Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bird Paradise

Other than encountering the BIG 6 during the tour in July [SEE: last 3 blog-entries] SA is also a paradise for "birders" - so today I'm posting a couple of bird "highlights":

Although I've often photographed the Crested barbet in our garden (= this bird is quite common in the eastern half of our country) its so colourful that I will snap it whenever I have the opportunity AND the setting is pretty idyllic.

A Scops owl, on the other hand, is found in the northern half of our country & although that includes Joburg, I've only seen it so far in the Kruger National Park, where it is quite common IF well-camouflaged.

Now this colourful little rascal, an Orangebreasted Bush shrike, with its much repeated, musical call, mostly frequents the eastern & north-eastern parts of South Africa. I was happy to find it (also the Scops owl - above) in the Satara camp during our lunch "break".

Although most of the hornbills feature "strongly" in my photo-collection, they are just such great "models" that I can't resist taking more photos of when I encounter e.g. this Yellowbilled hornbill. These hornbills are also mostly found in the northern part of our country.

I did say I can't resist "snapping" hornbills - this Redbilled hornbill more or less shares its habitat with the previous bird BUT isn't quite as common a bird as its yellowbilled "cousin".

One bird that "never leaves me in the lurch" is the Ground hornbill - although it's classified as an endangered species I encounter it regularly in the Kruger National Park. The largest of the hornbill family its size is just under a meter.

From large to tiny - this Greater Doublecollared sunbird is only 14cm big and only a common resident in a much smaller region than the previous species. Like most sunbirds its a very "busy" little bird that continuously flutters from one source of nectar to the next, i.e. difficult to get a good visual of (to photograph).

Even more "difficult" to find is this Orangebreasted sunbird, because its "confined" to the (very narrow) south-western coastal strip (= the fynbos-Cape Floral kingdom). Strangely this "representative" sat most serenely (> fluttering around) so for once, I got a clear visual = much appreciated!!

Last but not least - a couple of African penguins (of which a colony is "stationed" permanently)
at Boulders beach on the Cape Peninsula. I think the "down"-collar on the immature penguins has the appearance of a shawl (& they "needed it" because
it was pretty cold - haha, its winter in our country, after all!)

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