly) there were threeAnd then there were three[/one_half_last]

My garden is always teeming with birds – when we are inside. The minute I step outside they retreat to the highest branches because of my entourage! If I was a bird, I’d steer clear of my entourage too. They are noisy and … well Dexter frightens grown men, so its no surprise the birds are wary. And Sherrie – she yaps a lot so that’s got to be off-putting for the birds too. To do a “Birding shoot” I either have to lock both dogs indoors (which I hate doing) or wait for them to go on play-dates. I’ll have to organise a few more because I do love watching the birds in my garden.

Happy Gardening

A few notes I found on the Common Waxbill (More at
The Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild), also known as the St Helena Waxbill, is a small passerine bird belonging to the estrildid finch family. It is native to sub-Saharan Africa but has been introduced to many other regions of the world and now has an estimated global extent of occurrence of 10,000,000 km².

It is a small bird, 11 to 13 centimetres in length with a wingspan of 12 to 14 centimetres and a weight of 7 to 10 grams. It has a slender body with short rounded wings and a long graduated tail. The bright red bill of the adult is the colour of sealing wax giving the bird its name. The plumage is mostly grey-brown, finely barred with dark brown. There is a red stripe through the eye and the cheeks and throat are whitish. There is often a pinkish flush to the underparts and a reddish stripe along the centre of the belly depending on the subspecies. The rump is brown and the tail and vent are dark. Females are similar to the males but are paler with less red on the belly. Juveniles are duller with little or no red on the belly, fainter dark barring and a black bill.