If a black stork lands in our garden and we don’t see it, was it really there? This was our wildlife garden’s shining moment. My birding niece said Never Seen One of Those! We wouldn’t have known there were black storks – if we hadn’t seen this one here.
(On the verandah, about 7 metres from the bird on the island.
Taken with the dear departed Old Canon.)
Usually we see storks in the fields. White ones. Of course, as soon as we stopped, and got out to take the picture, long legs strode briskly off into the blurred distance!
|Stork in field|
Our national bird. One for gardeners like me, who love glaucous blue foliage. Large birds, standing just over a metre tall. Blue cranes.
A bird in the hand, stunned after crashing into the window, is easy.
|Juvenile sunbird, in hand|
Bobbing around hunting in the rosebush is harder.
(Behind the livingroom window, and the bird is only about a metre away.)
The fig tree outside the kitchen window has sunbirds, mousebirds and starlings. Weavers and white eyes zip thru, in a hurry. The Ungardener has always enjoyed sitting at the waterhole, waiting to see what comes. I can’t quite do that. But his patience was rewarded one rainy day. Bathsheba in her bath.
(From the kitchen Bird Hide, about two metres. This is using continuous shooting.
Seven images per second. And a story emerges, which the human eye did not See.)
|Bathsheba in her bath|
(My stationary gull, obligingly resting, is easy.)
(But his gannet in flight, is the result of clicking away briskly. Then sorting the blurred and fuzzy ones. The ones that are Perfectly Sharp, but Unfortunately the Bird Has Flown, Away.
And in the residue, perhaps there is one like this.)
|Gannet in flight|
We have a bird house/feeder. And if we are quiet the birds come. In noisy hordes, that complain bitterly if the kitchen staff are a bit slow.
(About five metres away. If they cooperate it is OK. In flight, his pictures are good or bad, depending.)
|Red Bishop, yellow weavers and sparrows at feeder|
We have, perhaps the grandson, of our Argumentative Little Cuss. None of the others have been as ferocious as the first one. He used to terrorise the sparrows and weavers. Red Baron roaring screaming out of the sky, his beak ‘dripping blood’. This one however, waits patiently for the much larger birds to allow him in. The pintailed whydah is 12 cm, plus 22 cm of tail. Compared to the 15 to 18 of the sparrows and weavers.
And then one chilly morning in August, when the temperature had dropped to 7 C the night before. For a long time, I watched this pair of waxbills. Enjoying the morning sun side by side. Chatting over the morning paper. Coffee for him, tea for me. Extra butter on his croissant, I’ll just have jam thanks. Mutual grooming, but that doesn’t make a story, does it?
(And this is the best that my new point and shoot Canon can do on maximum zoom. Then cropped in the computer. You can see the red bill from which it gets its name. But, we need a better zoom.)
|Waxbills in morning sun|
Pictures by Jurg and Diana, words by Diana of Elephant's Eye