I have taken to riding around with my camera near at hand, and how happy I am that I did this the other day.
I saw this Grey Heron as I past the one dam its attitude told me it was either stalking something or had seen food…
I got this photo just before the strike and then struggled to actually see what it had caught.. a struggle was on the cards.. something of length that could not just be swallow.. I continued to take photos until I could make out what it was… a small grass snake..
This snake was not giving up without a fight…
and even managed to encircle the beak of the bird..
Down the hatch you go… eyes closed…
But with a lot of head shaking and swallowing the snake finally disappeared down its throat… I nearly gagged thinking about that length going down my throat, and then it struck me… the snake was not dead when it went down.. why would it not bite the bird from the inside ? and would it be painful if it did ?
The bird was now disturbed by my proximity and flew off to one of the other dams, closely followed by me…
An odd stance and attitude.. was this bird regretting the meal?.. well it never regurgitated anything, had a drink and settled down to what looked like a further search for food..
This has taught me one lesson… “keep the camera handy!”…
A few more photos of our visitors that entertained us till sun down….
The Braai fire lit.. ready for our meal..(thank the Lord there is something to braai… my son is such an animal lover if the Lion had come passed he might have fed them our steaks.)
AND AS THE SUN SETS ON A PERFECT DAY… I LEAVE YOU TILL TOMORROW…
The Red-billed Spurfowl (Pternistis adspersus), also known as the Red-billed Francolin.
One that is not easy to capture on camera… this one walked right up to me hidden behind a tree…. it was a big tree luckily…
Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori).
The Kori Bustard is a large bird native to Africa. It is a member of the bustard family. It may be the heaviest bird capable of flight.
The male Kori Bustard is 120 to 150 cm (3.9 to 4.9 ft.), stands 71–120 cm (2.33–3.9 ft.) tall and have a wingspan about 230 to 275 cm (7.5 to 9.02 ft.). On average, male birds weigh between 10.9–16 kg (24–35 lb.), averaging 13.5 kg (30 lb.) but exceptional birds may weigh up to 20 kg (44 lb.).
Kori Bustards spend most of their time on the ground, though can forage occasionally in low bushes and trees. Being a large and heavy bird, it avoids flying if possible. This bustard is a watchful and wary bird. This large bird has a loud, booming mating call which is often uttered just before dawn and can be heard from far away.
they are quite omnivorous birds. Insects are an important food source, with common species such as locusts, grasshoppers, dung beetles and caterpillars being most often taken. Small vertebrates may also be taken regularly, including lizards, chameleons, snakes, small mammals and bird eggs and nestlings.
The breeding season is between October and March, the males hold their heads backwards, with cheeks bulging, the crest is held erect, the bill open and they inflate their gular pouches, forming a white throat "balloon". They have polygamous breeding habits, where one male displays to attract several females and mates with them all… typical macho man…
Burchell’s Coucal (Centropus burchellii)
A coucal is one of about 30 species of birds in the cuckoo family. All of them belong in the subfamily Centropodinae and the genus Centropus. Now that should give you a hint as to the Beast side of the bird…
This bird is so beautiful, shy and yet such a beast when it comes to it’s eating habits. It is well known for its haunting call, that once begun by one, is joined by all in the area Click here to get a quick version of the call.
It has a chestnut-brown back and similar wing feathers and a long tail that flops along as though it has no control over it, with marked bands in its upper parts. with a flattish head that it often pulls back as though to hide itself.
Unlike many cuckoos, coucals are not brood parasites. On the other hand they do have their own reproductive peculiarity: all members of the genus are to varying degrees sex-role reversed so that the smaller male provides most of the parental care. Typical “henpecked male syndrome”.
The Burchell’s Coucal eats any prey smaller than itself, and it’s not small, (40 cm long and approx. 180 grams) it has a particular liking for young nestlings and the eggs of other birds. It will seek out and eat off the nest whatever it can find, and for this reason I call it a beast… but then I suppose this is nature in the raw…..
The first two photos I played with, I wanted to get something which a friend of mine is going to try and paint… what do you think..??
Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis).
The Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis) is a large wading bird in the stork family (Now that must have come as a surprise to you… a yellow-billed stork part of the stork family..??? Bulldog go to bed.. you need sleep.) It occurs in Africa south of the Sahara and in Madagascar. Its a medium-sized stork. Length: 97 cm; average body weight for males: 2.3 kg; for females: 1.9 kg. Plumage mainly pinkish-white with black wings and tail; bill yellow, blunt, and de-curved at tip.
Ok and how and what do they eat???? wake up….
They have a fishing technique of using one foot to stir up the water to flush out prey. A quick muscular reflex in the neck enables yellow-billed storks to catch almost all of their food in the water. Brilliant.!!!! I know, I know, they eat……Crustaceans, small fish, frogs, insects and worms.
Now here’s a gob-smacking fact for you….!!!!
The books say these birds do not socialise with each other… notice do not … then I wonder what is going on here.. a committee meeting, a union..?? A gathering of the clan to remind each and everyone “Hey, fellows we don’t like socialising, have you forgotten the fact.???” Or is this the Bus Stop to tomorrow..?? A funeral.? A wake.? Someone should let them know they don’t like socialising…!!!!!!
Now this one looks as though he’s saying “if that croc gets any nearer.. I’m going to have to move..”
Ooooooh… a fishing we will go, a fishing we will go, hi ho a merryio a fishing we will go….
This Eagle is in a rehab centre after having been brought in from an accident.. it will hopefully be fully rehabilitated and released..
This is a large eagle although it is one of the smaller species in the Aquila genus. It is 60–75 cm (24–30 in) in length and has a wingspan of 159–190 cm (63–75 in). Weight can range from 1.6 to 3 kg (3.5 to 6.6 lb.). It has tawny upper parts and blackish flight feathers and tail.
The Tawny Eagle’s diet is largely fresh carrion of all kinds, but it will kill small mammals up to the size of a rabbit, reptiles and birds up to the size of guinea fowl. It will also steal food from other raptors.
The call of the Tawny Eagle is a crow-like barking, but it is rather a silent bird except in display.