It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to sit comfortably at my computer and edit wildlife photos, so I’m easing back into things with an update of some of the everyday (but still special!) wildlife in my own garden here in Cape Town.
Today I’d like to show you the power of water for attracting and photographing wildlife. Giving garden birds a supply of fresh water for drinking and bathing is obviously very important during the hot dry summer months, but keeping the bird bath full year-round helps attract a wide variety of birds to my garden:
The local meeting place: laughing doves, a common starling and a Cape sparrow enjoying a drink and a bathe together.
Photo op! Olive thrushes, like most birds (except doves) have to raise their heads to swallow water, so it’s the perfect moment to snap a photo.
And sometimes things get slightly ridiculous – this hadeda ibis is a) not a garden bird and b) far too large to bathe in my birdbath… but he didn’t care!
I also have a nectar (sugar water) feeder to attract sunbirds – the African equivalent of hummingbirds, and just as pretty.
The female southern double-collared sunbird has brown plumage, but she’s still tiny, fast, and gorgeous!
The male looks very similar to a male hummingbird, in stunning jewel tones.
But it’s not just sunbirds who appreciate the nectar (and fight over it)…
Cape weaver enjoying a sweet treat.
Male sunbird (left) and Cape white-eye (right) having a shouting contest.
Southern masked weaver has a drink while Cape bulbul demands his turn.
And water doesn’t just attract birds to the garden – by happy accident, I discovered a few weeks ago that if you put a wet branch or leaf in front of a Cape Dwarf Chameleon, it’ll lick the water off it:
So now, every time I find a chameleon, I offer him a drop of water on a leaf…
Ooh, a wet leaf…
So much fun! (And much easier than trying to catch grasshoppers to feed to them…)
I had another happy discovery this weekend. I’m trying to make a wildlife area at the bottom of the garden, but my new indigenous plants need some extra water to help them get settled in, so I turned on the sprinkler and sat outside for a while….
Just sprinkling the garden…
Almost immediately, over a dozen Cape White-Eyes flew in and started hopping from branch to branch under the spray of the sprinkler, fluffing up their feathers, preening, shaking, and enjoying a good shower:
Luckily I have a good zoom on my new camera, as white-eyes are tiny and these were down at the very bottom of the garden, but I managed to get a little video for you to enjoy:
For the best experience, play the video at Full 1080p HD quality and fullscreen it.
Aren’t they sweet?
I hope you enjoyed another glimpse into my local wildlife – I’ll have more to share with you once I’ve had a chance to go through the past few months of photos.
And if you’d like to encourage more wildlife into your own garden, I suggest adding a bird bath, a pond, or a water feature – it really works!