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Olosiva Oasis – It’s a Skulker’s Reserve – soon to be Tanzania’s smallest IBA

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Olosiva Oasis – My Life in the Peri-Urban Afro Birders’ Garden. The latest news from this strictest of strict Nature Reserves at the beginning of May 2015

What with all the torrential rain – think surging equatorial highland luxuriance –  there’s not much bare ground remaining, and I simply don’t have the time, or energy, to root about nor pretend to wallow (as a middle-aged Bush Pig or Wild Boar might ) to create those essential openings so necessary for the ground feeding birds. Birds such as these two delightful Red-billed Firefinches pictured here, allopreening outside my study window.

However all this rioting chlorophyll, xylem and phloem leaping towards a waxing moon, means that some unusual post-breeding avian wanderers have been dropping-in to shelter with us in this Ornithological Oasis. International Worker’s Day saw the spectacularly named Grey-Olive Greenbul added to the garden list and they are still here.

In the past week I’ve also heard the mellow “OObs” of Spotted Eagle-Owl in the early, early hours, whilst an Olive Sunbird nattered here for a full eight days and this past week-end a moulting adult Jacobin Cuckoo (Black-and-White) was watched from the half-moon window, slowly attempting to dry off, high in a Grevillea, as we ate breakfast on Saturday and Sunday both.

The Ruppel’s Robin-chats have young despite the depradations of the feral cats who lynched a baby squirrel, who’d fallen from our roof space, on Saturday lunchtime. And their chief acoustic adversaries, the Spotted Morning-Thrushes, sing so loudly in the window that it actually makes your ears ring! Two pairs of ‘Baggies’ (that’s reichenowi Baglafecht Weavers) act as if they’d like to nest in the kitchen to save any commuting. I think we now have five pairs in total in the garden, such that they are almost becoming semi-colonial. Common Waxbills appeared today, for the first time this year, outside this window, it must be seriously damp.

Toward the end of April two Tambourine Doves were seen, and on consecutive days, the female stayed for nearly a week. Only two previous records in eight years, both of immatures in May-June.

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