4th January: heard a plaintive sound last night and again early this morning, almost like a young wild dog calling whoo whoo in the distance, but have suddenly realized it is the button quail, calling from thick grass cover….
Peering out of the window I spot the young rock hyrax who lives in the rocks below our bedroom……
Chonge our male Jack Russell spots the rock hyrax as well, but restrains himself…
The red wing starlings have two vociferous youngsters in the nest above our bed…
this is heartwarming in that they so obviously trust us, despite the fact that Dzidzi, the Jack Russell, captured and killed one of their fluttering fledglings a year ago! However, I am weary of covering my head with the sheet every time they have visited the nest with offerings of chongololos, grubs and fat beetles for the overfed babies, and every time they fly away with fecal sacs in their beaks. They bring insects to the nest every 4 to 6 minutes early morning and mid afternoon, less frequently at other times. The fallout is copious and messy, falling in showers on the newaper below, and on my mosquito net over my head!…Hurry up and fledge you little blighters….
The adult starlings are cocky birds who patrol the perimeter of our house, perching on window bars to peer upwards and then launch attacks on the poor Mauritian tomb bats which roost beneath our eaves in summer time. They dislodge the unassuming bats, causing them to bullet from their safe roosts into the harsh sunshine.
The male starling received a bit of his own medicine yesterday when he was chased, screaming, by a little rufous raptor, hot on his tail as he desperately dived for the ground in front of my verandah. He escaped by a tail feather, doubling back on himself and hauling upwards impressively from his dive, and leaving the raptor behind. Smart flying.
This close call did not seem to permanently ruffle his feathers…within the hour he was harassing the tomb bats again.
I have watched these starlings acting like ox-peckers by sitting on and preening the Klipspringers on the rocks below our bush house. Have also read reports in Africa Geographic of them being seen doing the same to a female bushbuck in South Africa.
They certainly are characters, seeming to relish chatting with Clive when they perch on the impala horns in his office as he works