Tag Archives: birds

Look Ma! No Wings!

Sunbird 1

Haiku 213

Flits from branch to branch

With a cry, “Look Ma, no wings!”

Yes; Boys will be Boys!

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Sunbird 2

Sitting in the garden with my morning cuppa, I listen to all the birdsong. Occasionally I see little feathered things in the tops of the trees.

Sunbird 3

This morning, I could see a tiny bird flying around the top branches of the syringa tree in the front garden. He perched for a moment, silhouetted against the sky, then flitted off elsewhere. A male Lesser Double-Collared Sunbird.

While clicking away with my camera I just happened to catch that first lucky shot; “Look Ma, No wings!”

 

Study in Yellow

Cape White Eye 1

Haiku 208

Little Cape White Eye

Blending in the setting sun

Camouflage technique

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While I was sitting outside under the Eugenia tree late one afternoon having a cup of tea, I heard a commotion going on in the yellow honeysuckle. There was a lot of twittering and the branches were shaking as birds flitted about. I grabbed my camera to take a few shots.

My little Canon camera does not do too well in low light, which explains the lack of clarity, but you can still distinguish the birds.

Sunbird 1

I could see a male Sunbird sipping nectar from the flowers and assumed the bird with him was the female. The Sunbird’s iridescent colours were not showing in this light and he appeared dark, until sunlight caught his feathers.

Sunbird 2

It was only later, on looking at the photos, that I realised the bird keeping watch above him from the grape vines was this little Cape White Eye.

Cape White Eye 2

The tiles on the roof are actually a brick red (or they were at one time!) but appear yellow, because the lengthening rays of the early evening sun cast this gorgeous glow.

You can see this effect, as well as both birds, in the photo below.

Cape White Eye and Sunbird

Well, nothing earth-shattering. Just a moment captured in time and a glimpse into the wonderful nature here in my own back garden.

 

Two Turtle Doves

Two Turtle Doves 1

Haiku 207

Two turtle doves and

A squirrel in a pear tree

It looks like Christmas!

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Two Turtle Doves 2

I’ve been putting food out for the doves and squirrels regularly this winter. I place a small pile of seed on top of an upturned tub and the birds happily peck away there.

When Sparky the squirrel comes, he chases the birds away and eats whatever he wants, undisturbed.

Sparky the Squirrel

He’d just chased these two Cape Turtle Doves off their food and I felt sorry for them, so scattered some seed on the ground by my garden chair. They quickly came to peck up the seeds, hence the reasonable close ups!

Two Turtle Doves 3

Cape Turtle Doves are quite large, grey and have that distinctive black neck band. We also get the smaller Laughing Doves; more colorfully pink and without the neck band. I like that there are so many different birds that choose to frequent my little garden. It makes for very entertaining coffee breaks!

 

Rare Visitors!

Swee Waxbill 1 – Male

Haiku 197

Spot a flash of red

Tiny pretty feathered thing

Rustling in the bush

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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.

Swee Waxbill 2 – Male

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.

Swee Waxbill 3 – Female

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.

Swee Waxbill 4 – Female

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!!

 

Mousebirds

Mousebirds 1

Haiku 187

What could be more fun

Than hanging out together

Solidarity!

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These chaps were happy hanging out on the edge of the old concrete bird bath, even staying put when other birds came to use the actual bird bath!

Mousebirds 2

I’ve been trying to capture a good shot of these White-backed Mousebirds for a long while. I hear them chirping in the trees and often see them fly overhead, when their magnificent long tails are clearly visible, but they are far too swift for me to take a photo.

I’ve snapped shots of them in the syringa tree. I know they are there as I can hear them and see the leaves moving, but they are hardly visible when I look at my photos later on my laptop, even when enlarged. This is because they tend to roost almost vertically against an upright branch and so blend in very well, their long tails in line with the branch.

So I was pleased to see them hanging out here for a while, even if they are still blurred because I can’t zoom any closer!

 

Such is the pressure of English Grammar that I am sorely tempted to call these two Mouse Birds, Mice Birds!

 

Look Out!

Cape Bulbul 1

Haiku 184

Find a look out point

Just eight inches off the ground

Better than nothing!

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Cape Bulbul 2

Here is a Cape Bulbul in my garden, keeping a look out from the top of a solar lamp. He didn’t like the fact that I was sitting outside having a cuppa, in his garden. So he flew closer for inspection.

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While the Coronavirus pandemic has hardly begun in South Africa as yet, it is rampant in other parts of the world.

I hope that all my Readers and their families keep safe and healthy during these trying times.

Look after yourselves, my friends.

 

Exquisite

Orange Honeysuckle 1

Haiku 181

No Sunbirds answer

However exquisitely

You call out to them

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Orange Honeysuckle 2

My honeysuckle is starting to burst forth in beautiful blooms one bush after another.

Very sadly, I haven’t seen a single Sunbird lately, though there were two breeding pairs in my garden for most of the summer.

Even if I hadn’t seen a Sunbird, I would know that they had visited my honeysuckle, because I would find many flowers on the grass under the plants, knocked off by the eager little birds as they drank the nectar.

All my honeysuckle plants are still intact and there are no flowers on the ground.

Orange Honeysuckle 3

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I sorely miss you my little friends.

Still, I keep on watching – and live in hope.

 

Sacred

African Sacred Ibis 1

Haiku 179

Exotic Ibis

Images in black and white

Nature’s monochrome

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African Sacred Ibis 2

These are African Scared Ibis, spotted recently at a local vineyard.

Apparently they are called Sacred because of their role in the religion of the Ancient Egyptians, where they were linked to the god Thoth.

Apart from the dramatic black and white colouring and being a little larger, the Sacred Ibis are very similar to the Hadeda Ibis that are frequently to be found eating insects on my own lawn.

African Sacred Ibis 3

This African Sacred Ibis on the grass at the vineyard looks like a youngster, as his plumage is not yet fully black.

There’s a saying, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

I wonder if “A bird on the lawn is worth two on the fence?”

 

Robin

Cape Bulbul

Haiku 174

Closest I can get

To a cute Robin Redbreast

Bulbul Yellow Bum

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There are a couple of Cape Bulbuls nesting in my garden. Though it’s a little hard to see in the photo, they have a distinctive yellow underbelly.

Every time I go outside the Bulbuls instantly come and check me out. Not shy, they’ll sit right by me; on the chair, solar lamp or railings; and chirp away to let me know just whose garden this is!

 

Seen Out and About

Egyptian Geese 1

Haiku 167

Seen out and about

Showing off their family

The new residents

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Egyptian Geese 2

I was driving back home one day and came across this little family of Egyptian Geese on my street.

This is the house where the funny-looking Dikkops live; I only hope they have not been displaced!

I stopped my car and got out to take a few photos. As I did so, the parents became more watchful, protecting their clutch from me; they are very good parents.

Egyptian Geese 3

One little chap had no such reservations and came towards me to see who I was! The parents looked nonplussed, but stayed with the main group of goslings.

The bold youngster waddled closer, had a good look and then returned to his family. I think he will go far and become a Leader among Geese.

In the meantime he is a headache for his parents!