Tag Archives: Photos

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.

 

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!

 

Sunbird

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.

 

 

Stay!

The Stay 1 – LM

The Long Distance Stay

Little Monkey waits while I walk away from her, with my friend and her two dogs. Even ‘splitting the pack’ did not break her stay.

I like this photo with the background of blinding white-light that emphasises just how bright it is here!

The Stay 2 – LM

This photo gives a better indication of how far away I was. Normally we do a longer distance, but I wanted to take a photo; and the very act of moving my arms to do so would make her want to move. I “call” her simply by raising my arm up and down; no words. This works very well over very long distances; especially on a windy day when your voice is carried away; or when you have laryngitis; or suddenly can’t whistle, like Pinocchio!

This is what we do every single time before I let LM run around free. She stays till I ‘call’ her, trots straight up to me, sits down and waits till I release her (stroke on the head, double pat to the side, “OK.”). Then I know she is listening to me and will come back to me any time during the walk, even if she is out of sight and I have to whistle for her.

This is what she did before she had her Walk in the Wild (with the ‘wolf’) in a recent post.

We have come a very long way from when I first got LM and she did not even look at me at all! I have to admit, LM does have some skills now, even if she is a complete Noo Noo!

 

The Last Rose

Rose 1

Ethereal and delicately pale; this last rose of Autumn.

My daughter’s floribunda rose bush has continually produced pink blooms since the start of Spring, six months ago.

Rose 2

This is what it looked like then, in October last year.

I thought it interesting that these two photos, taken so far apart, were so similar; the position of the rose and buds being almost identical.

Although my Autumn rose is a little faded now, all it needs is dead-heading one last time before it has a little siesta.

Then it will be back in business for its winter blooming!

 

 

Glorious Gold

Golden 1

 

Autumn in the Cape

In the blink of an eye

Leaves turn to gold

Though it is hotter than July (in Europe!)

Certainly not cold

.

Golden 2

Autumn takes you by surprise

While most are evergreen

Grapevines alert your eyes

To the changing scene

.

Golden 3

Sunlight filters through

Leaves kissed with gold

Ever reminding you

Of seasons tales untold

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Golden 4