Wildlife Sightings - July 2017

The Dargle Conservancy publishes stories, pictures, and comments, which our members send to us each month, mostly as received by us, and with minimal editing on our part. We cannot guarantee the correctness of any information contained in the Sightings nor do they necessarily reflect our views or opinions.

Garry Barlow - Farm 1, Hazelmere

Garry sent these pictures of a plant growing in one of the riverine forests on his farm, with a request for identification. They are Hedychium sp., commomly known as wild ginger or ginger lily and are classified as category 1 alien invasives.

Hedychium sp., a catgory 1 alien invader

Hedychium sp., a catgory 1 alien invasive plant

Hedychium sp., a catgory 1 alien invader

Hedychium sp., a catgory 1 alien invasive plant

Pat and Sandra Merrick – Albury Farm, Lidgetton

We have seen between 2 and 4 oribi running across the burnt hill behind the house. Also 2 duikers belting it down same hill this morning. As the burn has now turned green, we have a number of reedbuck grazing there and they love to watch us from the top of the hill as we walk the dogs in the evening.  They are very curious buck.

Male reedbuck

Adult male reedbuck

A mom and her young male son sleep in one corner of the farm next to the stone wall.  As he cannot jump over the fence yet, she shows him how to climb beneath it.  

Reedbuck squeezing through fence

Reedbuck squeezing through fence - for a story about the dangers of fencing to wild animals see our April Newsletter here.

Young male reedbuck

Young male reedbuck

On one of our walks, we also discovered some lovely yellow flowers growing through the burn.  Perhaps Nikki can identify them for us? We have never seen them here before. [Sandra, this appears to be Moraea huttonii - large golden vlei iris].

We were also delighted to see that the large old tree ferns growing in a gully, had not been burnt by the fire.

tree fern which survived a fire

There are still a few sunbirds around although not many flowers left except for a few proteas and bottle brush. 

sunbirdsunbird

The secretive southern boubou is becoming more adventurous and venturing out into the open garden now, especially as food is so scarce.

boubou

Southern boubou

Pat saw a black backed puffback sitting in the pine tree next to the pond.  He also saw a black sparrowhawk dive bombing a hen and her ten chicks in Lidgetton village.  He stopped to watch.  It tried 4 times before it successfully caught a chick with poor mom frantically trying to chase him off and chicks running in all directions.  I have often seen the gymnogene down there as well.  Lots of hens and chicks about, so good feeding ground for the raptors.  It does not look like our pair of sparrowhawk will use their old nest in the gum trees this year which is a shame but i have seen a few vervet monkeys around so that might be the reason for nesting elsewhere.

We have seen a number of blue crane this month in 2’s, 3’s and even 4 on one day.  As the dam has dropped, the crowned and wattled crane have deserted us for new pastures.  I miss them.

Blue cranes

The secretary bird has been prominent and late one afternoon I saw 2 of them. Only got one grainy shot of the 2 of them and then they started to run. Then one flew off into the hill while the other vanished in the opposite direction. 

A pair of secretary birds

On another walk, we encountered a black bellied korhaan but it flew off and landed in tall grass, not to be seen again.

The wagtails that I mentioned last month wanting to nest again in same pot plant, are now looking at my hanging basket.  I will have to keep an eye on them.

Wagtail

We have had no rain this month (a bit of drizzle) and only two frosts and some very warm days.  Hopefully August will bring some moisture.

 

Please feel free to send your contributions to us, to comment on the sightings, or to ask any question by sending an e-mail to us here. Pictures should be at least 850px wide.