A few weeks ago we ran a post about the broad-billed roller pair that had been sighted along the Sand River near the Londolozi camps. This was wildly exciting for me, as I had never seen this beautiful bird at Londolozi before. It is a summer visitor to Southern Africa, heading north of the Equator but stopping short of the Sahara Desert during our winter months before returning south to take advantage of the insect boom once the rains have come and created a lush and fertile breeding ground for them once more.
In the last post we speculated that the rollers may have been looking for a nesting site, as they were interacting aggressively with a pair of lilac-breasted rollers that also seemed to be eyeing out the same hollow in a dead tree.
As luck would have it, that is exactly what happened, and from continued observations it appears as though the rollers currently have some hatchlings in the nest. They have been seen delivering food to a hole in the branch – clearly the entrance to a larger hollow cavity – with regularity, and although they seem to be sharing the dead tree with a pair of greater blue-eared starlings, there seems to be space enough for both parties.
Broad-billed rollers are relatively vociferous birds, so it is pretty clear when they are at the nesting site. Londolozi GM Chris Kane-Berman and Head of Finance Dave Dampier, both ex-guides themselves, decided to head out a few days ago and see if they could capture some photographs of the rollers around the nest.
With a Sigma 150-600mm lens, David in particular was able to capture some absolutely stunning images of the two birds interacting:
Despite spending more of his time in an office back at Camp than out in the bush these days, Dave has continued to hone his craft as a photographer whatever chance he gets. Look out for a more regular feature on his photography to be appearing soon…
Written by James Tyrrell, Londolozi Ranger
Photographed by Dave Dampier, Londolozi ex-Ranger turned Head of Finance