Tag Archives: birds

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.



Sunbird 1

A Sunbird in my hand is worth many in the bush.

I have been trying to capture a decent photograph of this little Sunbird for many years. All I had to show for my efforts were lots of photos of empty bushes and skies! (He was far too quick for me!)

Sunbird 2

Today he flew right into my lounge.

He is a Lesser Double-Collared Sunbird.

The first priority, of course, was getting rid of the wolf! So I shut Little Monkey in the kitchen. Then we could set about rescuing this lost little soul.

Sunbird 3

Panicked, he flew round the room, repeatedly bumping his head on the ceiling. Eventually, exhausted, he settled to rest on the burglar bars in a window.

Sunbird 4

We managed to carefully shoo him out of the side window, only to have him immediately fly right back in the door! He ended up on the floor by the security door, so I scooped him up very gently in my cupped hands.

Sunbird 5

He weighed nothing at all. (Well, according to google, 8 grammes!)

As I cradled the poor dazed bird in my hands, we silently regarded each other; he with bemusement and I with wonder.

What a treat!

Sunbird 6

Then I carried him outside and placed him on my honeysuckle bush. This is where I have seen him before, fleetingly. He was a bit clingy, but I scraped him off and left him sitting on a branch, still quite confused.

Sunbird 7

He remained there for a while, then shook his head and took off, gaining altitude and flying strongly towards the trees.

I hope the dent on his head was merely ruffled feathers and he recovered fully.




Starling 1

This cheeky little chap was hoping for a share in our afternoon tea and cake.

Starling 2

He made himself comfortable on one of the chairs while he waited.

Starling 3

Finally, on finding no cake forthcoming, he hopped off to try his luck elsewhere!


You can read more about Red-Winged Starlings here; Four and Twenty Blackbirds.


Poetry in Motion?

Hadedah 1

Hadeda 1

Galaxy 5

The fun thing about photos from my phone is that I can play around with them.

This is a little animation I made on Google Photos, from several of my photos joined together as a GIF.

If it plays for you, you might notice just how windy it was, not only to ruffle the feathers of this large hadeda, but also to sway the branches of the trees so much. No wonder the bird lost his balance!

Poetry in motion? Perhaps not!


If the GIF doesn’t play for you, there’s a static photo below, so you can at least see the hadeda.

Hadeda 2

Hadeda 2

This is the fifth in my series of Galaxy camera phone photos.


Four and Twenty Blackbirds . . .

Black Bird 1

Black Bird 1

This chap has his beady little eye on the white berries. If you look closely, you’ll see dark shapes hiding in the bush above him. These are more birds.

Black Bird 2

Black Bird 2

Four and Twenty Black Birds? Baked in a pie?

Well, that’s how the nursery rhyme goes: “Sing a song of sixpence”.

But I don’t think there were twenty four here!

Also, although these are black birds, they aren’t Blackbirds, but Red-Winged Starlings; another of our unique Cape birds.

Black Bird 3

Black Bird 3 ccc

A small flock of them descended on my bush to eat the berries. They are quite large birds, but mostly you had no idea they were there, as they delved right into the bush. Only the raucous squawking and shaking of the branches gave their presence away!

Black Bird 5

Black Bird 5

This one looks like a female or perhaps a juvenile bird. It is slightly to right of centre in the photo below.

Black Bird 4

Black Bird 4

There are more than two birds in this last photo.

How many birds can you spot?


post script: You can see more of these birds in my post The Birds!


Sentry Duty

Cape Bulbul 1

Cape Bulbul 1

A pair of Cape Bulbuls has taken up residence in my front garden, along with the Cape Robins.

Cape Bulbul 2

Cape Bulbul 2

They are excellent parents to their little offspring and one is always on guard.

Cape Bulbul 3

Cape Bulbul 3

Cleverly, they built their nest in the prickly bougainvillea; its large thorns providing protection from inquisitive cats and me!

Cape Bulbul 4

Cape Bulbul 4

Every time I go out there they fly to a nearby tree and chirp at me most vociferously. Here one perches in the grape vine to get a better look at me.

Cape Bulbul 5

Cape Bulbul 5

They fly to other trees as I pass by, continuing to scold and making sure to see me on my way.

How dare I trespass on their territory!


post script: You can see more of the Cape Bulbul here: 

Mystery Post Four

Under Surveillance.


Mystery Visitor

Cape Canary 1

Cape Canary 1

I spotted this bird on my garden face recently. I grabbed my camera and managed one shot before it flew off. As usual, I was inside the house in the lounge and shooting through the window.

The camera had hardly switched on before I was forcing it to function and the bird flew away, so the photo before tweaking* was really blurred; see below.

Cape Canary 2

Cape Canary 2

I could tell by looking at it that it wasn’t one of my usual visitors and I thought perhaps it was a Cape Weaver, which I have seen very occasionally in the past, but something about it just wasn’t quite right. This bird is smaller and has those grey markings.

After searching through my Newman’s SA Bird book and google, I think I have finally identified it.

A Cape Canary!

You can watch a short clip of the Cape Canary, Serinus canicollis singing, here.

I love to see all these new birds in my garden, but wish they’d stay around a bit more so I could get a decent photo!


post script: I don’t put a bird feeder out in my garden, because I don’t want to actively encourage birds to visit here when I have Little Monkey, who will always chase them away and catch them if she can. However, I do have a bird bath, because water is scarce, but they can access this from the trees, so are relatively safe. I’ve never seen LM try to catch birds in the bird bath; maybe etiquette at the water hole?

*post post script: If you’re interested, I improved the image by sharpening the contrast and adjusting the saturation and colour levels, on PowerPaint 2.50. I was pretty chuffed with the results, as my original photo was very blurred and according to google, sharpening an image is really difficult. The funniest account I read on how best to sharpen a blurred photo simply said to take another photo of your subject, but in focus this time!