Sitting at my desk this morning, I heard an insistent tweeting right outside the window. A male Cape sparrow was sitting on the now barren branches of the unknown tree* next to our office. The little fella was making quite a racket, so I grabbed my camera and tried to get a few shots.
He posed obligingly:
Before fluttering off to a branch higher up:
Much to our delight, himself and his wife have moved back into the massive nest they built earlier this year under the eaves of our house. They’re such a chatty and chirpy pair!
*I call it the unknown tree, because, when a local pruning service arrived to do some heavy chainsaw work a few years back, the obnoxious man in charge insisted it was a Syringa tree (Melia azedarach), which is an illegal alien in South Africa**. It must therefore be chopped down and its stump eternally poisoned forthwith, he declared.
When I pointed out that the elongated traffic island in our street, and in fact most of the streets in our neighbourhood, were a veritable jungle of Syringa trees and that our tree did not resemble them at all (it did not have the same kinds of leaves, nor was it covered with those pretty pale-mauve flowers in springtime, nor did it have those distinctive clusters of brownish-yellow berries), he told me, blustering and posturing, that I didn’t know what I was talking about, nor did I have his years of experience.
** Just to add to the confusion, according to the Wikipedia, in South Africa this tree is “commonly but erroneously called Syringa, which is in fact the lilac genus”:
“Commonly called Persian Lilac, White Cedar, Chinaberry or Bead Tree, Lunumidella, Ceylon Cedar, Melia azedarach(syn. M. australis, M. japonica, M. sempervivens, M. dubia ), is a deciduous tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae, native to India, southern China and Australia. In South Africa it is commonly but erroneously called Syringa, which is in fact the lilac genus. The genus Melia includes four other species, occurring from southeast Asia to northern Australia. They are all deciduous or semi-evergreen trees.”