I haven’t been in the bush for the past week so what I’ve decided to do is put up a series of my best bird shots over the past six weeks. Sometimes with the excitement of the big cats, birds often get overlooked. They are, however, a major part of a Londolozi safari nonetheless. Updates on the usual suspects will continue from next, however enjoy this week in pictures…
A Giant kingfisher - the largest of the Kingfisher family - perches over LTA Dam in a strong wind, waiting for the right moment to swoop down and catch a fish.
Apparently unwilling to share, a Wahlberg's eagle shields its prize from its mate. They were busy renovating their nest nearby; these migratory birds tend to return to the same nesting site each year.
In a rare moment when they're not aboard rhinos, buffalo, or other appreciative hosts, a pair of Red-billed oxpeckers pose in a leafless Tree wisteria.
It took us a while to figure out what exactly these African green pigeons were doing at Lex's Pan. Usually fruit-eating birds, we thought they might be supplementing their diet with some protein in the form of termites. But upon close investigation, they seemed to be just pecking at the mud: perhaps either getting nutrients from the soil, or collecting mud for a nest.
An African jacana shows off its long toes on a sunken log. Also called 'lilly-trotters', these birds are most often seen appearing to walk on water as they step across aquatic vegetation in search of food.
A Tawny eagle in sits in a fully-blossiming Knobthorn, drying his feathers after a light rain. Tawnys can have many different colour variations, and this one appeared to be a sub-adult, as he stumbled around on the branches before taking off clumsily.
On a recently burned patch of grass, a Greater blue-eared glossy starling looks for insects, and shows off his irridescent feathers. The burned areas on the reserve are birding hot spots, as the bare ground exposes tasty insects.
A Purple heron takes in the sunrise at the Sand River.
A Grey go-away bird drinks at Marthly Pools.
On an ominously grey afternoon, a Brown-headed parrot sits still long enough in a young Leadwood tree to have his photo taken! The only parrots in our area, they are notorious for flying away very quickly.
A Bataleur soars, surveying the ground below. Despite being classified as an eagle, and its bright colouration, this bird regularly scavenges rather than hunts, and along with the Tawny eagle, can often be seen at carcass sites before vultures. You can determine this is a male Bataleur because of the half black/half white underwing; the female is primarily white on the underside of the wing, with a small black stripe at the back.
In a rare motionless moment, a Yellow-fronted canary sits to enjoy the mid-day sun.
The Saddle Billed Stork is a striking bird which is becoming increasingly rare. As such it is a real treat to see one along the Sand River.
A Hooded vulture sits atop a dead tree awaiting the departure of the Sparta Pride from a giraffe kill. Slightly smaller than the White-backed vultures, these scavengers are usually the first of the vulture species to locate a carcass.
A Malachite kingfisher sits on a granite rock.
A Great white egret catches the morning light on an island in Ronnie's Pan. Usually fish and frog eaters, this individual also grabbed an insect lurking in the hippo dung he was standing on.
A 'different' view of a White backed vulture. This was on a cold morning just after a light rain, so the bird was trying to dry out his feathers while he waited for the Majingalane Coalition to leave their buffalo carcass. You can also note the powerful talons.
Thanks Patsy, I think I’ll make it a regular one then, every six weeks!! Now the migrants are coming back so should be getting some good variety!