Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Brilliant birding by far..

The last month or so has been absolutely fantastic in terms of bird sightings here at RiverBend. We have managed to sight birds of all shapes and sizes, and not just deep out into the concession, also just around the lodge itself! One of the most interesting sightings of them all was without a doubt the Cape Vulture (Gyps Coprotheres) we had circling over the lodge. We had the opportunity of watching this particular Cape Vulture move off swiftly into the distance, circling all of the valleys in search of something to pick at!

Absolutely amazing!

We have also had a Martial Eagle (Polemaetus Bellicosus) , although juvenile, hanging around the waterhole right in front of the lodge. The vervet monkeys that use the surrounding acacia trees to roost in have been in an utter state of panic because of this Martial Eagle! Any monkey remaining blissfully relaxed and unaware of a hungry Martial Eagle circling overhead is a sure target!

In the riverbed just behind the lodge, I have also been able to sit and watch a Brown Hooded Kingfisher swoop down from a perch above the water to catch insects.

Sightings of the really little Golden Breasted Bunting have also been quite popular of late. The call of the Red Necked Francolin at dusk and then finding the francolins early the next morning digging in some elephant dung for insects and worms.

Knysna Loeries (Turacos) have been gracing us with their presence in the afro montane forests.

The weavers have also started stringing reeds together in the waterholes with nesting material in order to build nests for the breeding season. The Cape Weaver and Masked Weaver in particular.

I had a fantastic opportunity to photograph a Grey Headed Bush Shrike (Malaconotus Blanchoti ) that was not in the least bit fussed by our presence!

In the evenings when returning back to the lodge from my successful safaris, I have also had the opportunity to sit with some very relaxed Spotted Eagle Owls (Bubo Africanus).

There is also a trio of African Spoonbills that often fly overhead just 5km or so east of the lodge and often settle at a very well hidden waterhole. These magnificent birds allow us to sit quietly and watch as they wade through the shallows of the waterhole in search of an early breakfast.

Seasons are soon to change again, and with the season change, so a change in bird life and activity. Keep an eye out for more on these fascinating flappers!!!!

Wesley Cragg.

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