A surprise visit from a Cape Robin

As I told Kathy earlier today, a Cape Robin (or Cossypha caffra) suddenly appeared in our garden this afternoon.

I’d just hauled off another bag of weeds to the rubbish bin, and was about to kneel down in the flower beds to pull out more weeds, when I sensed a flutter of wings among the new flowers I haven’t gotten around to planting yet (because I have to pull out a lot of weeds first :-)).

New flowers

Although we’ve seen a fair amount of birdlife in our garden, I had never seen a Cape Robin here before. I stood dead-still, watching it, as it hopped along the row of stones, occasionally pecking at something. Why, oh why, had I left my camera on the kitchen counter?!

Do you know that this cute little bird is also called ‘Jan Frederik’ in Afrikaans?

“The Cape Robin-Chat has a harsh, low 3 syllabled alarm note WA-dredra. The Afrikaans name ‘JAN Frederik’ is a useful rendition if the syllables of the latter part run close together. The song consists of variable short passages of notes, always starts with low slurred whistle cherooo-weet-weet-weeeet.” (Wikipedia)

Doesn’t it have a beautiful colour?

I retreated slowly backwards, towards the kitchen, while it hopped lightly back and forth between the flowers and the lawn, either oblivious of my presence, or surprisingly unfazed. Then, camera in hand, I inched forwards oh-so-slowly, trying to get a clear shot and imploring it telepathically to stay, please stay, please don’t fly away!

It fluttered up onto the little bird bath, which I’d foolishly forgotten to fill up with water again after a flock of sparrows had sprayed and showered it all away earlier today.

The robin perched on the edge, dipped its head to peer at the dry bird bath, and then turned around to give me a look, which clearly said, “It’s empty. How am I supposed to have a bath without water?”

“I’m sorry, robin, I’ll fill it up for you,” I apologised.

“OK,” it replied. “I may be back tomorrow, or the day after, or next week. You just make sure there’s always fresh water in the bird baths, okay?”

Cape Robin balancing on the rim of the bird bath

And then, sadly, it flew away. I do hope it’ll come back soon!

4 thoughts on “A surprise visit from a Cape Robin

  1. What a cute birdie! I hope he becomes a regular visitor in your garden. Maybe you can tempt him back with snacks as well as a full birdbath? When I was little my gran had a natal robin who used to visit daily for little blocks of cheese!

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