This may not really feel like the changing of anything, more like February back again, but there are signs of shifts in the air. One was a nice sighting of Grey Waxbills, the quietly unobtrusive seedeaters, at the intersection of the main track at the top with the start of the southern contour path. More sunbirds are around than a few weeks back, and on a couple of mornings the Pygmy Kingfisher has silently reappeared on its perch above its favoured bird bath, taking an occasional quick plunge.
In my garden a fairly high proportion of the world's population of Celtis Mildbraedii are arising from seed. I was at a meeting yesterday at DUT, where we discussed the establishment of an Environment Committee, and I spoke of the possibility of a group working on planting of endemic trees and shrubs. It would be great if one of my seedlings became rooted there - though I have learnt that it needs to be planted in a shaded area; the one in our garden has excelled in speed of growth, I think because of the shade around it, combined with an unusual degree of horticultural neglect.
As for the tree pollinators, we did a marvellous job the one afternoon, clambering up ladders, and placing stamens on stigmas. I have now been anxiously checking on progress, aided by the fact that we tagged the branches involved. I can now report that the tree we did most work on is showing a considerable amount of fruit. I can also report that almost none of it is on the branches we tagged, and my suspicion is that most of them were done by me before we started tagging. If this gloomy assessment is correct, it means that the second flowering that we encountered was no good, and that we should have done the work in December. Onwards to scientific certainty!
I am happy to report that we can now offer you a choice of our range of Friends of Pigeon Valley t-shirts:
The colours are grey and black, small, medium and large (if not sure of your size go for the bigger one, as generally they are on the smaller size). The t-shirts also proclaim our link to WESSA.
I will be away for two weeks, telling the people of England how not to be violent. A sort of nonviolent missionary. However, do not forget the monthly walk on 9th April, starting at Pigeon Valley at 07:30. My brother will be there with t-shirts for those wishing to part with R160 and thus to contribute to our much-needed funds.
Crispin Hemson (emails to firstname.lastname@example.org)