Friends in my Yard (Part One)
January 17, 2017
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Home sweet home isn’t just an expression for me. It’s reality. I happen to live in a very serene area. The air is fresh, surroundings devoid of noise and we wake up to the sound of birds every day. Actually, we hear birds all day long. How cool is that!

Cape Robin-chat

I love this bird for its lively orange and black markings, as well as its charming calls. It’s called a ‘chat’ because it has no specific call, so it sounds like it’s talking/ chatting. It sings at quite a high volume. Though I have noted at times it reduces the volume when a human is close by. This makes it seem like the bird is far away. Could this be a defence mechanism?

Cape Robin-chat.
Cape Robin-chat.

Olive thrush

A greyish bird with grey breast, orange beak, belly and feet, this is quite an interesting bird to watch. When it is on the ground, an Olive thrush hops. I could describe it as a bully when it comes to feeding. It chases away other birds from sources of food (e.g food scraps), no matter how much the food is! Somebody should tell Olive thrushes that sharing is caring.

Olive thrush.

Variable sunbird

“Chu-wii, chu-wii” high pitched sounds will alert you that this bird is around. The male is very colourful: blue-green iridescent head, black back, purple neck and yellow belly. Females are drab: grey head and back, yellow belly. I love watching them feeding on insects caught in webs around our house. They also love nectar.

Female Variable sunbird on wall.
Looking for insects on the wall…female Variable sunbird.
Female variable sunbird on wall.
Any insects here?
Female variable sunbird.
Hey there.

Baglafecht weaver

Who said noisemakers can’t be hardworking as well? To me these are some of the most vocal birds, but their skills and industry in nest-making is unmatchable. They are social birds- several weavers build their nests on one tree. Males have a black strip around the eyes while females’ heads are black at the crown. It’s common to see them foraging for food in pairs. Their complex calls are fascinating.

Why so serious?
Male weaver mug shot.
Baglafecht weaver couple looking at their reflection.
The female (front) was fighting her ‘rival’ whom she thought was trying to steal her ‘man’. Little did she know it was a reflection on the tea flask! ?

White-browed sparrow-weaver

Who comes up with these names? is it a sparrow or a weaver? Anyway, haven’t seen these around much but as always any bird is fun to observe.

White-browed sparrow-weaver in grass.
Do you mind?

Rufous sparrow

Their high-pitched calls are attractive (I could say that about every bird!) and very distinct. Rufous sparrows usually forage in pairs but sometimes move around in large groups. They are brown with some black markings on the back. Males have a black ‘bib’ at the neck.

Female Rufous sparrow bathing.
Bath time!
Male rufous sparrow feeding.
This ugali is sooo tasty!

Red-billed firefinch

Some of the smallest birds I’ve seen in my life! Their size amplifies their cuteness. I usually wonder how tiny the hatchlings are, given that adults are already so minute? They’re not common visitors in my yard, but when they do appear it’s such a delight to watch them. Red-billed firefinches move on the ground by hopping. Males are red while females are grey with white speckles.

Male Red-billed firefinch.
Look at that cuteness.
Female Red-billed firefinch.
Female Red-billed firefinch.

Red-eyed dove

Doves are known as a symbol of peace and gentleness. Thus it disturbs me when I find them looking for food in trash heaps. I mean, trash is inappropriate for a bird of such stature. Their wings are noisy during flight so it’s hard to miss them. When they walk on the ground, their heads bob back and forth with each step. I have observed them making a deep “coo-coo-ooo” call when one is approaching another in the trees.

Ring-necked dove walking.
This is how I walk away from drama in life- gracefully.

White-eyed slaty flycatcher

This is the silent one. It’s rare to hear them make any sounds at all! They just sit there on a perch and watch. Looking around for insects. When they see bugs, they swoop down and eat them then go back to the perch. This behaviour is known as sallying. Juveniles (young ones) have white speckles on their heads and backs. Slaty flycatchers are friendly, they allow a close approach. One time, they flew up to my window sill while I was standing at the window!

White eyed slaty flycatcher perching.
Feeling pretty.
Juvenile White-eyed slaty flycatcher.
How sweet is this juvenile?

Hope I’ve got you hooked for Part 2? Be sure to stick around to learn what my favourite birds are. ? Stay tuned it’s dropping soon!

Thanks for reading.

White-eyed slaty flycatcher.
Posing like a boss.

About author

Michelle Ajema

Michelle Ajema is an artlover who is deeply fascinated by the exciting world of DSLR photography. She loves shooting nature, and can often be found stalking monkeys and birds in her backyard.

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