Spot a flash of red
Tiny pretty feathered thing
Rustling in the bush
Every morning I do my heavy chores then reward myself with a cappuccino, sitting quietly outside in the garden, armed only with my trusty Canon camera.
I listen to the many different birds chirping and calling to each other in the surrounding trees. I can identify them by their particular song, so I knew the Sunbirds were back again, long before I caught a glimpse of one.
However, the other day as I sat there quietly sipping my coffee, enjoying the cool air, wispy streaks of clouds in a blue sky and the sun beginning to warm up the day, I saw a little bird fly to the honeysuckle and rustle around in the branches. It looked as though he was trying to gather some sticks or grasses for nest building.
Grabbing my camera I took a few shots. I could clearly see the branches moving, but could not get a clear view of the bird. It looked more like a little Mossie (Cape Sparrow) than a Sunbird, or perhaps a Cape White Eye.
Then a bird flew to the lavender and obligingly sat there for a moment, while I quickly took a photo. It’s amazing how light birds are, as this one was resting on the merest stalk of lavender.
This bird was similar to the one I’d just seen, but did not have the black head. Now I could see that the beak was short, thick and triangular; typical of finches. I had once spotted a Common Waxbill by my pool a long time ago, so wondered if it was this again.
Then the bird flew off to a solar lamp, where she paused for a second. I snapped an action shot as she took off again, and you can see her lovely red colouring.
Afterwards, on enlarging my photos of the tiny birds, I identified them from my book, Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa. They were a pair of male and female Swee Waxbills. Click on the link for excellent photos. The male has the distinctive black face while the female is greyer, but both have the red back and triangular bill.
What a treat! I have never seen them anywhere before.
It just goes to show, that if you sit quietly and patiently, eventually you’ll spot a new (to you) species of bird, even in your own back garden.
post script: I apologise for the blurred photos. The birds were tiny and far away from me. It’s the best that my little camera and I could do!
And as I have discovered before, the best advice Google can give me for sharpening up a blurred image, is to take another photo – in focus!!