Tag Archives: photography

Orcas of the Sky

Pied Crows 1

Haiku 232

Orcas of the sky

Black and white killing machines

And noisy to boot!

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No matter how bad a day you’re having, there’s always someone having a worse day.

I was in the kitchen boiling the kettle to make a cup of tea one afternoon, when I heard a lot of noise coming from outside.

Looking through the window I saw several Pied Crows flying around, cawing loudly. There were two, then three birds, flying from one tree to another nearby.

Pied Crow 2

They kept returning to the top of the large tree in my neighbour’s front garden. It looked like they were trying to perch there, but it was extremely windy with strong gusts, so they just kept hovering over the uppermost branches. They had to work hard to maintain their position, with wing and tail feathers splayed, as shown in the first photo.

Then I heard the most plaintive loud chirping coming from somewhere inside the foliage at the top of that tree.

I assumed these sharks of the sky were trying to kill a baby chick.

The peeping was pitiful. This prompted my thoughts above – No matter how bad a day you’re having, there’s always someone having a worse day.

I felt very sorry for whichever little bird was being harried incessantly.

Pied Crow 3

I could still hear the cawing and plaintive cheeping when sitting outside with my tea. So, I walked round the side of the house with my camera to see if I could find out what was going on.

I took a few shots of the large birds battling the strong wind currents. The photo above captures one crow flying with its beak open, cawing loudly!

The three crows kept coming back in turn to this one tree, where the peeping was coming from.

Finally, a big grey bird shot out of the tree, chirping loudly as it flew. The adults immediately followed it.

It was their own large youngster that they had been trying to encourage to move out of the top of the tree!

The family flew off together into the distance and the plaintive peeping stopped.

I was very happy to have been mistaken in thinking that they were trying to kill another bird’s chick.

They were simply protecting their own.

 

I am very lucky to have a garden with lots going on to entertain me (and provide Blog content) during our endless Lockdown. Otherwise by now I would have had to resort to showing you my collection of teaspoons!

 

What a Whopper!

Red Rose 1

Haiku 231

Can’t believe my eyes

Hiding in the flower bed

Oh What a Whopper!

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Red Rose 2

The second photo with the ruler shows the rose is about 14 cm across.

However, the most wonderful thing about this giant rose, apart from its size, is the gorgeous scent, detected from far away.

 

Pomegranate

Pomegranate 1

Haiku 229

Oh Pomegranate

Used to eat you with a pin!

Full of seeds art thou

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Pomegranate 2

Hooray! I found a flower on my newly planted pomegranate tree. This was completely unexpected, as the tree is tiny.

Pomegranate 3

Now when I was a kid my Mum sometimes bought one of these exotic fruits and cut it open for my brother and me to eat. I remember very clearly, she gave us a sewing pin each and that was how we were told to eat it.

Pomegranate 4

As the flower began turning into a ‘fruit’, I regularly checked on it to monitor its progress. I couldn’t wait for it to grow into a large round fruit.

Pomegranate 5

Then sadly one morning I found it on the ground!

Something had chewed it off! You can see how tiny it was here in my fingers.

Pomegranate 6

So no fruit this year!

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Side Story – Pomegranates in Kuruman

When the girls were young, we stayed for a year in the middle of the country, in the middle of nowhere. We were 100 kilometres from Kuruman.

We’d drive there many weekends, mostly for something to do, but it was a wonderful place. Kuruman has the best pizzas we have ever eaten. I remember it being very hot. About an hour north of Kuruman is a place called Hotazel; so you understand!

In Kuruman there is a natural spring of fresh water welling up out of the ground, called “Die Oog” – “The Eye”. It was always a lovely cool shady place to visit for respite from the sun.

There was also the Moffat Mission; where Mary Moffat had lived. She married David Livingstone.

We visited the Moffat Mission and the first thing that struck me were the enormous Pomegranate Trees, growing in a long avenue. I’d seldom even seen a pomegranate before then, and those were always bought from a shop.

Here were so many trees, all laden down with fruit. The ground underneath them was covered with fallen over-ripe fruit and you squished it as you walked.

Apart from the awesome pomegranate trees, I can highly recommend a visit to the Moffat Mission – if you ever happen to find yourself in the middle of nowhere. If nothing else, it will be a totally unique experience; you can walk where Livingstone walked!

 

The Squirrel and the Loquat

Squirrel and Loquat 1

One morning as I was sitting under the apple tree having my cuppa, Sparky the squirrel came scampering by.

Having eaten all the seed I’d put out for her, she came looking for more food.

Squirrel 2

Hopping across the lawn she ventured ever closer to me, sitting up on her hind legs to double check I really was the Food Lady.

Yes, of course I speak back to her!

“You’ve eaten it all. That was it for today. Don’t be greedy!”

Squirrel 3

Realising nothing more was forthcoming, she scooted behind me and climbed up the ancient loquat tree. Here she looks rather rat-like, as she pauses in the lower branches, planning her route to the top.

Squirrel and Loquat 4

Our loquat tree may be over 50 years old. It’s certainly been in better health; many of the branches died so I had to cut them off. It seems to be a fungus that rings the bark, so the bark falls off and the branch dies. There were hardly any loquats this year.

Squirrel and Loquat 5

Still, right at the very top of one surviving limb, a small bunch of loquats bask in the sunshine.

Here, Sparky can eat the delicious ripe fruit to her heart’s content, thinking, “Mine, all mine!”

 

Red, Red Robin

Cape Robin 1

When the Red, Red Robin

Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’

Along!

Cape Robin 2

I rarely see a Cape Robin in my garden, so when he does pop by I am honoured.

Cape Robin 3

This little chap flew down onto the lawn near the stoep, hopped onto a solar lamp and looked at me.

Cape Robin 4

There are four solar lamps in a row on my lawn. He started on the one farthest away, then he hopped onto the next lamp closer, and stared again, then onto the third lamp.

Cape Robin 5

Finally, he came as close as he dared, on the last solar lamp, had a good long hard look at me, sitting in the garden chair with my cuppa and camera.

Cape Robin 6

Curiosity assuaged, he flew off.

How lovely to see him though.

Cape Robin 7

The catchy song “When the Red, Red Robin” was written in 1926 by Harry Woods. Here’s Doris Day singing, When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along.  

 

Next Generation

Baby White Eye 1

Haiku 228

Little fluffy balls

Peeping away constantly

Next generation

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Baby White Eye 2

Baby Cape White Eye, Mum and Dad are worn to a frazzle feeding you; keeping up with your demands!

But you are so very cute.

Baby White Eye 3

A spherical blob of downy feathers; tail and wings half grown; your flight a flurry of frantic flapping that carries you to the nearest branch. Mum and Dad are ever vigilant; concerned for your welfare.

Three Baby Chicks 4

The baby White Eye joined up with a couple of baby Cape Sparrows, locally known as Mossies.

Three Baby Chicks 5

It’s a little chick creche. I guess safety in numbers!

Three Baby Chicks 6

Either way, it’s cuteness overload!

 

Unusually, it was an overcast grey morning with what little sunlight there was, shining from behind the birds. My Canon camera does not do well in low light, so some of these photos are grainy and blurry.

 

Sunbird Defender

Male Sunbird 1

Haiku 227

Valiant Sunbird

Defender of the tiny

Mighty nonetheless

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Female and Male Sunbird 2

The female Sunbird has dull grey plumage and is difficult to spot. Above, she is feeding from the yellow honeysuckle in the bottom left of the photo, while the male flies off, in the top right.

Male Sunbird 3 – Dark

The male Lesser Double-Collared Sunbird perches above the female on the newly-awakened grape vines, keeping a lookout while she is feeding. He appears dark grey in this photo, as it is only the bright sunlight reflecting off his feathers that makes them iridesce, and the angle is wrong here.

Male Sunbird 4 – Hidden

They are tiny birds, with a very high pitched twitter. I constantly hear the male defending his territory, and his female, from other males.

The male can also be hard to spot, especially when he hides behind the leaves as above!

Male Sunbird 5

But how magnificent he is when perched in full sunlight!

 

No Laughing Matter

Laughing Doves 1

Haiku 226

Not much to laugh at

Family, friends, birthdays missed

This Corona year

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Still, watching these Laughing Doves eat their seed cheers me up.

Laughing Doves 2

Laughing Doves are smaller than their cousins, the Cape Turtle Doves, who chase them off their food.

But the biggest bully of all is Sparky the squirrel, who chases everyone away and eats at his leisure.

Now I put seed down in a few places, so if Sparky has chased the doves away from one place, and the Turtle Doves have chased the Laughing Doves away from the next, there is still a place for the Laughing Doves to eat in peace!

Laughing Doves 3

And for me to find a little peace watching them.