Saturday, November 27, 2010

Birds in my garden

We've been unbelievably blessed with birds in my garden over the past five years. When I first became interested in watching birds, my sister-in-law (who helped with my Red-throated Wryneck identification on Tuesday which you can read about here) told me to identify all the birds who visit my garden in a given day. 

At the time (back in early 2007) I wandered around my garden, binoculars in hand and from sunrise to sunset spotted 21 birds which - until then - I'd been unaware of.  I noticed Black-collared barbets, African Red-eyed bulbuls, Cape Canaries, Cape -  and Orange River White-eyes, Cape sparrows, White-browed sparrow weavers, Cape Robin-chats, Whattled Starlings, Red-eyed doves and mourning doves. I constantly referred to my Roberts field guide and of course, sent frantic messages to said SIL when I was unsure of where to check in the book.

Since that day, I've watched a multitude of birds in the garden, enjoying a bath or drink in the ponds, drinking nectar from my aloes and salvia, and still others who nest in the many trees in the garden. I've had Malachite - and White-bellied sunbirds, Tawny-flanked prineas, Cape - and Pririt batisses, a Diderick's cuckoo and African - and Green wood-hoopoe, Black-throated canaries, Spotted flycatchers, Red-faced - , Speckled - and White-backed mousebirds, African pied wagtail, Karoo- and Olive thrushes,  Hadeda ibis and even a visiting Hamerkop on quite a few occasions.

For the past month,  I spent a considerable amount of time working with the gardeners and later in the day wandered around taking photos.  I thought I'd share three photos of beautiful birds in the garden.
The Cape Robin-chat, who is the first bird awake in the morning, is also the last bird sound at night. I'm talking EARLY morning: 3.30 am in the summer time and about 6am in the winter. And when darkness has fallen at the end of the day, Robin is the bird who is still uttering soft sounds as he readies himself for bed. He has a beautiful melodious call and also mimics other birds. He also maintains territory for life. Here he was on the edge of my second pond almost posing for me. Isn't he gorgeous?
The Karoo thrush and Olive thrush is a regular in my garden. Above is the Karoo thrush. They, like the Cape robin-chat above love to scrummage around in the undergrowth of my wild, grassy garden. They also spend a lot of time around the ponds and more than once, we've seen them catching a frog in the pond, beating it on the rocks (eewgh) and eating it
I have two types of White-eyes in my garden. Cape white-eye (above) and Orange River white-eye. They are very difficult to photograph so I was thrilled to get this photo while the beautiful lad was eating berries in my Karee (Rhus lancea), No prizes for guessing where he gets his name. LOL!



  1. Wow again, Jo. I seem to say "wow" a lot. I love your bird list, and your bird photos.
    The robin-chat sounds like a real darling although perhaps not at 3am, and the white-eye looks adorable hanging there to eat the berries.
    I'm not too sure about the thrush who bashes frogs to death on rocks, but, as you said about the Merlins plaguing my neighbourhood, that's nature. It's a handsome bird with its matching legs and beak but, really, frogs???
    I'm such a wimp.
    Your garden sounds like a paradise for birds, dogs, cats and people. Maybe not for frogs. :)
    Luv, K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. Nice shots ! I don't have any birds in my garden ! with all these cats around they prefer to stay in areas where there are only dogs,lol !
    The only once we have en masse are magpies, and a few crows ! They attack the cats !

  3. Hello Jo, It does sound like you have seen lots of great birds in yoru gardens and yard. I love your Robin and white eye. I have been putting in plants and flowers that attract birds and I provide water for them. It is very rewarding!

  4. Hi Jo,
    I came to visit your blog after reading your comment on Eileen's blog. I enjoyed scrolling down, and reading all of the posts on the page. You have a beautiful place, and a fun assortment of birds and cats.

    That grandbaby is a cutie! My grandson is almost 3, and is expected to be a big brother the end of April.

  5. Very beautiful Jo! I love birds they are always fun to watch.

  6. Great photo of the white-eye.

    Lil Bit Brit


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo