Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunbird central


I am at the southern tip of Africa. and in my mother's Constantia garden the sunbird population appears to have tripled since I was here last, almost a year ago. Slammed by stupendous jet lag I sat sleepless and comatose with camera and watched the birds for a long time in the morning. My pictures are not very good. When the Frenchman gets here he will do these delightful birds justice.

These pictures are all of lesser double collared sunbirds, very small, but bigger than the hummingbirds I hope to see back in Brooklyn later in the year. There are lots of winter flowers for them to feed on right now, like the Cape honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis), above. Also, the bird above is not panting, but singing.


Above: I have forgotten this plant's name. Anyone? I think South American. [Ah, got it: Cestrum 'Newellii' - hardy to Zone 9-ish, if you're in the U.S.]


And then there is the junk food drive-through: sugar water.


Some people dye it red but it is not necessary (and use beet juice, if you must). Spot all the sunbirds above?


This dainty female stuck to the prolific Cotyledon flowers.

In other bird news we rescued an Egyptian goose gosling - a very small baby - which is now in a box in a warm place. We named him Farouk, and tomorrow must figure out what to do with him. Or her. In which case Farouk will not do.  The big geese were scared off by a dog in the greenbelt and somehow Farouk landed up near the house stuck in a drain. He has a mighty peep.

11 comments:

  1. What beautiful birds....we have a lot of hummingbirds in our back garden, but they aren't colorful like the ones back East or in (SA). I hope you enjoy your visit and that you're family is well.

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  2. What lovely birds. Your blog makes me wish for a trip to South Africa, to experience all the plants, wildlife and scenery as you have so well depicted it.

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    1. Thank you. I hope you can make that trip one day...

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  3. I think the plant is a Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia). Maybe? The lesser-collareds here love the one a couple of houses down.

    Also, it's sleeting, ~25km from Durban. Anyone who doubts climate change is a nutter.

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    1. Can't edit, so replying to do so: my wife argues that the similar bush down the road is not a buckeye but a red Cestrum, aka, Jessamine. Maybe *that*?

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  4. Replies
    1. Your Canon is tactful, for a Canon, but inside it's going to go: Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaajajajajajajajaja!

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    2. Nah, the last things she shot were fireflies, and a close-up of a bug that turned out not to be a tick. She can use colorful sunbirds.

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  5. Those sunbirds are beautiful and they share! Hummingbirds in Georgia are very territorial and chase off any other that wants to stop at the same 'drinking' place! I never see more than one at a time working a flower.

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  6. So many! They are gorgeous!

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