One afternoon I didn’t have any guests so I decided that instead of going out into the bush for a drive I would stay in camp and do a little birding from my veranda. My neighbour, Kim, has a bird feeder hanging from a Magic Guarri (Euclea divinorum) and every day I hear the chitter-chatter of birds coming to feed on the seed she has left out, so this afternoon I wanted to see which birds would come to visit.
The first bird that caught my attention was a beautiful White-throated Robin-Chat that came to sit on a branch just a few metres from where I was sitting. Although it was not there for the bird seed it did spend most of the afternoon in and around the garden sifting through the leaf litter for any insects.
The Red-capped Robin-chat and the White-browed Robin-chat also made a brief appearance and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them as they too foraged through the leaf litter looking for insects. The Red-capped Robin-chat kept flying from one shrub to the next and every now and then I would hear it calling the very distinct ‘see-saw, see-saw’ sound that we so often hear first thing in the morning in and around camp. Robin-chats spend will forage around for food during the early morning and late afternoon when their prey, arthropods’, activity is least inhibited by sunlight, emerging from the thicker vegetation in order to do so.
As the afternoon went on there were many other birds that would come and go such as the Blue Waxbills, Bronze Mannikin, African Dusky Flycatchers, African Paradise Flycatcher, Scarlet-chested Sunbird and Dark-capped Bulbuls.
My favourite for the afternoon was watching a Bearded Scrub-robin as it slowly moved around the garden feeding and did not seem too concerned about me sitting there watching it, and every now and then if I kept really still it would come within a few meters of where I was sitting.
I so often bird when I am out on drive and so it was refreshing to have the opportunity to do this from just outside my room. It is so easy to switch off in your time off and not be aware of the birds and other little critters which we find so often in the camp. I was truly amazed by the birds which frequent the little garden in front of my house on a daily basis without many people noticing them. Wherever you find yourself in the world, you can enjoy the simple pleasure of birding. All you need to do is become aware and present of the small elements of nature that quietly surround you…