Tag Archives: birds

Silhouetted

White Eye

I was sitting outside on the stoep enjoying the cool evening air as the sun set. Often if you stay very still then after a while birds will join you.

Sure enough, a few Cape White Eye flew to the grape vines overhead on the stoep and twittered as they flittered about, eating the ripening grapes.

They are tiny and very hard to capture as they dart swiftly around. Also my little Canon does not do well in low light.

Finally, one stopped for a moment on a branch, silhouetted against the dimming sky.

Gotcha!

 

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Gottle O’ Geer!

Olive Thrush

What have you got there, Buddy?

Oh sorry! I guess you can’t speak with your mouth full!

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This cheeky Olive Thrush is a very regular visitor to my garden. He chases the lovely Cape Bulbuls away from Little Monkey’s water bowls, which they use as bird baths. Seen here, he has just raided the bush for golden berries and has one in his mouth. Yum!

post script: “Gottle o’ Geer” is what you say for “Bottle of Beer” when you are not a ventriloquist! It is very hard to say ‘B’ without moving your lips.

 

Robin Redbreast

Cape Robin – photo credit M

This little guy might not be quite what you were expecting from the title. Maybe you are more familiar with the tiny European Robin, frequently depicted on Christmas cards?

Well, this is a Robin, albeit a Cape Robin. He does all the usual Robin activities, such as flying straight down to investigate any patch of earth you have just dug over in your garden and singing a lovely tuneful song.

Here you see him sitting on a branch of my giant Eugenia tree above a hanging basket (the purple handle.) He’s a frequent visitor to my garden and I much prefer him to the pushy Olive Thrush. Somehow the Robin just seems more sophisticated and has more manners!

 

What Came First?

Chickens 1

The Chicken or the Bark?

The other day I was sitting outside with a friend, having morning coffee at a lovely place in Cape Town, when these smart chickens appeared and approached our table.

I’ve never seen this type of colouring before on a hen and thought it quite striking. The pattern also matched the tree they were scratching around.

Chickens 2

So what am I talking about? What came first, the chicken or the bark?

In real life the bark from the tree and the pattern on the chickens looked very similar. (We humans are really good at spotting patterns after all.)

However, in practice, when I put photos of each side by side, the similarity wasn’t so good. This was partly because the stripes on the tree are large and far apart compared to the closer ones on the chickens. Adjusting the photos to match took ages, but I still didn’t achieve the effect I was looking for. (see the post script)

Chicken or Bark?

So, I was going to say: Take a look at these two photos. Can you tell which one is the chicken and which is the bark of the tree?

But since it is obvious which is which, I’ll just leave it there!

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post script: Thank you to DD who noticed this similarity in the first place. Sometimes I have an idea for a post, which takes a lot more time and effort to achieve than I anticipated. For example, it was quite simple to edit my first two chicken photos for inserting in this post, but oh my goodness, it took me hours to edit the tree and chicken close ups for comparison. Firstly, I had to zoom in and try to find patterns on both subjects which roughly matched. On one shot I had to sharpen the image; on the other blur it. I had to make them both greyscale, because the colours were slightly different.

Finally, I wanted to put the two photos side by side in the same frame, but had no idea how to do this in PowerPaint, the photo-editor I use. But, I figured it out! This is another positive aspect of blogging; I learn many new computer skills.

Though I’m not happy with the final result, there comes a point when I have to stop. I have other things to do after all and spending any longer on this post will not make it any more popular. In fact, due to the nature of the subject, I don’t have high expectations at all.

Still, blogging for me is all about having fun. Hopefully you do too as you read along.

 

Tolerance!

You Lookin’ at Me?

Talk about tolerance. Here is Little Monkey sharing her garden with a large wild bird; the hadeda.

LM and Hadeda

The birds are often on our lawn, sometimes in pairs, digging away with their beaks and removing unwanted bugs from the grass.

Two Hadeda

Mostly LM ignores them and lets them get on with it. But every now and then she will make a play-charge at them, barking and bouncing. They always keep one eye on her.

You ARE Lookin’at Me!

They take one look at LM lolloping towards them, then resignedly flap their large square wings, taking off easily from a standing start.

Often they only go as far as the other side of the pool!

Little Monkey and the hadeda play a game of ‘dog and bird’ like ‘cat and mouse’, but mostly they seem to think that this garden is big enough for the both of them.

 

post script: Of course all tolerance flies out of the window if there’s a cat in the garden!

 

Sparky and the Loquats

Loquat 1

Sparky the Squirrel tucks into a lovely loquat, while sitting in the apple tree.

Sparky and Loquat 2

Sparky does not stand on ceremony. What he wants, he takes. Here he is in the apple tree, casually leaning over to pluck the fruit from the neighbouring loquat tree.

Sparky and Loquat 3

Everybody’s favourite tree in early summer, our loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is very busy. Many different birds come to feast on the ripe fruit, which is a little like a small apricot. Even though there is plenty for everyone, some still want the tree all to themselves and squabbles are not uncommon.

Cape White Eye and Loquat 1

Here are some Cape White Eye having a feast. They are tiny little birds and it’s difficult to capture them as they flit around and are never still for a moment.

Cape White Eye and Loquat 2

You can see from the photo just how tiny these birds are; barely bigger than the fruit they are enjoying.

Cape White Eye and Loquat 3

As it’s very hard to see them, I just point my camera in the general direction of the rustling of the leaves and the sound of their peeping and hope for the best!

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All these photos were taken through my window, which explains the cloudiness.

 

Ugly Duck?

Guinea Fowl Chicks 1

Aren’t these little chicks the cutest thing?

I spotted three Guinea Fowl escorting their collective brood of about 16 chicks around the neighbourhood recently.

The next time I saw them there were only about 10 chicks and the last time I saw them there were only 4 chicks.

Guinea Fowl Chicks 2

Guinea Fowl are not native to Cape Town, but over the last decade or so they have really made themselves at home. And despite being very bad parents and losing most of each brood of chicks, their numbers here are steadily increasing.

They are not popular! When they get in your property they scratch up the ground and in minutes can destroy your flower beds, or the lawn you have been pampering for months.

Guinea Fowl Chicks 3

Still, Guinea Fowl chicks really are cute looking, but when all grown up they are pretty ugly. Sort of the reverse of the Ugly Duckling story!

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Egyptian Geese on the other hand are excellent parents. Little Monkey and I walked past a group of youngsters seemingly alone on the grass verge. Suddenly Dad (or Mum) flew down at us from a roof top, honking loudly as he flapped his large wings. He landed between us and his chicks, successfully defending them. No wonder all his chicks make it to adulthood.