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Sunday, 29 January 2012

New territory.

This afternoon I decided to explore a section of the farm that I've never been to before, in the south western corner. The main road from town crosses the N3 highway at this point, and several culverts diverting water from the road to town and from the highway empty into this piece of land. About 7 to 10 acres in extent, it has been allowed to return to nature and is a birders paradise with flocks of birds flying about. The grass and shrubbery is about 2 meters tall and very dense, and difficult to move through.

When the dogs and I were walking towards the farm road that leads to the main road to town and this bit of the farm, Lady refused to follow us and ran back to the cottage with her tail between her legs. All my calling and whistling availed nothing. On returning to the cottage later, I found that she had climbed through the window and was cowering in the lounge. Then it struck me, five years ago I had to take Tombi to the Vet in town. Unbeknownst to me Lady managed to get out of the yard, (she is an escape artist second to none), and ran after the car. 

As I turned on to the main road to town I looked into my rear view mirror only to see Lady come tearing off the farm road onto the main road right into the path of a mini bus taxi. Not much the driver could do with his fully laden vehicle, and Lady went tumbling under it. Amazingly, apart from bad bruising and a cut over her right eye she was OK. All these years later that farm road still has bad memories for her.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Female Fan-tailed Widowbird reaching for a seed on a grass stem.

Munching away.

Southern Red bishop feeding on grass seeds.

Full view of a female Fan-tailed Widowbird.

Male Fan-tailed Widowbird, (Euplectes axillaris).Difficult to photograph the males as the don't sit still for long. When they do it's usually low down and difficult to see.

Common Waxbill, (Estrilda astrild)

This Southern Red Bishop with it's feathers all fluffed out. Wether it's trying to scare off rivals or impress the ladies I don't know.

The photo gives an idea of the vegetation on this piece of ground, all head hight or more. I only manage to cover a very small piece of this area so there's lots more birding and photos available here.


Shoreman said...

Do you have a book (being a librarian) that you can look at to get the names of all these birds? There is no way I could remember them all.


Phillip said...


Being a librarian I have a book. No way I could remember these names. Until recently a bird was a bird, some were small and some were big that was the extent of my knowledge.

Jo said...

Poor Lady, I remember when she was hit by a taxi and know that she still has terrible memories of that road! WOW WOW, Phil, your photos are AMAZING. What a paradise you've discovered in that natural part of the farm. I have never been close to a female widowbird - and you photographed her time and time again. ALL your photos are STUNNING! The Bishop is brilliant! Have a good week ahead. Love and blessings. Jo

Kay L. Davies said...

In Canada, birds fluff up their feathers to keep warm.
Fabulous photos today, Phillip. I really enjoyed them.

Gorges Smythe said...

You did well to get that many photos in that kind of cover, especially with dogs in tow.

Country Life said...

Love your pictures :)