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Saturday, 9 June 2012

Southern Bald Ibis.

The weather has gone from warm to freezing overnight. So far we have had a very mild winter, but yesterday we had a gale strength wind blowing from the north which is always a warning of a cold front moving in from the south west. The cold front pushes the air off the high plateau of South Africa over the Drakensberg escarpment. As it descends it heats up, (adiabatic heating) causing temperatures to shoot up. Yesterdays hot wind just sucked the life out of the remaining green plants in the garden, leaving shrivelled leaves.

The cold front moves in right behind the hot wind, and suddenly it's freezing cold, from one extreme to the next. This sudden drop in temperatures brought some unexpected visitors from the high mountain regions. 

Taking the dogs out for a walk I spotted a flock of Southern Bald Ibis, these birds prefer to live at high altitudes, so seeing them here is unusual. They were a long way of, so my photos aren't to clear, I was also shivering quite a bit from the cold, causing some blurring. 

Southern Bald Ibis. The birds use their long, sensitive, beaks to probe between plant and grass stems and in the ground for insects. 

This paddock was mowed a couple of days ago providing a perfect feeding area for them, as they prefer short grass.  

Southern Bald Ibis are listed as vulnerable.


Kay L. Davies said...

I hope this interesting but vulnerable species manages to survive, Phillip.
Here in Alberta we have those quick changes in temperature also. When I first moved here, I was amazed to watch the outside thermometer move up and up, late at night, in winter.
We're about 400 kilometres or so from the Rockies, and the winds coming over the mountains have an amazing effect on the weather.

Gorges Smythe said...

Just about as ugly as our turkey vultures (or our turkeys)!