November sounds at Frog & Fern are dominated by a constant wind and lively trilling of a pair of Paradise Flycatchers nesting metres from the kitchen door. Our flycatchers arrived on September 29th. We watched them choose their nest site, the little female inviting her male to sit upon the forking twig under a tiny roof of fig leaves. He seemed to like it. She set about building while he chased away curious onlookers and the pair of Orioles whose chick ventured too close. It took her about ten days to build, carefully placing the finishing touches of lichen on the outside and snuggling down, wiggling about to be sure it was all just right. They take turns sitting and the changeover is often marked with a trilling song from the incoming bird.
I worry for the little things since the air was still on the day they chose their nesting branch. As she neared completion of the tiny, perfect cup a fierce dry storm with gusting winds hurtled through Chimanimani. Whilst she was away their new nest was tossed about and often turned almost completely upside down. If these windy conditions arrive after laying, any eggs or chicks could well be flicked out. But one thing is for sure the crow that stole their chicks last year will never stand on this branch…. flimsy and pliant as it is. So perhaps, weather permitting, they will succeed this year.
So, off to the other side of our garden and the wonderful sound of busy bees. One particular Acacia Sieberana is this year truly laden. It is a veritable banquet of creamy balls, fragrant with nectar.
Keeping the bird baths full really pays off at this time of year. Our Miombo Rock Thrushes, endless sunbirds, Miombo Tits and a host of bird parties containing all sorts of gorgeous busy birds queue up for a dip and a long refreshing drink.
And while we enjoy our birds, our trees and long walks over the hill we watch with concern as crazy people light fires in every direction. Our National Parks Area Manager took every precaution to protect the Eland Sanctuary this year….she has done a brilliant job but if this little Park does not burn she deserves a medal. The destruction caused this year is unmatched in my time of living in Chimanimani.
We wait for the healing powers of rain….