Spring has certainly livened up the dawn chorus. It’s a right proper racket but it never fails to brighten my day if I wake up early enough to catch it. As more shrikes and cuckoos start to frequent the garden, their wonderful whistles and calls have kept me busy dashing about the garden with my binocs trying to match the sound to the bird. One bird in particular kept me on the hop. I could not identify its call and it would shut up as soon as it saw me leave the house with my binoculars in search of it. Eventually I heard the call near the house and spotted a yellow blur at the top of a nearby tree. I ran indoors to get my binocs, instructing Thandi not to let the bird out of her sight. When I got back the bird was still there but had changed its call to one that I recognised, that of a bokmakierie. I really felt like I had been played by the little bugger and imagined it laughing up its sleeve (or its feathers) at me.
Recently we were thrilled to see one of the spurfowl in the garden with 5 chicks in tow. Sadly the numbers have slowly dwindled until, for the past week or so, we’ve only seen 1 chick. The mother keeps a beady eye on her one and only as it scratches in the undergrowth for the extra sorghum seeds that we have been scattering for it.
Not long after Milo died, a very small bat flew into our house. I know it is ridiculous but I had the fleeting notion that it was Milo’s spirit returning home and fleeting was all it was, really. The bat disappeared into our rafters and I forgot about it. A few days later Peter found it hanging on a curtain. Now Peter has a bit of a phobia of bats because when he was a child growing up in Zambia he slept in an enclosed veranda and was plagued by bats coming in through the letterbox at night. I’m not that partial to them myself but it was up to me to rescue the critter. As I removed it from the curtain it squealed rather disconcertingly but offered no resistance. I put it on a table outside where it proceeded to lie inert for about 24 hours. Eventually I relented and brought it back indoors. Using a syringe, I fed it some water and later some sugar water. It had such a tiny mouth and it was fascinating to see the minute tongue coming out to lick the liquid (it brought out all my maternal feelings). I decided to take it to Free Me, a wonderful animal rehabilitation centre in Howick, and by the time I got there it was already starting to revive. I learnt from Free Me that my tiny little bat was, in fact, a fully grown serotine bat and that it stood a very good chance of recovering. Needless to say, I am now very fond of bats.
I spotted this ginormous frog in our pond yesterday. I’m not sure if it is a very large common river frog or an African bullfrog. Either way the platties had better watch out.
Not satisfied with an abundance of chameleons in the garden, I’ve brought them into the kitchen as well. I bought this gorgeous fabric from Caversham Textiles when they exhibited at the Hilton Arts Festival in September. Their “handcrafted fabrics and textile products are inspired by the work of contemporary South African artists” and they really are stunning. “Bringing fine art to fabric” is how they describe it.
I think the chameleons go well with the shweshwe material which I got from Deluxe Fabrics in Pietermaritzburg (they stock a very extensive range of good quality 3 Cats Shweshwe).
We now have a resident owl in the allotment, albeit a plastic one. So far, he seems to be doing a fairly good job of deterring rat bandits from plundering the veg seedlings.
Layla has taken to sleeping in Milo’s spot in the bedroom and keeping us company when we retire for the night. Once we go to sleep she moves onto her bed, which is in our built-in closet in the passage.