11.2.17

The Joy of Garden Birdwatching




Caw!

Welcome back to Where the birds at.

When it comes to the activity of bird-watching in the garden, my opinion is that birding in the common garden should not be underestimated - as personally I have encountered quite a surprising diversity of birdlife in my own garden since moving into a new house with a list that includes seed-eaters, nectar feeders and insect-eaters. Even now I am still surprised with some of the birds that I have never seen in the garden before or the birds that have notably been absent from the garden for a certain amount of time.

Some of my most memorable garden sightings include most notably a quite recent and surprising encounter (only yesterday) with the discovery of a quite nonchalant
Spotted Thick-knee in the front garden. I had known that there was in fact a breeding pair to be found in the neighbour's garden (having heard their night calls and also seeing chicks with their parents) but I had never expected one to be in the garden - but there it was (and smaller than I expected) with its bright yellow legs and eyes and beautiful dark brown and buff-spotted plumage which made it look quite striking.

The addition of a birdbath along with a nectar-feeder and feeding table could also prove quite beneficial by attracting more birds to your garden. I have personally used these items and they quite effective in attracting quite a few birds and if the feeding stations are quite close to a window it could provide the birder with hours of bird viewing as the birds gather round the feeding stations.

For example recently through the implementation of an old bonsai pot and a cup of garden bird seed placed near my window - I have had great joy at viewing a variety of small birds at close range accompanied by their calls - which included Cape and House Sparrows and Laughing Doves.

And that's not all - the following list contains all the birds encountered in the garden (some were spotted passing overhead).
  1. Cape Canary  
  2. Fork-tailed Drongo
  3. Karoo Prinia
  4. Cape Robin-Chat
  5. Cape Sugarbird
  6. Southern Double-Collared Sunbird
  7. Olive Thrush
  8. Cape Wagtail
  9. Cape White-eye
  10. Hadeda Ibis
  11. Malachite Sunbird
  12. Common Waxbill
  13. Red-winged Starling
  14. Cape Bulbul
  15. Fiscal Flycatcher
  16. Southern Fiscal
  17. Speckled Mousebird
  18. Red-eyed Dove
  19. Speckled Pigeon
  20. Cape Weaver
  21. Klaas's Cuckoo
  22. Greater Striped Swallow
  23. Black Saw-wing
  24. House Sparrow
  25. Cape Sparrow
  26. Laughing Dove - quite a beautiful bird in my opinion
  27. Southern Grey-headed Sparrow
  28. Spotted Thick-knee
  29. Bar-throated Apalis
  30. Cape Batis (a recent visitor to the garden) - I was quite ecstatic when I recognized the orange plumage and distinct black chest band of a male Cape Batis from between the thick leavy tree canopy in the garden.
Hopefully, this list will continue to expand to include more bird species that will call this garden home.

It must also be noted that a majority of the people who become twitchers or expert birders or bird-watchers started off bird-watching in their own gardens and garden birding allows a potential birder or bird-watcher to become familiar with the bird species commonly encountered in everyday life.

What I especially love about birding in the garden especially lies in its simplicity. Instead of travelling far distances just to go bird-watching - you can instead just sit on your porch in the sun on a particularly sunny day with just a pair of binoculars and you find yourself spending hours outside just watching the birds' activities and feeling wonderment at these creatures' ability to wing about , their graceful movements, the different songs of the different species and watching a bird at a close range just a few metres away. And especially the feeling of being a part of these birds' world and feeling close with nature.

Thank you for reading this overdue entry.