Water Bottle Wars

My back garden is like a war zone at the moment. The horrible drought that has taken a grip on Cape Town has forced more and more wild birds to leave their mountainside habitat and look for water in domestic gardens. Lately I’ve had species of sunbird I don’t normally get to see in my garden coming to feed and the squabbles and antics are fascinating to witness.

Dry and hot weather results in quite a few scraps among the different species.  Most of the time it’s like watching kids in a playground as they fight for a spot at the spout.

Although sometimes different species do  get along and it’s quite a civil affair.

There are more take offs and landings in my garden than at Heathrow at the moment 🙂

And then there are the domestic disputes. Or maybe it was a mating ritual. Either way I photographed their interaction for 10 minutes. In heat of 32 degrees C !!

As for the ubiquitous and gutsy Cape White Eyes, there’s often a tag team to take on the competition – although squabbles amongst themselves are equally common 🙂

Then there are the playground bullies who scare everyone else away.  Male weaver birds are notorious thugs.

And the shy guys.  Cape Bulbuls are regular visitors but are always on high alert while the other species are uber bold by comparison.


Sunbird Magnet

It wasn’t even up for half an hour and the double collared sunbirds found the new sugar water feeder.  They’re always flitting in and out of our garden, but I suspect that after the recent devastating mountain fires, a lot more wild birds are turning to gardens for food.


Later, gregarious little White Eyes, a Cape Bulbul and even a Cape Robin stopped by. The photo quality isn’t great, but for now I am taking pictures through a closed window, afraid of frightening them off.

Dinner at Ollie’s

I never get tired of my friend Ollie Smith’s unusual birdfeeder and the various wild birds he attracts with seed, breadcrumbs, fruit and sugar water.  The Malachite Sunbirds were in abundance again this time, outnumbering the gregarious White Eyes and Weaver birds.


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Malachite Sunbirds

A visit to my friend Ollie Smith’s home in Kommetjie always carries the promise of amazing bird life up close and personal.  This time it was Malachite Sunbirds, which was my first encounter ever with this larger cousin of the Double Collared Sunbirds that frequent our garden often.

At one point there were as many as five bright green and yellow males around the bird-feeder and it was interesting to watch the battle of wills between the sunbirds and the bees for the sugar water.

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Blazing Winter Garden

My winter garden is a blaze of orange at the moment, showcasing strelitzias and aloes, all dripping in nectar for the sunbirds.