Ornithological Adventures cont…

I think I may take up bird-watching. Well, I have, by default, anyway due to my new location. I am currently sitting on the balcony at home with my camera, a book entitled ‘Voels van Suider-Afrika’ (a gift from my oldest friend, Ruth – which is simultaneously turning me into a bird anorak and improving my Afrikaans which has become almost non-existent), and my laptop on which I am furiously documenting the birds as I see them. I never understood how some people derived so much excitement from bird-watching – my childhood pet, a canary called Chirpy, never evoked much admiration in me – but I am now beginning to appreciate the bird-watchers fervor. Admittedly, the cuteness factor plays a big part in my new found hobby, and I find myself squealing at each new sighting and, just recently, launching myself off the balcony, camera in hand, in order to stalk these birds who then eye me with great skepticism and mistrust.

But I find it therapeutic to watch them go about their business – catching fish, paddling on the lagoon, terrorising each other. The more I observe, the more I learn about their behavior and  I can now even identify most of them by their calls. The Seagulls hang out in packs, squawk loudly and all have ASBO’s. The Mallards are aloof but rather dapper and appear to be in monogamous and committed relationships.  The Cormorants are eager and industrious little creatures, but lacking in social skills. The Kingfishers are jittery but keen hunters and the prettiest of the lot. The Hadeda’s look almost prehistoric, but I hear them a lot more than I see them. My book describes their unique call: “Een van die bekendste roepe in dele van Afrika. Lawaaierig in vlug, maak ‘n haarde ‘ha-ha-ha-dah-da’.”

Since I began writing this post I have spotted the following from our balcony and managed to photograph a few:

1- Malachite Kingfisher

Malachite Kingfisher - Not a great shot because he was quite far away but definitely the cutest bird I've seen so far.

2- Pied Kingfisher

3- Little Tern

4- Great White Pelican

5- Cape Gull

6- Hadeda Ibis

7- White-breasted Cormorant

8- Cape Cormorant

Cape Cormorant - very industrious little divers that spend more time under water than in the air.

9- Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Geese - rather handsome, but they seem angry.

11- White-Eye

12- Wag-tail

14- Hartlaub’s Gull

Hartlaub's Gull (seagull) - the chavs of the bird world.

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2 responses to “Ornithological Adventures cont…

  • Michi

    I love the way your book describes the Hadeda’s call, it made me giggle when I pronounced it out loud. I also love how each kind of bird seems to have its own personality. I can definitely see how bird-watching has called your attention!

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