letting nature back in

at home and further afield


Garden birds

Hadeda ibis: From wetlands to birdbaths

From being primarily associated with wetlands and woodlands the hadeda ibis has successfully expanded its range across much of the country even where it was formerly absent, and nowadays populations flourish even in urban areas. In suburbia it continues its association with water in the form of well-watered lawns, ponds and swimming pools. Continue reading “Hadeda ibis: From wetlands to birdbaths”

The cackling presence of the Green Wood-Hoopoe

Although striking in appearance and obvious because they are gregarious, it is usually the loud cackling that first alert one to the presence of Green Wood-Hoopoes in the garden. Continue reading “The cackling presence of the Green Wood-Hoopoe”

The forest-dwelling Lemon Dove

Because the Lemon Dove forages discreetly on the ground or in the shrubby understorey it is often overlooked. It occurs in forest habitats and also in gardens that are well wooded. Continue reading “The forest-dwelling Lemon Dove”

On garden pond: Homemade and wildlife friendly

A wildlife-friendly pond even in a suburban garden can really enrich the space. Although we still provide bird baths, which are heavily used, a pond with aquatic plants adds another dimension, attracting other creatures in addition to the birds. Continue reading “On garden pond: Homemade and wildlife friendly”

Bottle variations

These old bottles were all dug up in a long-disused household rubbish pit behind our house. Variations include bottles for medicines, tomato sauce, beer, lime juice, milk, hair oil, Vicks, Marmite, and liqueur. Continue reading “Bottle variations”

Feather texture revealed

For birds, regular preening of feathers is essential for flight. Continue reading “Feather texture revealed”

Ground-foraging songbirds: There are thrushes at the bottom of the garden

The thrushes are as busy as ever this winter. Only two species of thrush visit our garden, out of the 12 or so species found in South Africa. Continue reading “Ground-foraging songbirds: There are thrushes at the bottom of the garden”

Fleeting garden visitors: The Bush Blackcap and the Swee Waxbill

Previously, I have highlighted birds that are daily visitors to our garden. By contrast the Bush Blackcap and the Swee Waxbill appear to be infrequent or very discreet visitors. Continue reading “Fleeting garden visitors: The Bush Blackcap and the Swee Waxbill”

Redeyed Doves, Turtle Doves, monogamy and sacrifice

Because doves and pigeons mate for life, people in many cultures have attributed to them the qualities of loyalty, love and devotion, virtues that, sadly, have had paradoxically lethal consequences for these birds characterised (pigeon-holed?) as being gentle and unaggressive. Continue reading “Redeyed Doves, Turtle Doves, monogamy and sacrifice”

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