We saw this Spotted thick-knee, otherwise known as a Dikkop, standing behind the car park at the Visitors Centre at Marievale around 10am on Easter Friday; it was still there, but lying down this time, when we left several hours later.
We were standing on the side of the road that bridges the vlei, looking up and looking out – not down – at the birdlife when someone standing nearby on the back of his bakkie called out, ‘have you seen the otter?’ We hadn’t, but we did, and here are pictures to prove it.
You knew at once, didn’t you, that this was a female Amur falcon? Of course you did. Well, I didn’t, and though I paged up and down and sideways through Roberts and the SASOL guide I couldn’t figure it out. Until, of course, I posted the image on the SA Birdlife Facebook Group page, with a cry for help, and with minutes had my answer, from some far more knowledgeable soul who took pity on my ignorance. It is, as above, a falcon, female, which I spotted on the fence just past the Visitor’s Centre, as we entered the Marievale […]
Marievale Bird Sanctuary is a small area of wetland, bounded by farms, distant dwellings, power pylons, a highway, about an hour’s drive east of Johannesburg, and – despite its size – home to an astonishing variety and number of birds, waterfowl in particular. The last (and only) time I had been there was about ten years ago, when my daughter Eve and I had ventured forth in the Landy, and spent a happy day in bird hides and in open country, watching and photographing the coots, cranes and other birdlife. On Easter Friday, Rob and I made a return visit. […]
We were in Cape Town last weekend, the Heritage Day long weekend, and on Sunday we took my mother out to Hermanus and Gansbaai to see the whales. On previous occasions we had seen them close in, near the Old Harbour, but not this time. We were lucky, however, to spot one or two far out, way across Walker Bay, so we drove round to Gansbaai, another 40 kilometres along the coast, in hope of a better view, and were just in time to see a pod of humpbacks quite close in, before they tired of us and slipped beneath […]
Bird photography is one of the most challenging areas of photography, at least in my experience. Finding them in the first place – birds, I mean – and getting them to sit still, or hover in one place, just where you want them, is the damnedest business, never mind getting your images sharp and properly saturated. Nevertheless, we spent one idyllic morning between two bird hides on a farm in the Karkloof, hoping to see cranes, but seeing instead grey herons, spoonbills, ibis, and – away in the distance, perched on the topmost branches of a tree before launching into […]
So here’s a roundup of today’s news (just following a trend here: all sentences these days seem to begin with ‘so’). In South Africa, the bad news is good news. Attempts to frame the Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and ‘capture’ the Treasury, have come unstuck. Large demonstrations against corruption and the abuse of power have brought out not only the unwashed masses but struggle stalwarts of the ANC and even captains of industry. Meanwhile, President Zuma has withdrawn his court attempt to stymie the release of a report on ‘state capture’ by the erstwhile Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, whose stature […]