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Berries and Bou Bou's

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It was late afternoon and we had just returned from a trail, and after reuniting with the dogs, it was time to check the progress of the clivia’s for the past 6 days. Before leaving a few of the berries were getting a tint of colour over the green. Heading straight to the patch that had started turning all that was in evidence were a few berries and plenty bare stalks. I could not believe my eyes. Pulling out the brightest torch I went to re-inspect, hoping that the brighter light would be a magicians wand and replace the missing berries. But no, still the stalks were bare. Still in disbelief, contemplated the culprit; the resident troop of monkeys? A flock of Knysna Turaco’s – they often line up to drink from the water trough close by but I had never seen them venture into this stand of bushes. Stepping back a gleaming hint of blotched red and yellow coloured the ground. One of the missing berries. Now I was on the scent, another one, an empty skin and even some ‘cleaned’ seeds scattered around. Picking up the intact berries, all had distinct ‘V’ shaped impressions on them. This was the first clue to the culprit. But it was in the light of day the next morning that the villain showed his true colours, the shy and reclusive Southern Bou Bou, with a Rufus flash, flitted deeper into the undergrowth as I approached leaving behind another plucked berry. With the measurements of the beak impressions and the visual, I had to conclude that the Bou Bou was raiding my berry patch. So, my dilemma – how to ensure that my passion for birding and clivia’s can share the same space. At least I know that I will be able to show guests a Southern Bou Bou when the Clivia’s berries start to ripen.

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I had to look up Soutern Bou Bou, capegardener. What attractive birds they are! Do you take any measures to protect the berries or are you prepared to share them?

23 Jun, 2011

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