The Cape Wagtail thinks it's Spring!

Maree Clarkson

Tarlton, South Africa

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Artist's Description

Pen sketch and wash in Moleskine 200gsm Nature Journal – sketched this in my bathroom garden – Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa
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I have a clear view from my bath into the bathroom court yard, where the Wagtails (CapeWagtail – Motacilla capensis) have been nesting in my Fan Palm for the last 3 seasons. While in the bath this morning, I was watching them through the open doors chasing the Weavers, who steal bits and pieces of the Fan Palm to build their nests with, and the reason soon became clear. Both parents were busily carrying nesting materials and obviously revamping their old nest for this season’s babies. The Fan Palm’s trunk is covered in a thick, coarse type of hairy stuff, and they have neatly hollowed out a space and lined it with lots of soft materials like feathers and woolly bits. Whenever the babies hatch and start to fledge, it’s such a pleasure watching them in the court yard begging for food until they manage to get enough height to clear the wall and follow their parents into the main garden.

These little birds are monogamous, territorial solitary nesters, with pairs staying together over multiple breeding seasons. Egg-laying season is year-round, with 1-5 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 13-15 days.

Artwork Comments

  • Elizabeth Kendall
  • Maree Clarkson
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