Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Birding in South Africa

As always when we're outdoors, I keep an eye out for birds. As always I have my camera ready! Our two-day stay at Cape Vidal within the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, delivered on wildlife and of course, birds. 

Sitting on the beach late one afternoon, we noticed a nifty little bird running hither and thither as the tide came in. I took several photos of it with my camera and then photographed the image on the camera screen! This I sent to my sister-in-law, Shelley who identified it as a Kittlitz' Plover.
 Kittlitz' Plover 

I photographed the Kittlitz' Plover alongside a Grey-headed Gull to show how small it is

While we sat and watched the birds (and people) on the beach, I suddenly saw a flurry of activity in a group of Grey-headed Gulls in front of us. I focused my camera and managed to snap a parent gull feeding quite a large juvenile!
 Mum, I'm hungry! 
OK, let's see what I can rustle up for your dinner! 
Down the hatch it goes!  

During our game drives through the reserve you could stop at viewpoints and get out to see the beautiful view over the bushveld. 
 Grant and Rina look out over the beautiful view of the lakes and bushveld

As I finished photographing them, I spotted a hornbill on a bush nearby.
 Crowned Hornbill

At Cape Vidal there are many loops which you can drive down to see wildlife and birds. We headed off along one and reached a hide overlooking a large body of water. Of course, sitting there, we spotted hippo (too far for me to photograph); a likkewaan/monitor lizard; a web with a large red-legged spider and many water birds. 

Apart from photographing the above insects and reptiles, I also snapped heron, white-faced whistling duck, African Jacana and a juvenile of the latter.
 African Jacana 
African Jacana (Juvenile)

Back at the chalet I spotted a flock of Crested Guineafowl. As we only see Helmeted Guineafowl where down in the Cape and Free State, and haven't had the privilege of seeing this species here in Tanzania, I was thrilled at this sighting. 
 Crested Guineafowl

Apart from the obvious difference in the headgear between, the black feathers of the Crested Guineafowl are finely spotted with pale  blue. I've added a pair of Helmeted Guineafowl which I photographed down on the Cape coast while on our bike tour to show the difference.  The guineafowl below has blue-grey plumage with white spots. 
 Helmeted Guineafowl

When taking Rina home from Marquard to Parys later that week, Grant took a short cut. It turned out that we traveled 200kms extra on gravel! Nevertheless, we drove through farmlands, (where I took the photo of the windmill at sunrise) and also passed through a game farm.  I took photos of the dassies/hyrax; reedbuck/antelope and giraffe; we also stopped to watch a flock of Swainson's Spurfowl, which are near-endemic to South Africa ! 
 Swainson's Spurfowl

I'm linking this post to Wild Bird Wednesday hosted by Stewart Monckton of Australia. Please click here to access his beautiful blog. 

I hope you're all having a great week.  




  1. HI Jo Fabulous post. Love the series of the gulls.Always lovely to see the parents feeding their young although i would have thought he was big enough to feed himself.

  2. Hi Jo, what a wonderful collection of birds. I really love your gull shots. And the cute plover. The Hornbill is one of my favorites. Great sightings and photos. Have a happy day!

  3. Love your pictures especially the Hornbill shot - he or she looks quite a character - your Kittlitz Plover looks quite similar to our Kentish Plover over here - thanks for sharing - Jane UK

  4. As usual a wonderful collection of birds. The first one is cute.

  5. Oh that plover is tiny! Great gull shots, and the hornbill is quite an amazing sight, what a neat bird!

  6. Love the Hornbill. Boom, Bobbi and Gary.

  7. I always enjoy seeing your birds. I like the gulls and the hornbill.

  8. I tried for ages to get a pic of the Kittlitz' Plover - they never stand still for a second :)
    Nice selection of SA birds

  9. I like seeing birds in their natural place, like this! Wonderful moments you have taken!!!



  10. Beautiful birds, so many of them.

  11. Wonderful sightings. I love your shot of the Hornbill.

  12. Now this is a trip I need to make. I'm in love with those Gray-headed Gulls! Very cool birds in your post! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Isimangaliso Wetland Park doesn't disappoint.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo