I wouldn’t have got the COOL birds

23rd June 2014

Emerald-spotted wood dove

Tuesday 17th June 2014

I had the joy of walking yesterday which meant it was Max’s turn today. This left me back at camp with the chores to do. Jomi pitched up after his stint at The Outpost. First things first we hit the outer firebreak for a morning run. I don’t know where Jomi got it from but he found an extra gear for our run today which nearly finished me. Whilst I recovered we sat by the bird bath and I briefed him about the previous four days.

The birds, monkeys and impala are certainly getting used to us. The latter are incredibly brave, but it could be their peripheral vision that gives them an air of nonchalance. The vervet monkeys really don’t quite know what to make of us. They do come down to the water but they do so with the utmost of suspicion. They tilt their head, duck up and down, crouch, stand tall, they try every which way in the hope that it will help them work out exactly what our intentions are.

The birding, according to Jomi, was excellent. Without him I wouldn’t have got the COOL birds. Still, my twitching is getting better day by day. Whilst we sat there I counted eleven blue waxbills. Every now and then they would whizz up from the water like a firework with a buzz of wing beats straight at me before deviating at the last moment before impact with my face and settling in the cucumber bush (Philachium africanum) over my shoulder.

At one point there were eight African yellow white eyes queuing up at the bath, there was a pair of green-winged pytilia, the male sporting a striking red face and throat. A dapper white browed robin chat dominated the bird bath, quite something for this natural born skulker.

The most nervous of all the birds came from little and large. Firstly and surprisingly, the emerald spotted wood dove, for such a big bird you’d expect a little more bravado. It first flew in with a flash of its pinkish brown chest which promised so much more than a dove. But there was no disappointment when it settled and showed of its iridescent green wing coverts. Now to the small, the sunbirds, Jomi tried his hardest to catch these for posterity with his 400mm zoom but they kept on being pushed away by the pesky waxbills. Whether he’s a decent shot or no I’m not sure but with my camera battery flat I sat back enjoyed watching the white bellied as well as the collard sunbirds.