Friday, 14 October 2016

Starling Surprise!

At this time of the year our garden is inundated with European Starlings (Sturnus Vulgaris). Noisy and gregarious, and eating everything from grasshoppers to fruit to dog pellets, they arrive in a cloud, breed like crazy and then one day, they are gone!

Until next year!

An adult bird in breeding plumage.

Now, we love birds, every kind, it doesn't matter if they are scavengers or exotic feathered beauties. We feed them all. We have four bird baths in the garden and one outside (mainly for the passing canines), and we go through kilos of bird feed and apples and litres of sugar water for the nectar feeders. We have wrestled learner-flyers from the jaws of furious felines, and for a few years running we were unable to relax on our veranda because the malachite sunbirds decided to build their nest and raise their young in a small tree in a barrel for two years and a hanging ornament for one year!

The completed nest on the veranda.

We have erected logs for the barbets and have discovered several nests hidden in our shrubs and trees. We have watched the weavers strip our Dietes Grandiflora leaves and then fly off with bits trailing in their beaks to build in the thorn trees in a neighbour's garden!

They have long strappy leaves that the weavers love!

So, as you see, we love the bird life that frequents our garden. We have recorded over thirty different species to visit our garden over the years since we have been here.

A male weaver in the bird bath in my re-constructed corner!

Friday, 7 October 2016

Life's Great Mysteries!

There are lots of things in life that will always remain a mystery to me.

Things that cannot be easily explained.
Where do teaspoons, socks and clothes peg go?
Why does your nose itch when your hands are wet?
Why does the phone ring the minute you walk out of the room?
Why do photos always make me look mentally challenged?
Why do cats insist on lying on a magazine when you are trying to read it?

And this one:

I was chatting to Emma, our neighbour, over the wall a couple of afternoons ago. Now, this is a common occurrence, we chat over the wall at least five times a day. It is our special 'climb-over-place' and has been specially cleared and 'klippied' on her side for easy access. Our side is right next to the bird and bokkie feeding stone and there are no plants there. We set it up when we moved in, nine years ago and is probably the busiest area in the garden. It is the place where she hands plants over to me and I pass muffins over to her. Feet have passed by that area at least 6 times a day. Multiply that by 365 and then by 9 and it works out to a fair number of times. (19710 to be precise! Plus the Leap years that I didn't add but Rob wanted me to!) Nothing could possible hide there.

The well-used climb-over place!


Then Emma looked down on our side of the wall and said 'What's that?'

Still in pristine condition!

'That' was this little toy fireman, kneeling in readiness to put out a fire that will never happen!

Now, here is the real mystery....... Where did he come from?
He wasn't buried under soil or bird seed or even bird poop!
He was lying on top of the ground. He wasn't dirty or muddy.
And he definitely wasn't there the day before!

We have no friends with small children. Our friends are old and have no children left at home!

Alfie is too old to play with toy firemen and the cats think it is far beneath them.
It is too light to have been thrown from the gate or dropped from a microlight.

We are baffled.

The only explanation that I can come up with is that it was dropped by a bird. We have a lot of starlings nesting at the moment. The toy is brightly coloured and may have been a gift from an errant male to his flustered partner who was looking after the entire family while he was off preening and chatting up the single females.

Maybe he couldn't find chocolates!

Does anybody have any other explanation? Please share them with me.

I would love to read them!