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Fairies in Pretoria

When Di’neke was small, I took her to Kimiad on a Sunday where there was a little wooden jungle gym that was hidden away in a lush patch of natural bushveld riverine forest under false pretenses that there are Fairies there and if she was very quiet, she might just see one.

Thank goodness for the “Fairybutterflies”, else this little toddler would never have allowed me a few quiet moments to scope out the local bird life! Hahaha!

Little did I know that this year, I would indeed stumble into a Fairy at almost the exact same spot! Well, not quite one wearing a little tutu and carrying a magic wand in her hand… but one that catches and eats little flying insects. Yup, a Fairy Flycatcher.

Of course I had to share it with Di’neke now about 10 years later and little impressed she was with me when I told her about how I bull-twanged her back then as we walked up to the spot. Hahaha!

She gave me a little smirk when I pointed out the Fairy to her. “Cute” she said, “but not as cute as the ones I thought I would see back then as a 4 year old!”.

Cute it is! The Fairy Flycatcher is Southern Africa’s smallest endemic bird, weighing a measly little 6 grams. It is an altitudinal migrant to the highveld during winter, but where exactly they come from is still some sort of a mystery. It is believed that it could be from Lesotho or even as far as the Karoo and even the Tankwa National Park. A mighty traveling feat for such a small bird.

Pretoria is about just as far north as they will go, but there are records of it as far north as almost reaching Polokwane.

http://sabap2.adu.org.za/species_info.php?spp=678#menu_left

In Pretoria they seasonally occur during winter at various localities, like Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve, Voortrekker monument and the Pretoria Botanical Gardens. Finding them is not easy and one needs to be very familiar with its calls, especially the contact call which sounds very much like the familiar “pshising” sound birders make to lure out inconspicuous birds.

Once you are onto one, you better make sure your neck is in good working order and you have to be fast, I mean real fast (Like Laine when she snapped this one above)! These little Grey, Black and White with a little wash of pink (nearer to the breeding season) bolts flashes around like little turbo-charged… well… fairies!

Seeing one is one thing, but getting a photo of a Fairy is almost damn near impossible as it just about never sits still!

Fairy Flycatchers are splendid little birds. Neat as a pin and as cute as those fairies with their tutus and wands Peter Pan used to mingle with. So who knows… maybe one day when you silently traverse a well suited patch of kloof bush or a clump of thorn trees and you are quiet as mouse, you may just have a glimpse of one of Pretoria’s Fairies.

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Birding in Garscom

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Ever since moving into Garsfontein x10 in 2007, I have been recording birds in the area. Together with Garsfontein x11 this forms an area known as Garscom, driven and managed by us as the community and running various projects, of which one is bird watching. Recently I have asked Henk at www.birdlasser.co.za who has an awesome bird listing app to assist me in creating a bird list for Garscom. I was pleasantly surprised to note that we have recorded 140 species in an area of 2.76 km².

Map:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1K1WS22cPcDpSFVP7qwG8IpynL7c

Yesterday afternoon whilst walking Xavier, I heard the distinct call of Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird! Soon after, I saw a pair of them, which constitutes #141 for Garscom, investigating a possible nesting site in Poolhond street, much to the despair of the resident Black-collared Barbets.

http://www.laine-dirk.co.za/photos/470/470.html

This is a forgone conclusion that suburban gardens attract a magnitude of bird life. And especially so here in Pretoria east, bordering highveld grasslands and bushveld habitat. Garscom in particular is a special area, where in addition to the wonderful bird life, wild life such as Porcupine, Lesser Bushbaby and Large-spotted Genet also occur.

The current list of birds for Garscom:

Species English Name
Acacia Pied Barbet
African Black Duck
African Darter
African Fish Eagle
African Green Pigeon
African Grey Hornbill
African Harrier-Hawk
African Hoopoe
African Olive Pigeon
African Palm Swift
African Paradise Flycatcher
African Pied Wagtail
African Reed Warbler
African Sacred Ibis
African Wattled Lapwing
Amethyst Sunbird
Arrow-marked Babbler
Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle
Barn Swallow
Bar-throated Apalis
Black Sparrowhawk
Black-backed Puffback
Black-collared Barbet
Black-headed Heron
Black-headed Oriole
Black-shouldered Kite
Blacksmith Lapwing
Black-throated Canary
Black-winged Pratincole
Blue Crane
Blue Waxbill
Bronze Mannikin
Brown-crowned Tchagra
Brown-hooded Kingfisher
Burchell’s Coucal
Cape Glossy Starling
Cape Grassbird
Cape Robin-Chat
Cape Rock Thrush
Cape Sparrow
Cape Turtle Dove
Cape Wagtail
Cape White-eye
Cardinal Woodpecker
Common Moorhen
Common Myna
Common Ostrich
Crested Barbet
Crowned Lapwing
Cut-throat Finch
Dark-capped Bulbul
Diederik Cuckoo
Egyptian Goose
European Bee-eater
European Honey Buzzard
Fiscal Flycatcher
Fork-tailed Drongo
Freckled Nightjar
Giant Kingfisher
Golden-tailed Woodpecker
Goliath Heron
Greater Honeyguide
Greater Striped Swallow
Green Wood Hoopoe
Green-backed Heron
Grey Go-away-bird
Grey Heron
Grey-headed Bushshrike
Groundscraper Thrush
Hadeda Ibis
Half-collared Kingfisher
Hamerkop
Helmeted Guineafowl
House Sparrow
Karoo Thrush
Klaas’s Cuckoo
Kurrichane Thrush
Laughing Dove
Lesser Honeyguide
Lesser Masked Weaver
Levaillant’s Cisticola
Levaillant’s Cuckoo
Lilac-breasted Roller
Little Egret
Little Rush Warbler
Little Sparrowhawk
Little Swift
Long-billed Crombec
Long-tailed Widowbird
Magpie Shrike
Marico Sunbird
Natal Spurfowl
Olive Thrush
Ovambo Sparrowhawk
Pied Crow
Pied Kingfisher
Purple Heron
Red-billed Quelea
Red-chested Cuckoo
Red-eyed Dove
Red-faced Mousebird
Red-headed Finch
Red-knobbed Coot
Red-winged Starling
Reed Cormorant
Rock Dove
Rock Martin
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Shikra
South African Cliff Swallow
Southern Boubou
Southern Fiscal
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow
Southern Masked Weaver
Southern Red Bishop
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Speckled Mousebird
Speckled Pigeon
Spotted Eagle-Owl
Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Thick-knee
Spur-winged Goose
Streaky-headed Seedeater
Tawny-flanked Prinia
Thick-billed Weaver
Village Weaver
Water Thick-knee
Wattled Starling
Western Barn Owl
Western Cattle Egret
White Stork
White-bellied Sunbird
White-faced Whistling Duck
White-fronted Bee-eater
White-rumped Swift
Willow Warbler
Woodland Kingfisher
Yellow-billed Duck
Yellow-billed Kite
Yellow-fronted Canary
Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird

 

 

By Sun City

dinekehu

Vir die lang naweek wat op 30 April begin het , het ons Sun City toe gegaan!
Dit is AMAZING hier!!! Maar more gaan ons weer huis toe:-(

Ons was by Vallei of Waves en by baie verskillende swembaddens. Ons het ook aande by n Game plek gaan speel en baie ‘tickets’ gekry. Ons het ook by lekker resturante geeet.

Ek wil glad nie Maandag skool toe gaan nie!! Maar more gaan ons nog baie pret he voor ons huis toe gaan!! Yahoooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Dinner at Rademeyers

dinekehu

Today 13 March we went to Rademeyers in Moreletta Park , Pretoria – East!
It was so much fun and I was with my family ! We ate ribs and yummy ice cream with chocolate sauce ,because we were all starving! I enjoyed it alot and 14 March I am going to play Netbal against CP!
It is called “CP Durby naweek !!”
It is Netbal , Hockey , Chess, Rugby and swim!!!! I do swimming and netbal!**
PS : I love my family !!!!***** and Rademeyers is also a nature reserve. It is awesome
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It was a old farmhouse and now it is a pretty restuarant.

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