Category Archives: Behaviour

Robin Redbreast

Cape Robin – photo credit M

This little guy might not be quite what you were expecting from the title. Maybe you are more familiar with the tiny European Robin, frequently depicted on Christmas cards?

Well, this is a Robin, albeit a Cape Robin. He does all the usual Robin activities, such as flying straight down to investigate any patch of earth you have just dug over in your garden and singing a lovely tuneful song.

Here you see him sitting on a branch of my giant Eugenia tree above a hanging basket (the purple handle.) He’s a frequent visitor to my garden and I much prefer him to the pushy Olive Thrush. Somehow the Robin just seems more sophisticated and has more manners!




You Lookin’ at Me?

Talk about tolerance. Here is Little Monkey sharing her garden with a large wild bird; the hadeda.

LM and Hadeda

The birds are often on our lawn, sometimes in pairs, digging away with their beaks and removing unwanted bugs from the grass.

Two Hadeda

Mostly LM ignores them and lets them get on with it. But every now and then she will make a play-charge at them, barking and bouncing. They always keep one eye on her.

You ARE Lookin’at Me!

They take one look at LM lolloping towards them, then resignedly flap their large square wings, taking off easily from a standing start.

Often they only go as far as the other side of the pool!

Little Monkey and the hadeda play a game of ‘dog and bird’ like ‘cat and mouse’, but mostly they seem to think that this garden is big enough for the both of them.


post script: Of course all tolerance flies out of the window if there’s a cat in the garden!




When the whole Festive Season gets a little too much for you, take a tip from Sparky the squirrel; chill out and relax.

Talk about taking a chill pill, I think Sparky must have swallowed the whole packet!

I saw this little chap hop up onto the top of my fence. He tried out a position on the first gate post. Not finding this to his liking, he sauntered along the top of the gate, pausing to have a scratch at the next pole. Then he stretched himself out to catch a little sun.

Although it is summer here and temperatures are often in the mid to high thirties, (I quickly specify Centigrade here for my American friends!) there has been a strong wind most days (up to 12 m/s – 27 mph) which (fortunately) cools it down.

Obviously it was a little too cool for Sparky, hence the sunbathing chillax session.

I have to add, that it really doesn’t look all that comfortable!


post script: I like that he feels safe enough to stretch out here on my fence and take a short nap. He’d be safer in a tree, but he wouldn’t catch the rays then.

Photo taken through my window.


Ode to a Mosquito



Haiku 48

Little blood sucker

I slapped myself in the face

But got the blighter


Why is it that every mosquito I’ve ever known waits until you are just dropping off to sleep before it comes whining round your ear?

Last night a mosquito did this. I thought to myself, “Oh, for Pete’s sake!” and slapped hard at it, in a futile attempt to bat it away.

I slapped myself in the face, which was a bit of a surprise!

But I got the little blood sucker!


In the past I have even covered my head in my sheet and stuck my foot out for the mosquito to munch on – but it still comes buzzing round my ear!


Ugly Duck?

Guinea Fowl Chicks 1

Aren’t these little chicks the cutest thing?

I spotted three Guinea Fowl escorting their collective brood of about 16 chicks around the neighbourhood recently.

The next time I saw them there were only about 10 chicks and the last time I saw them there were only 4 chicks.

Guinea Fowl Chicks 2

Guinea Fowl are not native to Cape Town, but over the last decade or so they have really made themselves at home. And despite being very bad parents and losing most of each brood of chicks, their numbers here are steadily increasing.

They are not popular! When they get in your property they scratch up the ground and in minutes can destroy your flower beds, or the lawn you have been pampering for months.

Guinea Fowl Chicks 3

Still, Guinea Fowl chicks really are cute looking, but when all grown up they are pretty ugly. Sort of the reverse of the Ugly Duckling story!


Egyptian Geese on the other hand are excellent parents. Little Monkey and I walked past a group of youngsters seemingly alone on the grass verge. Suddenly Dad (or Mum) flew down at us from a roof top, honking loudly as he flapped his large wings. He landed between us and his chicks, successfully defending them. No wonder all his chicks make it to adulthood.


Unwelcome Visitors

You Little Monkey

I am waging war today!

Perhaps not what you would expect to hear from me, especially after yesterday’s peace post.

But there are some critters without whom the world would be a much better place.

I refer, of course, to those blood sucking parasites we all know.

What am I talking about?

Little Monkey has fleas!

Little Monkey – Always ready for Mischief

And it is all-out war!!


Treat the dog

Treat the environment

Spray everything

Vacuum everything

Wash everything

Repeat till victorious!

Happy Little Monkey


post script: This was not the post I had intended for today, but by the time I had waged my all-out war, I was too exhausted to be creative!

It is more than three years since LM last had these visitors, so we’ve done very well. The flea and tick season has just begun; if she’s going to get them it is usually this time of year.

The reason she rarely catches fleas is because she keeps away from other dogs, even when mingling with 30 or more dogs in her weekly socialising classes. She must have picked one flea up during the last class, when all the dogs were lying very close together doing stays. I choose the calmer more stable dogs for her to lie next to and then she’ll tolerate them. Unfortunately, one of the dogs must have passed on this unwelcome visitor!


The Cone of Shame

The Cone of Shame 1 DAY ONE

Day One 

Little Monkey is miserable!


She has to wear the Cone of Shame!

Poor little Bucket Head! She’s been wearing it for ten days straight!

She had an eye op; see below for more details.

To begin with, she was a bit shell-shocked, as you can see from the first photo. Then she just got used to it and carried on doing all the things she normally does, like sunbathing.

The Cone of Shame 2

We really want to give the wound the best chance of healing. It’s not that she’s scratching her eye, but rather that LM has a habit of sticking her face on the grass and propelling herself along the lawn on her face, bum in the air. (As in Do the Twist!)

The Cone of Shame 3

She also flings herself into the vines, hedges and bushes, leans into the plant and proceeds to scratch her face and body in the greenery, as she propels herself along.

The Cone of Shame 4

She continues to squeeze herself behind bushes and into small spaces, oblivious to the bucket on her head. I spent ages looking for her one morning, before I spotted her hiding deep in the bushes!

None of this is good for post-operative procedures after delicate eye surgery and expensive sutures. I’m not going to risk LM damaging the stitches;

So the Cone of Shame it is!


Actually, she has amazed me with her acceptance of the bucket on her head! Obviously, she’d rather not wear it, but since she has to, well she just gets on with it.

The Cone of Shame 5

Drinking water out of her bowl after dashing round the garden? No problem!

The Cone of Shame 6

It certainly hasn’t stopped her running around the place like a mad thing, bashing into everything! Nor leaping in the air all four feet off the ground as I get ready to walk her (without the cone).

The Cone of Shame 7

Or barking at anyone daring to walk past our property; as usual. What they think of her, the little Bucket Head, I have no idea!

The Cone of Shame 8

You lookin’ at me??

But her complete acceptance of this change in her circumstances again teaches me that particular dog trait of living in the moment.

The Cone of Shame 9 DAY EIGHT

Day 8

Still, think how happy she’ll be tomorrow, when I take the bucket off for the last time!


post script: Little Monkey would like to wish a speedy recovery to her WP friends who are also healing after surgery and wearing the Cone of Shame or a Onesie (jumpsuit):

Mr Bowie the Cat and Breck the Border Collie.

Hang in there my friends and Get Better Soon!


Why did LM have to wear the Cone of Shame?

She had a large lump growing on her right eye lid and it was time to have it removed. This is expensive, as any anaesthetic is costly and the sutures used in this case are dissolving ones and also pricey.

The vet did an excellent job on the procedure. It was a very large lump and when removed, there was not quite enough eye lid skin left. The vet managed to stitch it up very well, but did not do so too tightly, so that the stitches would not tear and also so that LM would not have too small an opening left for her eye!

The more it heals, the better it looks, until most people would not notice she had even had an op.