Almost a month ago exactly, Ranger Jess Shillaw spotted the nest of a Chinspot Batis nestled in the branches of a Milkwood tree on the banks of the Manyelethi River. I have to give her full credit here, as the focus at the time was actually on the Tsalala lioness who was with her daughter in the river below, and the Nkuhuma pride was lying only about 60 metres away, so to be aware enough to spot this most camouflaged of nests was good work.
Or maybe Jess hadn’t even seen the lions.
I don’t actually know.
Anyway, the fact is that we’ve gone back to this nest multiple times since it was found to check on the progress of what at first were only eggs (we couldn’t see them but knew they were there from the fact that the mother was brooding), but are now two rapidly growing chicks.
I’ll be honest and admit that we never hold much hope for such small and vulnerable creatures like this in their infant stage. The nest is right out in the open and there are any number of predators that wouldn’t think twice about snapping up two tiny chicks as a meal. Yet their incredible camouflage has kept them alive all this time, and with them only being confined to the nest for just under three weeks after hatching, it’s starting to look like they might actually make it.
The chicks have now opened their eyes and are practically bulging out of the nest, and when the female broods them for added protection, there is barely room for her and the two chicks. Although the chicks still look downy and certainly can’t fly yet, they develop incredibly quickly at this stage, and in another week will probably be fluttering their wings in anticipation of their first flights.
We’ll try be there when they do…