Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Ain't she sweet?

Just a quick update since the last depressing post – I am back at Blue Hill! Yay, have been for nearly 2 weeks, but a baboon, ate our internet cable again. Then I lost our 3g modem which is the key to getting us internet beamed from a hill to our house, and the new one is giving hassles. So this post is brought to you from the top of our hill – its a bit windy, the rock I'm sitting on is uncomfortable, but otherwise a nice office environment.

I thought I'd post these photos I took in my last days in Cape Town, where I visited a keep guardian of Elsie's Peak sugarbirds. Renee feeds these guys every day and they are very habituated to her. She also keeps a log book of all the tagged and ringed birds she sees. This has been very helpful – especially since it appears the local population is suffering severely from Avian Pox – see the swollen feet of some of the birds lower down. One poor chap could not even stand on his one foot.

Note the pollen load on this guy (or girl)

Colour banded bird on top

Tarsal thickening - we're attributing to Avian Pox

This poor bird's foot is so sore he can't stand on it - I only realised this looking through the shoot later and he was balanced on one foot for all 15 odd photos.
Her secret recipe is: 

6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons golden syrup
quarter teaspoon Bovril
½ teaspoon multi-vitamin syrup for birds
4 drops red food colouring (optional)
1.5 litres hot water

Sounds so tasty I want to drink it too. And all feeders get cleaned thoroughly every day, and once a week with Jik (disinfectant). Bird feeders of course can be a source of infection for birds.

Otherwise, we've had some volunteers helping open a new section of hiking trail at Blue Hill  – its taken 2 weeks to do 1.5km!

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