My post today contains about a dozen photos and captions; if I make a mistake, please just enjoy the post in the spirit with which I post it: simply, informatively and primarily to share with my loyal readers. I don't profess to be a expert birder; instead, I consider myself as a keen birder. My photos are sometimes slightly unfocussed, but I'm normally looking to capture the unusual rather than a perfect image for a coffee table bird book.
Above all, although I love all creation and enjoy nature, I worship the Creator, rather thank creation. For me to be arrogant about the plethora of birds and creatures around us (we don't have to travel or pay to see them, imagine that!) would disprove my life's testimony which is to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. God's love and kindness should be paramount in my life.
On Sunday, Grant and I drove up a mountain, known on the mine as Choff 6. Before we'd even left the security area, we heard a bird party* taking place in the thicket beside the road. We stopped and saw mousebirds, bulbuls, cameropteras (warblers), sunbirds, weavers and drongos noisily flitting in and out of the bushes. The most vocal, however, were the robin-chats. While trying to focus on a warbler (who's so fast I still don't have a photo although they are very common) I noticed a movement to my right. I moved the camera slightly in that direction. A White-browed Robin-chat sat on a branch about two meters from the car. Normally a vocal, but elusive bird here in the valley, I was thrilled to have it in full view.
Note: * A bird party is when different species of birds are found together in one place. Often these parties only last a few minutes, so if you are birding and hear or see this activity, stop and take a look.
White-browed Robin-chat warming itself in the early morning sun
Village (Spotted-backed) Weaver
While watching the various birds and trying to get a a few photos, Grant pointed out a movement on the side of the road. Moving silently amongst the grasses and succulents, was a Red-billed Fire-finch.
Eventually the party dwindled, all became quiet and it was time to move on. A few meters along the road, an African Paradise-flycatcher flew across our path and landed on a shrub deep in the bush.
African Paradise-flycatcher (white phase)
Continuing through the gate, we finally started up the mountain road to Choff 6. Shortly afterwards, Grant's workshop foreman, Tom and assistants, approached in their vehicle. They stopped alongside us and while the Grant spoke to them, I spotted a Pin-tailed Whydah on a thorn bush in an open area.
Business over, we carried on up the road. Around the next corner we saw a small flock of Speckled Mousebirds eating fruit. This bird is generally brown with a very long tail and a distinctive head crest. The body feathers are edged with white giving them a speckled appearance.
At the field workshop at the top of Choff 6, Grant did a quick inspection, finding, as always, that everything was in order. We drove back down the hill, stopping frequently if we saw anything interesting and also to hand out sweets to the little children who live in the small settlements along the way.
This little boy is a regular recipient of sweets when I pass! We know who his hero is!
Sunday morning coming down...
Although it was a challenge to get a clear photo of the above bird, I just had to post it. This Black Saw-wing was a lifer for me and Grant
Not an exciting sighting but this pair of Black-eyed bulbuls caught my eye while they soaked up the morning sun
Once we were back in the company admin area, Grant popped into his office to sign orders; I wandered around the garden...
...and displaying - with feathers puffed up and fluttering wings - to attract suitable females
Grant emerged from the office and we made our way up the road back to camp. With three hours of successful birding behind us, we were happy with our bird sightings. However, a few hundred meters up the road, we had a last treat...
Although this was our birding experience on Sunday morning, we also went out birding later that afternoon. (To be continued)
As I was about to log off last night, I saw I had two new mails in my inbox. Good news! I'd just received an assignment from an adventure magazine for not one, but TWO articles. I'm so excited and cannot wait to get them off to the editor. Now I'm off to write another two proposals : one for South African farming magazine and the other for a women's magazine.