W&N Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm
These White-browed Sparrow Weavers (Plocepasser mahali) used to be regular visitors to my old garden here in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa and, sad to say, I’ve not spotted them at all since moving to our new smallholding many years ago. My last sighting was in May 1996. I see their environmental status is listed as LC “Least Concern”, so I cannot understand the reason at all as to why I have not noticed them lately. They have a general, harsh ’chik’chik’ call when they’re flocking, as well as a loud, liquid ‘cheeoop-preeoo-chop’ whistle, which I really miss…
The White-browed Sparrow-Weaver is found in greatest numbers in north-central southern Africa. While this species most densely populates at dry regions with woodland or wooded grassland in northern South Africa, its range includes Botswana, the North-west Province and Western Gauteng, northern and central Namibia, and western Zimbabwe. It is seen very often in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia and southern Malawi. Populations may be found as far north as Ethiopia.
A bird came down the walk,
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.
And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.
by Emily Dickinson