Spring has wafted in bringing some relief from the drought as swathes of wild flowers stretch across the veld. There’s an air of triumph about – a flap of wings and the squawking of little hatchlings. A welcome sight in our backyard is a newly fledged Cape wagtail chick. It plopped out of the nest like a little plum pudding and landed with a bump. The parents continue to fuss around encouraging it to fly, following with encouraging tweets.
Initially there was a setback with the first nest when it was abandoned after the local baboon troop came for a visit through the neighbourhood. They’d spent a week constructing a perfect little structure and had just lined it with soft feathers when the furry visitors rudely clambered right up the very jasmine creeper where it was sited and partially dislodged it in their rush to jump over the wall. The birds were so spooked that they took off and disappeared for a while before returning to choose a new site to rebuild. Happily there was a successful outcome and if the pattern of past years is repeated the adult pair may well produce two more batches of chicks this season.
As baby baboons develop they progess from clinging below their mothers’ bellies to riding atop their backs. This juvenile baboon is probably old enough to be walking alongside its mother; instead it displays a rather confident riding ‘style’.
The action follows on from the previous post where the international windsurfing set had gathered at Platboom, Cape of Good Hope Reserve. While most spectators’ attention was on the daring windsurfers out in the big seas, a drama unfolded on shore, when a wiley old female baboon staked out the cars waiting for a raiding opportunity. And she hit the jackpot – a car door was open and she made off with an easy lunch. Stuffed into those impressively full cheek pouches are a half dozen crispy breadrolls as well as a banana.
When the baboons lose their fear of humans and start raiding for human-derived food they can become overly persistent and even aggressive in their pursuit of an easy meal and land up being euthanased. “Problem” people are generally the cause of this change in the animals’ behaviour through actions of feeding or teasing the baboons or in this case where the food was too easily ‘available’.