A feeling of elation lingers as the soft rain which has fallen over the last two days, soaks into the parched earth and the raindrops glisten like jewels.  The dam levels supplying Cape Town’s needs are still way below par but through this respite we can visibly see the vegetation greening up and the first signs of spring are emerging.  Through my dining room window there’s a buzzing scene.  Wagtails are in-coming carrying nesting material, while the sugarbirds and sunbirds flit about foraging for nectar.  The protea pincushions (Leucospermum) are coming into bloom though i still put out the occasional bottle of sugar water (fructose/sucrose formula) for the sunbirds.

The ‘tweeting’ going on is full of robust conversation; the wagtail pair call constantly with urgency – “Where are you, where? Bring in the next twigs, need fluff, fluff?”  While the sugarbirds have the gruff throaty voice of nightclub singers; deep and croaky.  They have the least melodious of songs while the dainty sunbirds have ‘chirp’; full of small bird attitude.  My guidebook describes their calls as a wheezy single “tsearp” or  double “teer-turp”. And with that, a jubilant “hallelujah” from all of us here on the rainy shores of the Cape Peninsula.


Cape Sugarbirds mob feeder_01 Cape Sugarbirds mob feeder_02

We’ve been putting out nectar feeders for the sunbirds and Cape sugarbirds while the fynbos vegetation recovers from the mountain fires in November.  This mob of chattering sugarbirds rushes in as the sun dips in the late afternoon just in time for a dinnertime feed.   We expect to see less of them as their nesting season approaches and other duties call.  Soon the females will be building nests while the males protect their respective territories.

WPC: Dinnertime

False Bay: Unruffled

Some of our best days come at the back end of summer.  This morning’s dawn crept in with a silvery sheen; a light gossamer veil. 01_A-silvery-dawn 02_Dawn-slips-in-with-a-silvery-light. 03_Sun-sparkle

The sheerest whisper from the sea set a gentle tone, a backdrop for the dawn chorus.  The feathered fraternity set to with great gusto from the raucous call of the Egyptian geese to the sweetest of tweets from the little White-eyes.  Out too were swarms of bugs (the miggie brigade), butterflies, bumble bees, flies.   Right in front of our patio we were treated to aerobatic displays as sunbirds, sugarbirds, chats  swooped in diving and chasing after a protein breakfast on the wing.  The Cape Sugarbirds stole the show with their elegant long tails.  The choreography was as complex as a gymnast’s engaging in a floor routine with a long set of ribbons.

04_Sugarbird-on-bug-watch 05_Chasing-bugs

By mid-morning the clouds rolled in, unfurling a meteorological text – forecasting a low front for tomorrow….. rain’s coming.

07_Morning-light 08_Mares-tails 09_Rain-coming

Cape Sugarbird dine on summer nectar.

Cape-Sugar-Bird                  At this time of the year we see quite a lot of the Cape Sugarbirds.   During the breeding and nesting season, from March to August they’re otherwise engaged, but now they’re out in number, dining at the finest Protea Repens stands, and other delectable nectar flowers.    The female’s tail is shorter, and she’s generally less showy than the male who vigorously holds territorial dominance over his air space.  Their flight is dainty, almost dance-like as they must accommodate the long streaming tail feathers which flow behind like hair extensions.