15 November, 2010

An egg, young birds and photos by GINKs

We see and hear many young birds now. Teenagers who with their fluffy feathers are anyway bigger than mum and dad. Standing there with open beak, shimmying their wings. Yelling Feed Me Now!

European starlings bringing caterpillars

The starlings, flying in and out constantly. Complaining bitterly – those youngsters are never satisfied!

Dikkop egg, inspiration on the 'desk' I stand at
(Today just this one is from my Canon)

Before we came to live here, this was a vegetable garden. Then a fallow field. The dikkops like to nest on open ground. We still hear them, calling in the night from the rough ground on empty plots in the neighbourhood. Anna gave me this dikkop egg. I keep it on my desk. In a little dish, painted with a spotted guinea fowl feather.

That irritating thing, when you try to peel a hard-boiled egg, and it comes away in grotty chunks attached to the shell? WHY? and How to avoid it!

House sparrow family

Birds land on the perch on top of the bird house. Peer down to see if that bleddie Ungardener has refilled the seed yet. Which side shall I fly down to? 

Pin-tailed whydah, our Lil Cuss

Oh f*** there’s the Lil Cuss again!

Weaver mother and baby

Because we mulch with straw and leave as much as possible of the Ungardener’s free spirited plants standing – the birds are glad to eat naturally. Not dependent on handouts. 

Young Cape robin

The Nuxia was planted for young Cape robins. Have been waiting to photograph the adults, but we only see this youngster. Seems to be his patch and the parents are elsewhere.

Young masked weaver

On this young weaver, you can just see his black mask beginning to fill in.
Red bishop

And finally, just because they are glorious birds, the red bishops. He is dressed in red and black. No cheap satin pantomime costume for him. His red silk velvet jacket sits, just so. When ready to perform he fans out his black Jacobean ruffled collar. Then does a little song and dance routine for his lady love. Hops to the next branch and repeats it! Again, and again! Sadly the first bird only performed for me, there was no lady around. And our yellow weavers saw him off. There’ll be no Red Bishops in our neighbourhood! They come to the bird feeder, but they don’t nest here.

Tatyana said she has lost the manual for her camera. While he was still choosing a camera, the Ungardener downloaded the manuals. To see if the hype added up. Can you really …? And does it …? Is there a …? He is on a learning curve. Instead of sitting patiently with a numb finger, holding the shutter half down to focus where-the-birds-will-be he can lock the focus where he wants it. pdf Manual for my Canon

And the GINKs in the title? Well there’s us. Any more out there?

PS If you are fan of Saxon Holt Floradoragardens lots-learned-at-photography-workshop BTW He is currently recovering from a detached retina

PPS I have been tagged by Hungarian CultivatedGarden. If you are a cat person then we three have that in common!  

Pictures by Jurg (and Diana), words by Diana of Elephant's Eye    


  1. Wonderful picture of the Lil Cuss! And the Red Bishops! We have nothing like that here where I live. We do, however, have starlings. Non-native species that all sorts of bird people despise, but I've always had a secret fondness for them. What spunk! And I like the silly little way they walk. We privately call them "Yellowbeaks" so people won't know we're raving on about... ...starlings!

  2. Hi Diana, you have starlings and we have starlings - different ends of the earth, different seasons. I thought those birds migrated - must look it up. Are GINKs trying to feel better about their double incomes by being green? LOL The single child is pretty much the norm in a lot of Europe these days. There must be an acronym for that. GOINKs?

  3. Hi Diana,
    The fotos are very professionally done. Really good!
    p.s. you asked for the name of the feature plant on my blog header. it is the bauhinia kockiana, exceptionally showy all year round

  4. Dear Diana of EE, What a wonderful flight of birds you have offered your readers today. When I visit friends in Brighton, enormous numbers of starlings fly in formation at dusk in a most remarkable sight to their roosts amongst the ironwork of Brighton Pier.

    I do so hope that you have a lovely time with your sister. Does she live nearby?

  5. Edith - my three sisters are all in Cape Town.

  6. I don't know if I'd call myself a GINK. It's not a choice as much as a circumstance. I know that if / when we have children, they will be very schooled in gardening and all things green (and by then I intend to be on geothermal, solar, and wind power, with plenty of rain barrels and a cistern with filter). I don't mind the link, because it points out how I'm going to beat any kids I might have until they are green. (that's a good thing)

  7. They are remarkable bird shots. The photography is really good. You get such variety and color. The pin tailed bird in flight is so beautiful, whether it is wanted in the garden or not.

  8. Beautiful photographs Diana. I'm so envious of your birds, even Lil Cuss, but your Red Bishops are very handsome! I like your point about the birds in your garden foraging naturally. We don't feed the birds here, because it attracts too many rodents, but we do garden with the birds in mind, and try to provide food resources for them in the plants we choose. By the way, thanks for the link to our egg peeling post! Who knew we were GINKS? I didn't know there was a term for that LOL. Hope you enjoy your blog break!

  9. Wonderful to see the bird pictures. Your shot of the Pin Tailed Wydah is fantastic - a real pleasure to look at.

    I remember seeing these Wydahs on an ostrich farm just outside Oudtshoorn. Breathtakingly beautiful.

  10. Benjamin - thanks for playing along.

    GWGT - Lil Cuss entertains us, but he terrorises the other birds. They can NEVER eat in peace. Also he is a cuckoo sort of bird, which makes it doubly unkind, since they are raising HIS chicks.

  11. I so enjoyed reading about Little Cuss. He sounds like a handful -- but oh, that tail is magnificent. And the Red Bishops, wow! They give our Cardinals some holy competition. ;)

    F. & I are GINKs, actually. Although we still do dream of having children -- but only if the circumstances are right. As we age, I do wonder if we are cutting off our options. Yet many times I have consoled myself with the thought that not adding to the population would be the best choice for the Earth, and for all the creatures on it, including the human beings.

    Enjoy your sister's visit!

  12. Wonderful photos Diana. I love the long tails on some of those birds. We have cousins to your starlings, they are globe trotters I believe.

  13. Like an assortment of delicious pralines. One can learn a lot about birds from your posts, and the photos are really beautiful.

    Thank you for inviting catpeople to my blogpost!

    Hope to see your next post soon! Eszter

  14. Wow !!! so many birds. Bravo for those beautiful photos.
    The Red bishop is amazing.

  15. In North America, they have Red Cardinals, you have Red Bishops so I'm trying to think of a parallel for us but all I can think is that Magpies look like Presbyterian ministers.


  16. Dear Diana, I have just one question: how do you train the birds so well to pose for their photos????? Well done as usual. cheers, catmint

  17. Well, if I didn't know better, I'd say all the birds left the arctic and flew to South Africa. Lamentably, not many birds want to stick it out here in the land of snow. Makes for duller birdwatching, that's for sure. I have seen a lot of ravens and magpies today, and one bald eagle. Whoop die doo.

    Christine in Alaska, pitying self

  18. You are blessed to have so many birds. The red bishops are new to me - gorgeous! I love watching birds, too. I am rarely successful photographing them, however, as my old camera has little telephoto ability. I really need a new one. When I get one, it had better be user friendly!

  19. Such great bird photos! The Red Bishop is really striking and reminds me of our Grosbeaks here in Southern California. Interestingly enough, about 5 years ago I went on a birding trip with a local chapter of the Audubon Society to Playa del Rey (coastal region of Los Angeles). We saw a bird that one of our guides identified as an "Orange Bishop" (of African origin), obviously an escaped pet bird.

  20. Hello Diana!

    Lovely photos, and good to see them so large! in the process of trying to find out what a GINK was, I joined Urban Sprout. Does that mean I qualify? :)

  21. Dear Diana, Lovely bird pictures! We have starlings, too. Their glossy feathers are beautiful, but their beaks are so cruel. Enjoy your sister's visit. Pamela

  22. Dear Diana, enjoy your sister's visit! As Porterville is one of the places I still have to chronicle in paint for my blog, I would love to choose something on your farm in the New Year, and maybe you will allow me a visit?

  23. Hello Diana,
    S uch beautiful birds, I could sit and watch them all day...from the beautiful bishops to the industrious sparrows (I have a real softness for sparrows!)
    I am mystified by this GINK...clicked on the link, but it seems to be dead!

  24. Hope mentioning you on the latest post for Esther's Boring Garden Blog is ok. (The Strawberry Pot Dream.)



  25. like everyone else i really admire the lil cuss, a dramatic photo..we have starlings over here too and as Edith mentioned they are spectacular when they flock before roosting.....take care now...

  26. Beautiful photographs and interesting personalities you have in your birds. In Texas, we do not have quite the variety of birds you do, but we make up for it in interesting weather -- 85 (F) on Wednesday and 26 (F) Thursday, not unusual for this time of year.

  27. Hi Marie,
    Sorry to disillusion you, but this is no farm. Just a wild, town garden in the middle of a plattelandse dorpie.

  28. It's great to see the wonderful variety of your birdlife. The pintailed whydah looks like an especially dramatic species. Beautiful!


Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
My Canon PowerShot A490

If I use your images or information, it will be clearly acknowledged with either a link to the website, or details of the book. If you use my images or words, I expect you to acknowledge them in turn.

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