The Dawn (chorus) Is Nigh

Barry Porter was (quite rightly) immensely proud of the birdlife on their Hella Hella farm on the Umkomaas River in KZN. We would lie in bed or sit on their stoep many weekend mornings over the years and listen to “his” dawn chorus.

On a rare visit, he and Lynne stayed with us at 7 River Drive Westville and at breakfast he said in awe: This is the first place I’ve been where the dawn chorus rivals Hella Hella! I knew that, but I’d been diplomatic all those years! We recorded 121 bird species in River Drive, and found evidence of breeding in 20 of them (nests, eggs, chicks or fledglings).

Now, 10 Elston Place was a horse of a completely different kettle of tea (and that phrase was a FreeState Reed-ism) when we got here seven years ago. There was one native strelitzia – the rest of the weeds were foreign nursery plants. The main trees were an avocado, a flamboyant, a loquat and a row of Aussie camelfoots. Aitch soon changed that and this morning I woke up to hear an AMAZING dawn chorus!! Shades of River Drive.

Black-bellied starlings, dark-backed weavers, brown-hooded kingfisher, olive sunbirds, bulbuls, white-eyes, touracos, white-eared barbets, drongos, prinias, both mannikins, puffback, boubou, francolin, ‘our’ robin, sombre and belly-aching greenbuls, GT woodpecker and all their cousins were singing, shouting and laughing at 10 Elston Place.

What a joy!


Terry Brauer commented:

That is awesome Pete! Summer is on the way and I will bet Aitch is part of that chorus!!

Mike Lello warbled:

You mean to say the tenor clarinet – he who never pays attention to the conductor and plays with great volume and gusto – was absent? I have 4 curved-beaked unemployed youngsters on my roof desperate for an audition. Ha Ha (Hadeda!)

Steve Reed chirped:
Ibises, Mike, I’m guessing?  Maybe not. Breeding well in Queensland.They have a strong presence at any sidewalk cafe anywhere in Brisbane. Especially where French fries are on the menu.
I replied:
Yep. I’m sure Mike was mentioning the dreaded Westville Pterodactyl – the HaDeDa, Bostrychia hagedash (I always thought the species name was hadeda, but I looked it up now).
Dave Hill once rose from a hungover sleep and shot one on his Mid-Illovo farmhouse roof. I spose for playing the clarinet unasked.
Westville's Pterodactyls lurk, waiting to pounce! Lurking pterodactyls

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