Tag Archives: Pin-tailed Whydah

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #97- Pastimes

Thank you, Sue (Mac’s Girl), for hosting the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week. COVID19 gives us more time to stay home and spend more time on our hobbies and pastimes.

I have many passionate hobbies, enough to occupy three times of my lifetime. For this post, I only focus on two activities I’m engaged in daily, which are gardening and enjoying the amazing creatures in my garden.

 

There are four fruit trees and two grape vines in my garden. I have a different story about the plum trees this year. In the winter of 2018-2019, there were seven weeks of rain that soaked the plum trees to produce gorgeous blooms. The warm sun came to keep the clovers strong and pretty to invite the bees. The bees found their way to pollinate the plum blossoms which yielded 1,100 plum. Well, the rain, the clovers, the sun, and the bees didn’t coordinate this year, and I could see about 10% of the plums growing compared to that of last year.

 

I appreciate the year-round flowering of the hibiscus and roses. Their graciousness, loyalty, and steadfast to bloom were the inspiration of my poetry.

 

I started watching and feeding the birds in 2014. My regular visitors are the Mourning Doves, House Finches, and sparrows. The Scrub Jay and Pin-tailed Whydah paid occasional visits. I used to put the bird seeds on several spots of the top of the retaining wall closed to the slope where they searched for food. Unfortunately, the stray cats crept under the bushes, darted upward to snatch the Mourning Doves, then dashed away. It made me so mad. I used the chicken wire to fence off the area, but the cats outsmarted me. My new spot for the bird seeds is now on the patio ground.

 

I would like to have flocks of butterflies, but only a few visited. The Mourning Cloak butterflies came a few times. The Monarch came, but there were only two. I planted the Butterfly bush, but the growth is too slow to attract butterflies. Last week, a Monarch delighted me to visit the Salvia plant. The bees and the hummingbirds love the Salvia plant also. Two days ago, I bought four of the 2-gallon pots Salvia and planted them strategically to feed the hummingbirds and attract bees to pollinate the plum blossoms next year.

3 Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa butterfly

IMG_5891

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #97- Pastimes

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #11: Small Is Beautiful

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Amy chose ”Small Is Beautiful” for the theme.

I have some wonderful small creatures in my garden. They are all beautiful and keep my life cheerful year round.

bug 7

I was surprised by the visit of this beauty. This is Mourning Cloak butterfly by its Common name. The scientific name is Nymphalis antiopa. A very distinctive and charismatic butterfly, best known for its conspicuous activity in late winter, flying and acting territorial before any trees have leafed out or any wildflowers are active.

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Tuesday Photo Challenge: Pin-tailed Whydah.New Bird in My Garden

Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo – New Bird in my Garden

I had a new visitor on June 17, 2018. It was a beautiful bird I hadn’t seen before. I was fascinated by its graceful long tail which is twice as long as its body. The sharp contrast of black and white feather with an orange beak wouldn’t escape anyone’s sight.

It happened I had the patio door open to take photos of the birds feeding. It flew into my garden. I grabbed the camera and tried to be in a hidden position so I wouldn’t scare the birds away. I only had 30 seconds before it flew away.

On the same day, De Wets Wild had a post about the same bird. I almost jumped out of my seat because the information of the bird came so timely. De Wets Wild told me that its tail is beautiful in the air. It was not within my sight when it flew away.

Following my photos, I copied a photo and the information from De Wets Wild’s post. Please visit his wonderful posts about the animals in the wild.

Whyhad bird 1

Whyhad bird 4

The post and one photo from De Wets Wild:

The little Pin-tailed Whydah (12cm long, without the tail, and weighing only about 15g) is most known for the aggressive nature of the breeding males, which carries tails almost double their own body length and have no qualms tackling birds many times their own weight, like doves and pigeons, over a food source or territory!

Pin-tailed Whydahs are brood parasites, meaning that the female lays her eggs (usually 1 or 2 but up to 4 at a time) in the nests of other birds, mostly small seed-eaters like waxbills, for them to raise the chicks, often after removing some or all of the host birds’ eggs. A single Pin-tailed Whydah female may lay up to 25 eggs in a season. Their breeding season stretches from spring to autumn. Males are polygamous and highly territorial. The chicks hatch after about 11 days of incubation and leave the nest at about 3 weeks old, staying with their host family for about another week before joining a Whydah group.

Their habitat ranges from savanna, grassland, reedbeds, and scrublands to suburban parks, orchards and gardens. They feed mostly on seeds and termites. In South Africa, they occur in all our provinces, though they’re rather sparsely distributed in the arid Northern Cape, while outside of our borders Pin-tailed Whydahs occur over most of the continent south of the SaharaThe IUCN considers the Pin-tailed Whydah to be of least concern.