Common Kestrel Male
Grant drove nearer to the building; his vehicle has only two passenger doors, and as Amanda and I were sitting on the back seat, I had to wriggle out of the sliding window, stretch up over the roof and point and shoot. (Phew! the lengths birding enthusiasts go to to get the perfect shot!)
The kestrel sat quietly ...
... while I snapped away
We eventually drove off and out of the mine. At the first reservoir, I asked Grant to stopped as I'd seen a Hamerkop. Directly translated from Afrikaans to English, this bird would be called a Hammerhead due to the shape of its head. In the photo below, though, the bird was preening and never lifted its head to form the hammer.
Around the next corner, I called out for Grant to stop again! There was another Common Kestrel sitting on top of a stop sign! I thought it made a good subject.
Common Kestrel, female
A good subject
We drove out to the large dam beyond town where we met Wessel, Louise and son, Wessel. The wind was pumping so wildly that we didn't even get out of the vehicle. Grant turned the car and drove back through the bush towards the mine. He wanted to show Andre and Amanda the Dabchick on its nest.
As the dam came into view, Amanda pointed to a flurry of movement on the water. A pair of White-faced Whistling ducks and nine ducklings. Of course, Grant stopped the vehicle and I got my fill of photographing this delightful little family!
A family of White-faced Whistling Duck on the dam
The parents carefully herding their flock
According to my Birds of East Africa book, this duck's bill is black with a blue bar at the tip. However, to the naked eye and in my photos, the adult's bills are almost completely blue while the ducklings' bills are all-blue. My Birds of Africa, South of the Sahara doesn't shed any light on the bills so I'm not sure what this feature means. However, technicalities aside, this was a lovely little family of ducks to watch.
A close-up of the ducklings
We finally moved on and back to town. As we approached the security gate, I asked Grant to stop and reverse a few meters. I'd seen a movement in some scrub. As we stopped, all four of us saw the birds hopping between branches.
We left the mine and drove towards Andre and Amanda's camp. As we approached the gate, we spotted a small flock of hornbills. Grant stopped the car (what else?) and although it was late and the light was not at all favorable , I managed to get a few photos.
African Grey Hornbill
Three of the four African Grey Hornbills in a tree along the road to the camp
A wonderful birding outing was had with our friends!
And as if that wasn't enough Birdfest, last night Thys and Marnitz sat chatting with us before we go off on leave (tomorrow). I had already gone indoors (to blog, no less!) when Grant called to me that the owl had returned. I dashed outside again where Marnitz was training his torch/flashlight on the owl. It was sitting in the same place as last week.
This time I decided to use the "auto" feature on my camera. I hardly ever use this, especially not for bird photos, but thought it might be better to do so this time. As I focussed on the bird which was gazing down on us, my camera instructed me to raise the flash. Thank goodness I did, as all the photos taken previously were not at all clear.
The Barn owl, a regular visitor to our garden!
The Barn owl gazing down on the humans looking up at it!
I hope you're all having a wonderful week.