Category Archives: Behaviour

Bottoms Up!

Sparky the Squirrel – Bottoms Up 1

Haiku 221

What has Sparky found?

Some things are worth digging for

Bottoms up my friend!

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I was watching Sparky the squirrel rooting around my garden, while I sat under the tree with my afternoon cuppa. Apparently he had eaten all the food I had put out for him and was looking for more.

Sparky the Squirrel – Bottoms Up 2

Suddenly he became very intent on digging something up. So much so that he turned his back on me with a “Bottoms up!”

Whatever he was after was buried deep down. Look at that little bum!

Sparky the Squirrel – Bottoms Up 3

Success! Eventually he found something good to eat and returned to his usual Sparky position. Looking at the hole he’d dug, I now understand the state of my garden!

 

post script: “Bottoms up” is an expression used to encourage someone to drink up. In raising their glass and drinking, the bottom of the glass can be seen.

Looks like another Daft Friday! Have a good one!

 

Look Ma! No Wings!

Sunbird 1

Haiku 213

Flits from branch to branch

With a cry, “Look Ma, no wings!”

Yes; Boys will be Boys!

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Sunbird 2

Sitting in the garden with my morning cuppa, I listen to all the birdsong. Occasionally I see little feathered things in the tops of the trees.

Sunbird 3

This morning, I could see a tiny bird flying around the top branches of the syringa tree in the front garden. He perched for a moment, silhouetted against the sky, then flitted off elsewhere. A male Lesser Double-Collared Sunbird.

While clicking away with my camera I just happened to catch that first lucky shot; “Look Ma, No wings!”

 

Two Turtle Doves

Two Turtle Doves 1

Haiku 207

Two turtle doves and

A squirrel in a pear tree

It looks like Christmas!

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Two Turtle Doves 2

I’ve been putting food out for the doves and squirrels regularly this winter. I place a small pile of seed on top of an upturned tub and the birds happily peck away there.

When Sparky the squirrel comes, he chases the birds away and eats whatever he wants, undisturbed.

Sparky the Squirrel

He’d just chased these two Cape Turtle Doves off their food and I felt sorry for them, so scattered some seed on the ground by my garden chair. They quickly came to peck up the seeds, hence the reasonable close ups!

Two Turtle Doves 3

Cape Turtle Doves are quite large, grey and have that distinctive black neck band. We also get the smaller Laughing Doves; more colorfully pink and without the neck band. I like that there are so many different birds that choose to frequent my little garden. It makes for very entertaining coffee breaks!

 

Cheers Y’All!

Vodka!

Haiku 203

To drink or not drink

That is the burning question

Apparently not!

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We had a severe Lockdown at the start of the Corona pandemic in March, here in South Africa. At Level 5 we were not allowed out to exercise and many things were not for sale; including alcohol.

Level 4 provided some easement of the restrictions and we were allowed to exercise between 6 am and 9 am. Still no alcohol.

Finally Level 3 arrived on 1st June, bringing further easing; more freedom to exercise and more things for sale. Alcohol was permitted again. Hooray!

We quickly replenished our stocks of alcohol and relaxed a bit.

As can be seen from the photo above, I went a little overboard with my vodka purchase, but I can explain!

Obviously, there were long queues outside the booze shops once alcohol was on sale again, so I waited a few days before going. As I queued for my turn to enter the shop I saw notices stating there were limits on what you could buy. I selected a few bottles of whiskey for my husband and then went looking for my vodka. The shelf was bare! But I did find one plastic bottle right at the back, so put that in my basket.

Heading for the check out, I suddenly came across a shelf stacked full of glass bottles of Smirnoff vodka. Yay! I asked a shop assistant how many bottles of spirits I could take. She said, “You can have one!” I looked at the three whiskeys in my basket already and repeated to her, “I can only have one?”

“No,” she said, “You can have what you want!” Honestly, no-one can hear a thing anyone says in masks!!

And that’s how I ended up with so many!!

Just as well I over-stocked as it turns out, because –

Without warning, alcohol was banned again last Sunday night. There was no chance to stock up.

Now we are back to eking out our supplies until it’s legal again.

Other measures were also put in place, such as a curfew again, between 9 pm and 4 am. Taxis (most of ours are mini buses holding many people, which function as buses) can now run at 100% capacity for short distances and 70% for long distances. They are going on the theory that you can sit in a confined space for a short time and not catch the virus! Also gatherings of up to 49 people are now allowed for religious practices, and – get this – casinos!

So we can go gambling, but we’re still not allowed to see family members.

Why all the ups and downs with alcohol?

Some people abuse alcohol, causing an increase in drunk-related casualties and violence. The hospitals become overrun with alcohol-related cases, taking up doctors’ time and beds that could have been used for Corona cases. Sad but true.

So the majority of us have to do without our sun-downers, because of the irresponsible behaviour of a few.

Our severe Lockdown measures at the start of Corona in SA curbed the spread, giving us time to build extra hospitals and make other preparations for dealing with the pandemic.

Now, however, the numbers are rising at an alarming rate, despite all the mandatory wearing of masks and hand sanitizing. There are just too many people living in densely populated areas.

Today’s Corona Stats for South Africa –

Confirmed cases: 324221; Recovered: 165591; Deaths: 4669

Still, the death rate in SA is quite low compared to other countries. For example, though our total number of cases has now exceeded that of the UK, our death rate is only 10% of theirs, and we have the same number of total cases as Mexico, but only 12.5% of their deaths.

Also, because misery likes company, we are now having power cuts again! Of course we are. It is mid-winter, the Cape has just been battered by violent storms and there is snow on the mountains. Why would you need electricity to make a cuppa?

The power cuts are scheduled, so at least you know what time you’ll have yours. It is called Load shedding and naturally we have levels for that too.

But you may as well laugh about it all, as South Africans are wont to do. We are at Level 3 Lockdown and there’s a meme where our President says, “My fellow South Africans, we are going to Stage 2 . . . of Load shedding!”

And another meme which says, “I can’t believe it’s Load shedding season already. I still have my Covid-19 decorations up!”

However, like the rest of you, I’m fed up of 2020 already!

 

Rare Visitors!

Swee Waxbill 1 – Male

Haiku 197

Spot a flash of red

Tiny pretty feathered thing

Rustling in the bush

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Every morning I do my heavy chores then reward myself with a cappuccino, sitting quietly outside in the garden, armed only with my trusty Canon camera.

I listen to the many different birds chirping and calling to each other in the surrounding trees. I can identify them by their particular song, so I knew the Sunbirds were back again, long before I caught a glimpse of one.

Swee Waxbill 2 – Male

However, the other day as I sat there quietly sipping my coffee, enjoying the cool air, wispy streaks of clouds in a blue sky and the sun beginning to warm up the day, I saw a little bird fly to the honeysuckle and rustle around in the branches. It looked as though he was trying to gather some sticks or grasses for nest building.

Grabbing my camera I took a few shots. I could clearly see the branches moving, but could not get a clear view of the bird. It looked more like a little Mossie (Cape Sparrow) than a Sunbird, or perhaps a Cape White Eye.

Swee Waxbill 3 – Female

Then a bird flew to the lavender and obligingly sat there for a moment, while I quickly took a photo. It’s amazing how light birds are, as this one was resting on the merest stalk of lavender.

This bird was similar to the one I’d just seen, but did not have the black head. Now I could see that the beak was short, thick and triangular; typical of finches. I had once spotted a Common Waxbill by my pool a long time ago, so wondered if it was this again.

Swee Waxbill 4 – Female

Then the bird flew off to a solar lamp, where she paused for a second. I snapped an action shot as she took off again, and you can see her lovely red colouring.

Afterwards, on enlarging my photos of the tiny birds, I identified them from my book, Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa. They were a pair of male and female Swee Waxbills.  Click on the link for excellent photos. The male has the distinctive black face while the female is greyer, but both have the red back and triangular bill.

What a treat! I have never seen them anywhere before.

It just goes to show, that if you sit quietly and patiently, eventually you’ll spot a new (to you) species of bird, even in your own back garden.

 

post script: I apologise for the blurred photos. The birds were tiny and far away from me. It’s the best that my little camera and I could do!

And as I have discovered before, the best advice Google can give me for sharpening up a blurred image, is to take another photo – in focus!!

 

Masked Bandit!

Masked Bandit

Haiku 196

Covid Chronicles

The Masked Bandit Rides Again!

Or just leaves the house!

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This was in the early days, when we went from Level 5 Lockdown – not allowed out to exercise, to Level 4 – allowed to go out between 6 am and 9 am. As it is still dark in Cape Town till 7.30 am and very damp in winter, this is not the best time to be out walking!

Still, my makeshift face mask, a silk scarf, worked very well; both in adhering to the regulations and in keeping some of the damp air out of my asthmatic lungs!

I have since made my own face masks, out of a linen tea-towel, which are very comfy and allow me to breathe. It is mandatory to wear a cloth mask any time you leave your house and to keep a distance of 2 metres from anyone else. Your hands will be sprayed with hand sanitizer at every single shop you enter and trolleys and baskets wiped down. Cashiers sit behind perspex screens or wear protective visors or masks. Counter tops are sanitized regularly.

We’re now at Level 3 Lockdown, so can exercise outside any time. More businesses have opened; alcohol is on sale from Monday to Thursday, but still no cigarettes.  Kids are beginning to return to school, starting with only the 13 and 18 year olds.

So of course, with increased movement, the stats are rapidly rising. It is now definitely winter; a massive storm has just swept through the Cape, bringing so much rain there have been floods. Flu season is upon us, but maybe with all the masks, sanitizing and social distancing, the flu won’t be too bad this year!

As of going to press, South Africa has 58,568 confirmed cases of Corona, of which 33,252 have recovered and 1,284 died, in a population of about 59 million.

 

I Am Six

Six Year WP Anniversary

Six Year WP Anniversary

It is six years since I first started this blog. And I’m still here!

Thank you to everyone who has joined me along the way and shared in my little blog of everyday life. Without you there would be no Mad Cap Dog!

Thank you for your support, words of wisdom and sarcastic comments. I appreciate them all! You know people are your friends when they start being sarcastic!

Thank you to everyone who has popped by my blog and liked or commented on a post. I thoroughly enjoy visiting your blogs, reading your interesting posts and marvelling at your awesome photography. I really appreciate the interaction and have found the WP community to be friendly and caring.

I have come to know many of you well, even though we have never met, being separated in many instances by vast oceans, and I count you as my virtual friends.

Here’s to many more years of Blogging.

Cheers SciFi

 

Freedom Day

Rose

Haiku 190

Freedom Day Lockdown

Let your mind and spirit roam

Because your feet can’t!

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It is Freedom Day here in South Africa and Lockdown Day 32. It does not compute!

As you probably know, we are under a strict Lockdown, which is now designated Level 5. We are only allowed out for essentials such as meds or food. The white-haired woman queuing in front of me outside the shop last week had been stopped by police on the way there, demanding to know where she was going.

So how’s my Lockdown so far? Here’s a run-down for you.

Lockdown Day 32

Chocolate

Emergency Chocolate supply

I have no idea how this happened, but I guess every week I went shopping I thought I’d better stock up on chocolate – just in case. When I finally looked through my supplies I was (pleasantly) surprised to find so much!

Books

Books Read

I am scouring our bookshelves for anything I haven’t read too recently.

Kitchen Shelves Cleaned Out

Three drawers cleaned and re-lined and one large shelf.

Uninvited Guests

Oh Thousands!

An army of teeny sugar ants has decided to brighten up our Lockdown by invading the kitchen. No sooner do we spray everywhere and block them off, than they find another way in.

And one small Golden Mole in the garden, who has made it his life’s work to dig as many soil mounds as possible, in the shortest amount of time.

Knitted Squares and Wool

Knitted Squares

I knit simple squares while watching movies (see below). Then I sew the squares up into blankets and donate to charity. I was actually elated to find wool was still on sale at our local shops, as I doubt it is essential. I found a small supply hidden away by a checkout counter and asked a passing shop assistant if I could buy it. I was really happy when she said Yes!

Netflix Watched

Far more than is good for me! This can be seen by the large amounts of knitted squares – see above!

Jigsaw

Jigsaws Completed

One.

It only takes a few hours and I don’t have many that I haven’t done recently, so I have to pace myself!

Garden Circuits

Since we are not allowed to walk outside, I walk round and round my garden most days.

Number of circuits round the garden during Lockdown: 277
Kilometres walked: 42

I am wearing a path in the grass. By the end of Lockdown I shall be walking in a trench a metre deep!

LM Vodka Day 1

Vodka Drunk

About half a bottle. I was incredibly lucky that I had just restocked my vodka supply before Corona came to SA. Alcohol is not on sale during Level 5 Lockdown.

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SA Corona Stats

As of today, SA has 4546 confirmed cases of Corona, 1473 recoveries and 87 deaths.

This is considerably less than most countries. Who knows exactly why, but the severe Lockdown must be helping. (Other possible reasons: the warmer weather; the comprehensive TB vaccinations of all SA school kids.)

However, on Friday 1st May we are downgrading to Level 4. Hooray! It is uncertain yet exactly what this will entail. A few more businesses will be allowed to open; cigarettes will be on sale, but alcohol sales or walks may still not be allowed.

So how’s your Lockdown going?

 

Mousebirds

Mousebirds 1

Haiku 187

What could be more fun

Than hanging out together

Solidarity!

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These chaps were happy hanging out on the edge of the old concrete bird bath, even staying put when other birds came to use the actual bird bath!

Mousebirds 2

I’ve been trying to capture a good shot of these White-backed Mousebirds for a long while. I hear them chirping in the trees and often see them fly overhead, when their magnificent long tails are clearly visible, but they are far too swift for me to take a photo.

I’ve snapped shots of them in the syringa tree. I know they are there as I can hear them and see the leaves moving, but they are hardly visible when I look at my photos later on my laptop, even when enlarged. This is because they tend to roost almost vertically against an upright branch and so blend in very well, their long tails in line with the branch.

So I was pleased to see them hanging out here for a while, even if they are still blurred because I can’t zoom any closer!

 

Such is the pressure of English Grammar that I am sorely tempted to call these two Mouse Birds, Mice Birds!