The drought has brought about a surprise feature at Towerwater. It comes in the form of birds visiting for a bath. We have watched this phenomena progressing over recent weeks. We first noticed the Sunbirds and Cape White Eyes bathing in the wet leaves of the oak tree at the front door.
|The Fiscal Flycatcher in the wet leaves|
|Fiscal Flycatchers waiting their turn|
We have noticed ever more birds gathering in the oaks when the lawn is being sprinkled. With Fungai in hospital, the responsibility of watering the lawn and fruit trees falls to us.
|A Cape White Eye|
The watering attracts a variety of birds to the lawn area. They frolic in the wet leaves, lie on the wet lawn while showering under the spray of water and wash themselves on wet garden-tables.
|A Bulbul enjoying the spray on the garden table|
|Cape Sparrows enjoying the spray|
Normally they are quite territorial over certain sections of the garden where they prefer to feed. But, while the lawn is being watered, they are quite happy to share this communal space.
|A female Paradise Flycatcher|
|A Laughing Dove in the spray|
I am unsure as to the cause and whether it could be ascribed to the drought. However, we have new additions to our resident collection of wild-bird visitors to the garden. A couple of Paradise Flycatchers and two couples of Amethyst Sunbirds have joined the growing family of Olive Thrushes that now number four. Then there are the Wagtails, the Cape Robin Chats, the Double Collared Sunbirds, the Malachite Sunbirds, the Cape White Eyes, the Fiscal Fly Catchers, the Fiscal Shrikes, the Turtle Doves, the Laughing Doves, Cape Canaries and the Bulbuls.
|A Tutle Dove lying in the spray|
|A Cape White Eye showering|
The wealth of bird-life is enhanced by visiting flocks of Swee Waxbills, Kingfishers, the not-so-welcome Mouse-birds and Cape Weavers.
The bird-life in the garden confirms that we are succeeding in creating a garden where they can find natural food and shelter without us having to artificially feed them. It is a heart-warming compliment to realise that they visit the garden because they want to be there.
|A male Amethyst Sunbird|
|A female Amethyst Sunbird|
Their symphony of birdsong becomes the soundtrack of a visually pleasing space. A garden that is both a haven to us and the birds. Once a week, a variety of birds flock to Towerwater to have a bath. There they shine like wet jewels in an enchanted garden. Even their jewel-like names conjure visions of amethyst and malachite glittering in the dappled sun.