Author Archives: scifihammy

About scifihammy

A look at the lighter side of life - from the Other Down Under

Fleeting Visitor

Sunbird 1

Another Sunbird visited my garden some time ago. He seemed bigger than the Lesser Double Collared Sunbird that flew into my lounge recently. (See Sunbird)

I only managed to capture a few photos from quite a distance, so when enlarged they are too blurry to identify the bird easily. However, he is obviously a male, due to the iridescent green/dark back feathers; the females of these types of Sunbirds being the usual drab brown/grey!

The following Gallery shows him searching my large fir bush for food and one of a grey female on the old TV aerial (a Little Monkey deterrent) by my fence.

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He could be a Greater Double Collared Sunbird, which looks like the little guy from my lounge, but 14cm long as opposed to 12.5cm. I don’t think he is though, because there should be a large red band across his chest and even though my photos are blurry, the chest looks whiter than this.

Sunbird 5

Perhaps he is a White-Bellied Sunbird, but that is also tiny, at 11.5 cm and according to my bird book (Newman’s birds of Southern Africa) not found in Cape Town. (Though that might have changed since the book was published in 1983 and we now commonly have hadedah here, that only ever used to be in the Eastern Cape over 1000 km away.)

Maybe he is a Dusky Sunbird, but again this is also tiny, at 10 to 12 cm and the brightly coloured copper feathers come half way down his chest.

My final guess is a Grey Sunbird, as he has the dark back and pale under belly feathers. Also, though his range down the east coast of SA did not reach us, (in my 1983 book), it quite possibly has by now.

Not being a bird expert and only having poor photos to go on, your guess is as good as mine.

Regardless of the mystery of his species, he was beautiful and certainly brightened my day.


Sunday Musings #90

Everything is funny as long as it’s happening to someone else.

– Will Rogers


I remember when I was about twelve years old, walking to the bus station with my best friend after school one day. It was winter, so it was dark and it was snowing.

We chatted away together, which made the freezing cold walk pass more quickly. Suddenly, my friend was no longer there!

I looked around, then down. She was flat on her back on the pavement, having slipped on some ice.

I burst out laughing! This was the funniest thing; the surprise of it; but mostly, that it hadn’t happened to me!

Of course, I helped her up and checked that she wasn’t seriously hurt: no bones broken (but you don’t break so easily when you’re young.) I was still laughing as I dusted the snow off her gabardine raincoat. She was cross, understandably, with falling in the first place, and with her best friend still laughing at her.

But I couldn’t help myself. I believe this is referred to as relief laughter. Or as Will Rogers says above, “Everything is funny as long as it’s happening to someone else!”




Haiku 43

Sunlight reflecting

Energy freely given

Honeysuckle gold



While we might be short of water, and other things, here in the Western Cape, one thing we are not short of is – sunlight!

post script: Sunlight always makes me think of this beautiful song written by John Denver in 1971 and performed by Andy Williams; so let me share with you “Sunshine on my shoulders”.


Staying Alive!

Fern 1

I’ve had this fir bush of mine for many years, but he has never grown much; just plodded along by the wall between two other fir bushes. They were younger, but decided to grow vigorously. Eventually, together, they squeezed the life out of this poor fir. He was being strangled by lack of sunlight and root space, so I took the risky decision to move him.

Fern 5

They don’t like being moved and often complain by simply up and dying!

Yet, here he is still, hanging on by a thread; even though he looks more brown than Evergreen!

Fern 2

With our severe water restrictions I have had to be extremely watchful of my plant, ensuring that he never dries out. (I say ‘he’, because for some reason I have always associated this fern with my old dog Jack, who was also very much a survivor.)

To help keep the roots damp, after their allowed watering twice a week, my husband came up with the clever idea of filling an empty plastic milk with water and inverting it there in the plant’s roots. (We do this for the needy plants like Mr Spaghetti Legs’ new Erica.)

Fern 3

This works very well.

Till one day, when I was hanging out the washing and Little Monkey came cavorting up to the washing line, throwing an empty plastic milk bottle around with gay abandon! She tossed it up in the air and pounced on it when it landed. Then she ran round the garden at full speed like a maniac, snatching up the bottle as she dashed passed it and tossing it in the air as she went.

I watched her with the pride only a mother has; my own silly Little Monkey. Then I thought, “Wait a minute. Where’s she got the milk bottle from?”

And, yes, we do give her an empty plastic bottle with a few pieces of kibble inside from time to time, so she can enjoy getting the food out, but we hadn’t given her one in a while.

I walked over to my precious fir and sure enough; the life-support-water-system was gone!

Fern 4

We put a new one up; a see-through apple juice bottle this time. It lasted less than a week before it was also being tossed around the garden with relish.

Luckily, I have plenty of plastic milk bottles, so every time we’re allowed to water our plants, we simply place a new bottle by my fir.

Fern 6

And judging by the wondrous new green growth on my dying plant, I am very hopeful that come the winter rains, he will spring back into full form once again.


post script: I’m sure you’re singing it in your head anyway, so here you are: ha ha ha ha Stayin’ Alive!