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[personal profile] emmelinemay
When Mum and Dave moved here, one of the first things they did was to try and get all the beautiful birds to come and eat in their garden, rather than anyone else's. They've been experimenting over the years with different combinations of fruit, meat, bread and positions in the garden for a bird table. They seem to have found the ideal combination, as their garden is FULL of beautiful birds. I have seen Sunbirds, Weaver birds, a few Cape White Eyes, a Hoopoe, a Shrike, Doves and lots of cute little sparrows. I need to put batteries in my camera to get good photos as my phone camera doesn't do them justice at all.

The magic solution Mum has discovered is sugar water with red food colouring. They've also tried blue, yellow, green, vanilla flavoured - all sorts of things - but the birds won't touch the others. They just love the red water! They scold us when we're late putting it out, and surround me on the bushes when I am putting it out, just waiting for me to get to a safe distance (about 2 metres!) before they swoop in. Mum says if she goes out to feed them wearing red they don't even fly away. I am assuming there's some reason for this about the way birds see colours? They are also really picky; if you don't get the right amount of sugar in there they don't drink it, and seem to scold you as you walk in the garden!

I have no idea, but since I finally managed to get batteries for my camera I've been sat on the porch (or Stoep, as it's called here) sitting still as anything trying to get photos of some of the regulars here. I am quite pleased with the pictures!

This is a sunbird. From a distance this one looks black, but he actually has a beatiful green/blue/purple back and a red chest, and a huge long curving beak.

This is a yellow weaver. I mentioned weaver birds in my earlier post about Bontebok national park. The males make nests which hang from trees and look like christmas tree decorations. If the females don't like the nest, she destroys it and the male has to make it all over again! The males are a very bright yellow, the females are much darker and not as vibrant.

This is a drongo. He was very hard to photograph! They are all black with a split tail, I think they are beautiful, like quirky crows.

This is a little cape white eye. They are really plentiful in this garden, and they are actually all quite different, Mum and Dave can tell them apart. They say they all have different personalities too!

This is a sunbird and a cape white eye apparently having a water cooler moment :) This is one of the white eyes Mum and Dave know, you can see that he's got a funny shaped beak! He's a regular in the garden.

This is a Dove, they nest in Mum's house, in an arch under the porch (or 'stoep' as they are called here).

the rest of the pics are over on my facebook

Date: 2011-09-05 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sushidog.livejournal.com
Beautiful! The first picture particularly is stunning!

Date: 2011-09-05 04:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
I am so pleased with the photos. I was sat there for well over an hour and took hundreds more!!

Date: 2011-09-05 04:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ant-girl.livejournal.com
Do you get any Superb Starlings?

We saw lots of them in Tanzania. At first we couldn't understand what our guide was calling them, we thought he was saying "Spob Starling" but when we worked it out, we had to agree that they were indeed superb. :-)

Date: 2011-09-05 08:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
oh, he *is* superb!
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Date: 2011-09-06 08:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
I asked, she couldn't remember, but thinks it might have been something from a course they went on. They learned how to make bird tables and bird feeders, and think that maybe coloured sugar water was suggested there, and trying different colours and flavours. Their bottle bird feeders are handmade, teh big one was made by someone else, the small one by StepDave. Mum says there are instructions on the internet? Then you just try different combinations of colours and flavours until you find one the local birds like.

The sunbird likes the water as sugary as possible, he won't come if it's not sweet enough!
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Date: 2011-09-06 08:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
Dave says there are, but not in this area.

I have been linking from facebook, and putting blog link with my photos, but i guess these days people prefer an update of 140 characters or less rather than an essay!

I still write for my sake though so that in 5 years time I can read it and re-live it all again; facebook and twitter can't do that.
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Date: 2011-09-06 08:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
I realised before I came out here that I'd forgotten so much that my LJ had remembered for me that I really ought to update more often!


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