Feathered chicks and parents

As time rolls on there’s a shift as spring gives over to summer and trending now is the season for cute babies: parenting roles come to the fore.   There is much activity in our backyard with the chirps and cheeps from the pair of feisty of wagtails and their chicks. This year they built their nest craftily anchored to a trellis supporting a jasmine creeper.    Two rotund chicks have fledged but the parents will continue feeding them until they are self sufficient.

Other nesting pairs are sitting (though fortunately not in the backyard) or guarding nest spaces and like a maiden aunt i am anxiously awaiting results.   On the left, is the spotted thick-knees which have previously featured here in this blog.  By scoping out the nest with binoculars when the parents change sittings I can make out that there are two eggs.

Ostrich in his black night attire is inconguously sitting in broad daylight, which rather debunks the theory that the female with her drab colouring is better camouflaged for duty during the day.  They go for big broods and lay between 15 – 20 eggs.

The last on the right, is the Kittlitz plover, a shy retiring, little bird.

Hopefully, soon I will have more to report on the happy flutter of new arrivals.

Cape Wagtails: The third sitting

They did it!!  The wagtail pair have successfully produced their second brood of the season.  After the bad luck of losing the last nest and having to abandon four eggs they triumphed by fledging three little chicks today.

Cape wagtail chicks

Baby fluff

There was a lot of wriggling in the nest, the dominant chick stands on two siblings.

Wagtail chick_ the littlest.

The two larger chicks ventured further and flew off over the garden wall, while this little one found shelter under the garden bench.  The parent birds started rebuilding their third nest on the 7th October and five weeks later the chicks have fledged.  They will continue feeding them for another couple of weeks and I hope that they will stay awhile in the shelter of the backyard.

The Cape wagtails: a nesting saga

In a previous post “Mid-winter Chat”, a pair of wagtails started nesting and six weeks later a single chick fledged from the nest :

The rotund little chick on 13 September.
The rotund little chick on 13 September.

It became self sufficient quickly with the full attention from both the parent birds and within ten days it had flown the backyard coop.

The parents were soon back in the nest with a second batch of eggs when disaster struck.  After a bout of galeforce winds, the nest came adrift from it’s position on a broad aloe leaf and collapsed to the ground spilling the four beautifully formed eggs.

Wagtail eggs

A costly disaster for the pair; but a couple of days on the resilient pair were building a new nest from scratch higher up in the aloe plant:

New nest 9 October

It’s a little over two weeks now and soon I expect to hear the first cheeps.  The nest is too high for a glimpse to check out the numbers, but I’m eager to know whether they aimed high with four again.


Wagtail sitting

Two weeks on the nest.
Two weeks on the nest.

Winter hasn’t quite withdrawn: last week was cold and blustery with rain showers.  But the wagtail nesting site is well protected from the elements.  The bay tree growing alongside has been swaying in the stiff wind gusts, while the pair take turns to sit on the eggs in the comfort of a stable foundation.  The broad leaves of the aloe tree form protection from the driving rain.  The clever little nest builders picked a perfect site.  Two weeks have elapsed since they started sitting that means approximately a week to hatching time.

Mid-winter chat


We’ve had a recent bout of stormy winter weather, but today was one of those calm sky-blue days.  We weren’t the only ones out sunning ourselves, the birds were positively brimming with vigour and the resident wagtails were full of chat.  Their songlines were not the usual greet and tweet, but full of trills and chirp.  Soon it became obvious that male was charming the Missus, and a new nesting site is brewing.  Watch this space ….