Category Archives: Behaviour

The White Squirrel

White Squirrel 1

I was sitting out in my garden one morning, when I heard a splash. I looked up and saw a white thing dragging itself out of the pool. I thought at first it was a cat, then realised it was a young squirrel.

He was being chased by the resident fully grown, and much larger, grey squirrel.

White Squirrel 2

This is why the white kid had fallen in the pool on the first place – and why he looks so bedraggled in the photos, with a stringy wet tail!

I have never seen a White Squirrel before, so this was very exciting!

You probably can’t tell from these photos, but he didn’t look like an albino (no red eye), just a grey squirrel with a white coat.

White Squirrel 3

The grey squirrel continued to harry the white teenager, chasing it all over.

The white one tried to escape up the fence, but couldn’t make it and fell back down again.

I had my phone in my hand, so approached them and tried to take a photo, but they were dashing about far too quickly. So I took a few short videos. Some of the photos here are stills taken from video, which explains the poor quality.

White Squirrel 4

As I got nearer to the pair, they both suddenly stopped. (First photo) The youngster wasn’t sure what to make of me and for a moment, I seemed to be a bigger threat than the grey squirrel.

But they quickly resumed their mad chasing.

Eventually the white one managed to escape through the fence and the grey one left it.

White Squirrel 5

The grey squirrel is in the photos above, but harder to spot, which is why they aren’t usually white in the first place!

I haven’t seen the white one since and can only hope he is still alive. He wasn’t a tiny baby, so had at least survived to be a teenager.

It just goes to show, that if you sit somewhere long enough, even your own garden, all sorts of amazing things will come your way!

 

post script: I can’t find a wiki article on white squirrels: Shocker! But I found this informative site about White Squirrels in the USA. 

 

I Am Seven

WP Anniversary

Seven Year WP Anniversary

It’s seven years since I first started this blog.

I’d like to thank 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 looking at your awesome photographs. 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

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post script: Having just been absent for a few months, I’m not sure how much this WP Anniversary counts.

But hey! I’m still here! And I’ll take any Congratulations going!

 

Solitude

Solitary Walk

Haiku 242

Social distancing

Gathering for some fresh air

While oceans apart

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I took a stroll along Muizenberg beach, Cape Town. It was very windy, which was great as it blew the cobwebs away!

Yes, there are people in the ocean in the photo above. That’s about as close as I got to anyone; except when I treated myself to a latte from the little coffee shop.

I sat on the sea wall, wind in my face, as I sipped my hot coffee; just enjoying the sea view, and the illusion of freedom.

Then I slipped my face mask back on, returned to the safety and isolation of my car, and drove home.

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Lockdown Rules for South Africa

Wear a face mask at all times
Keep two metres away from anyone
Sanitise your hands at every shop entrance

It was easy to maintain the legal two metres apart here at the beach, as most people were way off in the distance. Even so, we all wore our face masks; it is the law outside of your own home, even when driving alone in your car. You are allowed to remove your face mask temporarily to eat or drink, as long as social distancing from strangers is maintained.

 

Going Nuts Over Monkey Nuts!

Sparky and the Monkey Nut 1

Haiku 239

The nutty squirrel

Executes a smash and grab

Desperate measures

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Several different squirrels come by my garden to eat the seeds I put out. Most of them know to hop right up onto the upturned green container.

Clearly this youngster hadn’t got the memo!

I watched in amazement from my seat nearby under the shade of the tree.

Sparky 2

Obviously little Sparky could smell the food, but he wasn’t sure how to get to it. Even the pigeon in the bottom left hand corner of the photo wondered what was wrong with Sparky!

The plan Sparky came up with?

Climb into the mini hedge next to the food. Scramble up inside the tangled branches. Pop out at the top end. Stretch!

Success! Grab the monkey nut. Stuff it in your mouth. Exit the scene. This proved a little harder than entering as Sparky had to push himself back up into the hedge, against gravity!

This is the action shot I got above!

Once he’d procured the monkey nut, Sparky rushed away to bury it.

When he came back for more food, he had a brainwave – and hopped up onto the container like all his mates. No problem!

Sparky 3

However, after the year we’ve just had, and the pandemic still in full swing, maybe this is what we all need. A new way of looking at things!

Either that, or embracing the crazy!

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post script: I had a mini panic attack this morning when I tried to Log in to my WP account as usual, but kept getting sent back to the Log in screen. I had already deleted my cache and cookies; something I do regularly; so Googled other options. I tried the regular window instead of using private mode; I typed in a different search address, going back to basics. Still no luck at all.

Finally, I thought to try using Firefox instead of Google Chrome.

Success!

I’m feeling pretty chuffed that I managed to sort it out myself, but I am sure this is merely a presage of things to come.

WhatsApp, that I use regularly to keep in touch with family overseas, is forcing you to accept all of Facebook’s conditions, including their having access to – and the right to use – all of your chats and photos, contacts, phone numbers etc I am not on fb and never have been. Now I have till 8th February to decide whether I am willing to give fb the rights to my whole life.

The craziness just continues!

 

Orcas of the Sky

Pied Crows 1

Haiku 232

Orcas of the sky

Black and white killing machines

And noisy to boot!

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No matter how bad a day you’re having, there’s always someone having a worse day.

I was in the kitchen boiling the kettle to make a cup of tea one afternoon, when I heard a lot of noise coming from outside.

Looking through the window I saw several Pied Crows flying around, cawing loudly. There were two, then three birds, flying from one tree to another nearby.

Pied Crow 2

They kept returning to the top of the large tree in my neighbour’s front garden. It looked like they were trying to perch there, but it was extremely windy with strong gusts, so they just kept hovering over the uppermost branches. They had to work hard to maintain their position, with wing and tail feathers splayed, as shown in the first photo.

Then I heard the most plaintive loud chirping coming from somewhere inside the foliage at the top of that tree.

I assumed these sharks of the sky were trying to kill a baby chick.

The peeping was pitiful. This prompted my thoughts above – No matter how bad a day you’re having, there’s always someone having a worse day.

I felt very sorry for whichever little bird was being harried incessantly.

Pied Crow 3

I could still hear the cawing and plaintive cheeping when sitting outside with my tea. So, I walked round the side of the house with my camera to see if I could find out what was going on.

I took a few shots of the large birds battling the strong wind currents. The photo above captures one crow flying with its beak open, cawing loudly!

The three crows kept coming back in turn to this one tree, where the peeping was coming from.

Finally, a big grey bird shot out of the tree, chirping loudly as it flew. The adults immediately followed it.

It was their own large youngster that they had been trying to encourage to move out of the top of the tree!

The family flew off together into the distance and the plaintive peeping stopped.

I was very happy to have been mistaken in thinking that they were trying to kill another bird’s chick.

They were simply protecting their own.

 

I am very lucky to have a garden with lots going on to entertain me (and provide Blog content) during our endless Lockdown. Otherwise by now I would have had to resort to showing you my collection of teaspoons!

 

The Squirrel and the Loquat

Squirrel and Loquat 1

One morning as I was sitting under the apple tree having my cuppa, Sparky the squirrel came scampering by.

Having eaten all the seed I’d put out for her, she came looking for more food.

Squirrel 2

Hopping across the lawn she ventured ever closer to me, sitting up on her hind legs to double check I really was the Food Lady.

Yes, of course I speak back to her!

“You’ve eaten it all. That was it for today. Don’t be greedy!”

Squirrel 3

Realising nothing more was forthcoming, she scooted behind me and climbed up the ancient loquat tree. Here she looks rather rat-like, as she pauses in the lower branches, planning her route to the top.

Squirrel and Loquat 4

Our loquat tree may be over 50 years old. It’s certainly been in better health; many of the branches died so I had to cut them off. It seems to be a fungus that rings the bark, so the bark falls off and the branch dies. There were hardly any loquats this year.

Squirrel and Loquat 5

Still, right at the very top of one surviving limb, a small bunch of loquats bask in the sunshine.

Here, Sparky can eat the delicious ripe fruit to her heart’s content, thinking, “Mine, all mine!”

 

Red, Red Robin

Cape Robin 1

When the Red, Red Robin

Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’

Along!

Cape Robin 2

I rarely see a Cape Robin in my garden, so when he does pop by I am honoured.

Cape Robin 3

This little chap flew down onto the lawn near the stoep, hopped onto a solar lamp and looked at me.

Cape Robin 4

There are four solar lamps in a row on my lawn. He started on the one farthest away, then he hopped onto the next lamp closer, and stared again, then onto the third lamp.

Cape Robin 5

Finally, he came as close as he dared, on the last solar lamp, had a good long hard look at me, sitting in the garden chair with my cuppa and camera.

Cape Robin 6

Curiosity assuaged, he flew off.

How lovely to see him though.

Cape Robin 7

The catchy song “When the Red, Red Robin” was written in 1926 by Harry Woods. Here’s Doris Day singing, When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along.  

 

Next Generation

Baby White Eye 1

Haiku 228

Little fluffy balls

Peeping away constantly

Next generation

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Baby White Eye 2

Baby Cape White Eye, Mum and Dad are worn to a frazzle feeding you; keeping up with your demands!

But you are so very cute.

Baby White Eye 3

A spherical blob of downy feathers; tail and wings half grown; your flight a flurry of frantic flapping that carries you to the nearest branch. Mum and Dad are ever vigilant; concerned for your welfare.

Three Baby Chicks 4

The baby White Eye joined up with a couple of baby Cape Sparrows, locally known as Mossies.

Three Baby Chicks 5

It’s a little chick creche. I guess safety in numbers!

Three Baby Chicks 6

Either way, it’s cuteness overload!

 

Unusually, it was an overcast grey morning with what little sunlight there was, shining from behind the birds. My Canon camera does not do well in low light, so some of these photos are grainy and blurry.

 

Sunbird Defender

Male Sunbird 1

Haiku 227

Valiant Sunbird

Defender of the tiny

Mighty nonetheless

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Female and Male Sunbird 2

The female Sunbird has dull grey plumage and is difficult to spot. Above, she is feeding from the yellow honeysuckle in the bottom left of the photo, while the male flies off, in the top right.

Male Sunbird 3 – Dark

The male Lesser Double-Collared Sunbird perches above the female on the newly-awakened grape vines, keeping a lookout while she is feeding. He appears dark grey in this photo, as it is only the bright sunlight reflecting off his feathers that makes them iridesce, and the angle is wrong here.

Male Sunbird 4 – Hidden

They are tiny birds, with a very high pitched twitter. I constantly hear the male defending his territory, and his female, from other males.

The male can also be hard to spot, especially when he hides behind the leaves as above!

Male Sunbird 5

But how magnificent he is when perched in full sunlight!