Thursday, 12 September 2013

Some stunners from Southern Africa.

Like any set of birds anywhere, there are always the bright, gaudy and downright retina burning examples, those that look like a kid has been let loose with a paint box and their imagination. Southern Africa has its fair share of such beasts, and here is a small selction for your delectation and delight, warning, you'd better get your sunglasses on in case!

Starting with a real gem, Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata: Okavango River, Botswana.
How's that for exotica? Schalow's Turaco Turaco schalowi: Island View Lodge, Namibia.
There were a number of glossy starling species seen, this is Greater Blue-eared
Glossy Starling Lamprotornis chalybeus: Lawndon's Lodge, Botswana.
This large sunbird was the size of a small bee-eater, Malachite Sunbird Nectarinia
: Western Cape, South Africa.
Orange-breasted Sunbird Nectarinia violacea: Western Cape, South Africa.

Almost familiar; Cape Rock-Thrush Monticola rupestris: Western Cape, South Africa.

Nearly as bright as a Brazilian Tanager; Crimson-breasted Boubou
Laniarius atricoccineus: Elephant Sands, Botswana.
Possibly the most famous and sought after bird in South Africa, Cape Rockjumper
Chaetops frenatus: Western Cape, South Africa.

There are of course many more to come as and when we have time to process the 7,000 odd photos that Elis took on the trip, but we thought we'd whet your apetite with these to start with.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

South African garden birds.

One of the joys of doing Wader Quest is that you get to visit some pretty cool places and see some pretty cool birds as collateral in the search for waders. Not that there is anything uncool about seeing Double-banded Courser, or Chestnut-banded Plover and especially not White-crowned Lapwing. But there is so much more to birding in southern Africa than this.

Garden birds can be pretty spectacular, here's a selection we saw in our friend Sue's garden on our first day!

Common Fiscal Lanius collaris: an unusual feeder bird.

Cape Sparrow Passer melanurus: makes our House Sparrow
Passer domesticus look a bit dull

Dark-capped Bulbul Pycnonotus (barbatus) tricolor
some split it, some don't; me? I don't really care it's a 
good looking, if common, bird whichever way you look 
at it.

Red-faced Mousebird Urocolius indicus: mousebirds are always fun, this 
was one of three species we saw.

A feeder with a difference, at least for us Brits! Southern Masked Weaver 
Ploceus velatus (top left male, front female), Cape Sparrow (Male top right 
and hidden, female bottom left) and Palm or Laughing Dove Stigmatopelia 
Some more from the Garingboom Guest Farm gardens.

Red-throated Wryneck Jynx ruficollis.

Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus nigricans.

Acacia Pied Barbet Tricholaema leucomelas.

Cape Turtle Dove Streptopelis capicola.
Possibly the most bizarre garden bird we saw was at Afton Grove, Noordhoek in the Western Cape.

Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus.