Categories
Birding

Little Grebe Breakfast

Also known as Dabchicks the Little Grebes are common on water bodies across the Western Cape. Their epic territorial battles are wild and noisy and totally unmistakable. What I didn’t know is that they eat frogs. They catch them by diving under the water for long periods and then reappearing with prey in beak. I was lucky enough to see the whole process enacted under the bird hide I was in.
The bird was swimming along and then suddenly disappeared. Only to emerge with a frog in in its beak.

The disappearing act

Categories
Birding National Park Travel

Our KZN Trip

We went to KZN in October and took lots of pictures – as usual. Join us in a brief journey through Hluhluwe and St Lucia

Narina Trogon
Narina Trogon

The Narina Trogon was the sighting of the trip so it takes pride of place and for the purists, we saw it in St Lucia.

Burchelss Cougal
Burchelss Cougal

Burchels Cougal or Vlei Loerie or Rain Bird. Such a beautiful bird

Finding that bird
Finding that bird. St Lucia again.
Wild Jasmine

Wild Jasmine grows all over Hluhluwe.

Rain on the Petals

It rained for most of the time we were there. Kept the temperature down, but was a bit disappointing for the birding.

Buffalo in a wallow

This buffalo was getting rid of parasites in a hollow. Looked a bit foolish

snorkelling st lucia
Amanda getting ready

The viz was awful and the sea rough

together diving

Together Diving.

Rhinos

Rhinos in Hluhluwe. Family outing

Rhino Video
Warthog

Warthog and Red Billed Ox Peckers

Crowned Lapwing

Crowned Lapwing

Dung Beetle
Spoon Bills
Categories
Birding

Vagrant

We went to Bontebok National park on Sunday. On the way down to swim in the Breede River we noticed a bird we didn’t recognise. Out came the birding books and the camera as this tiny, sparrow looking bird dodged in and out of the road margins.

The only bird that matched the description, had one small issue. It was completely out of range. The southern most border of its range was north of Ceres in the Tankwa Karoo. Diagnostic feature? Solid black under wings.

An SUV thundered past and the bird took flight.

Black under wings A communal “Oh!”

We get home and consult the experts and they agree that what we saw was a vagrant Black Eared Sparrow Lark.

Pardon the awful picture but seeing as how the picture is now on the Rare Birds webpage with my name attached it cannot be all that bad.

Categories
Birding Photography

Nest making

A double collared sunbird female collecting cotton scraps from stakes we used to support plants.

Double collared sunbird collection cotton for nesting
Double collared sunbird collection cotton for nesting
The male looks on
Categories
Birding Photography

Random photographs

Some photographs from our trip to Riviersonderend

Categories
Birding National Park Photography

Random Photos

We went to the Bontebok National and got some great pictures.

Categories
Birding Photography Riviersonderend

Garden Birds

Seen in our garden in Riviersonderend

Cape White Eye

Cape Sparrow on the grape vine

Red Bishop

Categories
Birding Photography

Gymnogene

Or African Harrier Hawk. We occasionally see this magnificent raptor in the Cape Town CBD. This time a neighbour spotted the bird and called us. It was sheltering from a Cape winter storm in a palm tree. I managed to get some pictures. The problem was that it was quite dark and rainy. Also the neighbour had fire burning and the smoke drifted across our line of sight. The troubles of birding photography.

Categories
Birding Photography

Processing RAW Photographs

They say you should should only photograph using RAW images but I have not put any effort into learning the processing packages. A recent picture of a Juvenile Fiscal Flycatcher had bad contrast and lighting, It was ideal for post-processing using DarkTable. The result was pleasantly surprising. Here are the results of my initial efforts. Probably with more practice the results will be better, but I am quite pleased with what I achieved.

Badly lit juvenile Fiscal Flycatcher

This is the original pictures. Note how little detail is visible on the back of the bird and how the colours are muted.

Processed Fiscal Flycatcher

Here is the same picture after processing. The difference is quite marked.

Categories
Birding

Klaas’ Cuckoo

Great excitement in the household when we spotted a Klaas’ Cuckoo in Gardens, Cape Town. We had heard vague whispers of its call, but not enough to be sure. Then one morning during lock down, it came to cheer us up. Isn’t she a beaut?