Thursday, 24 September 2015

Amethyst Sunbird female

Swartsuikerbekkie [Afrikaans]

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Black Sunbird or Amethyst sunbird, female, feeding on the Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker) flowers in my garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa).

I have these beautiful Sunbirds in my garden throughout the year, but during winter, spring and early-summer, when all the Aloes and Kniphofias are flowering, I am blessed by their regular daily visits to feed on the sweet nectar. As soon as I hear their soft little little tweets, I'm out with the camera or the sketch-book, hoping to get a good capture. Flightly little things they are, not so easy!

The Amethyst Sunbird, also called the Black Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystine) mainly occurs in Africa south of the equator. Its natural habitat is dry savannah but it is extremely fond of gardens. It goes out of its way to visit a large clump of nectar-bearing plants. Here in my garden, it feeds on nectar from the Aloe, Kniphofia, Halleria lucida (Tree fuchsia) and a nectar mix in one of my bird feeders. It’s diet is supplemented with insects and often hawks flying insects from the trees or bushes, also gleaning them from leaves and branches. Nectar is obtained either from flowers or from garden feeders, which it uses readily (note that in feeding experiments it was found to prefer sucrose rather than sugar).

This Sunbird is not threatened, in fact, its range has increased recently due to the spread of wooded gardens.

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Monday, 21 September 2015

Janfredrik, mossies en nog meer besoekers

Elke dag bring sy eie verrassings. Ons kuiergaste oor die naweek het gewissel van uiters gewild tot minder geliefd. 
 Ons vorder! Janfrederik sit nog nie op my sitkamerbank nie, maar hy vlieg nie meer weg as ek 'n paar treë van hom af staan nie. Sy meelwurms lê en wag op die plankie, 'n spesiale bederf-dis waarmee ek hom nader lok. Mooiste ou voëltjie in die tuin. Verseker. 
 Mossie maar man! 'n Bondeltjie vere wat heeldag lank vrolike wysies fluit. 
 Rooivlerkspreeu is ook deesdae 'n gereelde besoeker. Heelbo op die rondawel se dak maak hy hom tuis en bekyk die wêreld vandaar. 


O rooivlerkspreeu,
ek hoor jou lied,
‘n diep verhaal
van warm verdriet...
Ek hoor jou klae,
jou stemklank soos in kinderdae,
en soek dan hier,
dan daar,
tot ek jou op die tak gewaar,
allenig op die eiketak,
so somber-swart,
so windverward!
Die reënbui en die winterkou...
die berg is toe van wolkegrou,
die stormweer smoor
jou klagte dood:
bo in die berg is hongersnood.
Die donker kom,
die stormwind fluit-
my hart herhaal
‘n honderd maal
die smeking van jou stemgeluid!
O rooivlerkspreeu,
so somber-swart,
so noodverward,
ek hoor jou in die noordewind.
O bedelaar-kind,
verstom, verkluim,
in raaisel-dom
van kouer, wrede
wêreldruim!
D.F. Malherbe. 


 Dis nie net Janfrederik wat van 'n stukkie kaas hou nie, kyk hoe gelukkig lyk mossievroutjie met haar vonds! 

Die Indiese spreeu of Common Myna. (Engels) Nie die gewildste voël op aarde nie. Die rede? Navorsing en menige ooggetuies vertel van Indiese spreeus wat inheemse voëlspesies  aanval en selfs hul eiers uit hul neste gooi.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

The Cape Robin-chat in my house

Camera : Canon EOS 550D
Taken in my kitchen at 5.23am


I must tell you about this Obsessive Compulsive Cape Robin chat (Cossypha caffra) that has decided that my kitchen is the best place here in Tarlton (South Africa). He also wanders through the house as if he’s been doing it his whole life. And no, he’s not a pet, but I have named him Robbie.

He arrived in my garden early in 2012 and little did I know that he’s a totally peculiar character – he actually seems to prefer the indoors to the out-doors. Entering through the front door which is always open, he’ll spend hours wandering from room to room, sometimes walking, sometimes flying. His favourite spot, however, is standing in front of my stainless steel dustbin in the kitchen, flying up at his reflection, as one sees birds doing to motor car mirrors, coming back frequently from his other trips through the house to once again challenge himself in the shiny dustbin.

He has learnt what my whistle means when I fill the bird feeders and I can now actually whistle from anywhere inside the house and he will actually come in and have a look if anything is on offer. I specially put minced meat on a plate for him in the kitchen and he visits throughout the day, having his fill and finishing the lot. And for months now I’ve been trying to get a picture of him in the house and finally, one morning, he posed for me in the kitchen!

I feel absolutely blessed that he has chosen my home to be peculiar in and last year he acquired a wife, both who often visit my kitchen now.

The Cape Robin-chat is a resident breeder in southern and eastern Africa from Kenya south to Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. It is a common species at forest edges and in scrub, fynbos, karoo, plantations, gardens and parks.

Robbie sitting on one of the rafters in the lounge. It was pretty dark and as I was trying to focus, my zoom lens was chattering and whirring and pulling in and out, trying to focus, and by the time I had captured this, he had flown into the kitchen.





Robbie sitting on my Victorian Balloon-back chair





 Robbie merrily singing his song while I'm taking photos!

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Friday, 18 September 2015

Gunsteling der gunstelinge

As ek gedwing sou word om te kies, sou ek heel waarskynlik die glasogie as my gunsteling geveerde vriendjie kies. Elke keer as ek een of meer van hulle by die waterbak in ons tuin of elders gewaar, bons my hart sommer van pure blydskap. Met hul klein lyfies (10-12 cm. en gewig 8-12 gram) en wit kringetjie  (wat uit kort veertjies bestaan) om die wakker ogies, hul konstante kwetterende roep en vrolike, lewendige wip-wip van tak na tak, kruip hulle sommer diep in enige voëlliefhebber se hart. Dis eintlik 'n Kaapse glasogie (Cape white-eye), maar daar is heelwat streekname vir dié klein voëltjie: meelogie, kersogie, ringogie en piet-la-pok. (ek vermoed lg. is 'n troetelnaam)




Van die nagenoeg 95 soorte glasogies wat in Afrika, Madagaskar, Asië, Japan en die eilande in Indonesië, Filippyne en Maleisië tot in Australië voorkom, is daar slegs drie soorte teenwoordig in Suider-Afrika. Die Kaapse en Gariep-glasogie is beperk tot Suid-Afrika en die suidelike dele van Namibië, terwyl die geel glasogie in Noord KwaZulu Natal, Zimbabwe, die Caprivi en die noordelike dele van Botswana voorkom. (Volksblad)

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Now, where are all the ladies?

Sometimes you have to let life turn you upside down... so you can learn how to live, right side up.
(Anon) 

A male African masked-weaver (Ploceus velatus) looking around to see if there are any takers for a nest (one of many!) he’s just completed.

These lovely colourful little birds are so prolific in our gardens that we sometimes tend to over-look them. I’ve tried to count the Weavers nesting in my garden but, apart from counting the nests, of which there are sixteen, it’s impossible to keep track of these little busy-bodies! They provide me with hours of pleasure, watching them building their nests and their constant squabbling and other antics makes me feel like I'm in primary school with dozens of uncontrolled children!

They are prolific breeders, normally two babies to a nest, two or three times in a season, and with a dozen or more nests in my garden, it's inevitable that there is some tragedy. Last summer alone I have picked up six babies that have fallen out of the nest. Usually the injuries sustained just from the fall takes its toll and lying exposed to the elements and the heat for an extended period of time before I happen to find them also contributes to the fatalities. Add to that the impossibility of getting them back into the nest, even if I knew which one they fell out of, makes it impossible to really save any of them.

They have to be prolific breeders as they face many dangers. Heavy winds battering the nests, egg-eating snakes and nest-raiders like the Mynahs cuts heavily into the population.

Singing lustily to attract the ladies to his new nest

Also known as the Southern Masked Weaver, it occurs across southern Africa, even in arid areas, extending into Angola, Zambia and Malawi. It generally favours semi-arid scrub, open savannah, woodland edges, riverine thicket, farmland with scattered trees, alien tree plantations and especially gardens. It mainly eats seeds, fruit, insects and nectar, doing most of its foraging in small flocks, gleaning prey from leaves and branches, taking seeds from the ground and grass stems.

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Saturday, 12 September 2015

Mossies

'n Mossie is een van die geveerdes waaroor niemand juis baie opgewonde raak nie. En tog. Gister sit ons heerlik buite en ontspan nà 'n besige dag. 'n Jong wyfie mossie kom sit op die bruggie naby ons en tjirp-tjirp vrolik. Net 'n bondeltjie vere. Ek neem foto's, een na die ander. Sy geniet die fotosessie, pure voëltjievrou! 


'n Sappige wurm in die snawel. "Kyk wat het ek!" tjirp sy.
Mossies is klein voëltjies met vaal en bruin vere. Die wyfie lê vier tot ses eiers wat ongeveer twee weke neem om uit te broei. 
In die Bybel lees ons in Mattheus 10:29 Word twee mossies nie vir ’n stuiwer verkoop nie? En nie een van hulle sal op die aarde val sonder die wil van julle Vader nie. 
'n Troosryke boodskap. 
'n Pragtige voëltjie. 

Friday, 4 September 2015

Kom ons teken!

 Geelvink

Gevlekte ooruil
 Piet-my-vrou
Tarentaal
Op RedBubble is 'n verskeidenheid sketse asook 'n hele aantal artikels beskikbaar. Kom maak 'n draai!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Die kwikstertjie

Toe ek 'n kind was, het ek iemand hoor sê 'n mens moet sout op sy stert gooi, dan sal jy hom kan vang. "Alles tevergeefs!" sê die Prediker. Ek het nooit eers probeer nie. Wat ek wel gedoen het, is om hierdie vrolike voëltjies te bekyk, geniet en te waardeer. En ek doen dit steeds. As ek sy lang, bekende fluit iewers in die tuin hoor, maak ek tyd om te gaan kyk. Te kyk hoe hy staan as hy gaan en hoe hy gaan as hy staan. Pragtig klein met 'n rugkant dof olyfgrys, onderkant naaswit met 'n swarterige borsband. Sy wenkbrou, buitestertvere en rande van vlerkvere witterig - die gewone kwikkie of "Cape wagtail" in Engels. 

 Nog name: kwikkie, wipstertjie of akkermannetjie. 
Die naam "kwikstert" kom van Nederlands: kwik-lewendig en staart-stert. Dié voëltjie se stertjies is baie beweeglik en wip voortdurend op en af. 
Hierdie bont kwikkie het ek by Ou Meulstroom, naby Bronkhorstspruit gesien. Sekerlik oppad om te gaan nesmaak! 
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