Grey Heron on Akabeko Golf Course.

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…

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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..

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This snake was not giving up without a fight…

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and even managed to encircle the beak of the bird..

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Down the hatch you go… eyes closed…

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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…

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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..

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This has taught me one lesson… “keep the camera handy!”…

Sorry… I apologise… But I just have to do this…

A few more Flamingo photos that appeal to my liking… and just to add interest a quote by C. JoyBell C.

Reflections…. “The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”

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Crested Barbet.. a visitor to the Pretoria fruit salad tree.

Crested Barbet (Trachyphonus vaillantii)

You can’t miss this bird with its very colourful plumage the Crested Barbet is unmistakable. This small bird has a speckled yellow and red face with a small black crest. The belly is yellow with red speckles, wings are black with white specks and it has a broad black band on its neck. Yellow head and body with black and white feathers, with red markings on the head of the body, its colour blends in so well in the bush. A coat of many colours.

But this one I’ve been trying to capture at the right time of the day.. but had to put up with bad light and all the wrong conditions that all the experts say you should not bother shooting in and captured him today at midday..

and now for the fashion show showing this years trends….

TaaDaaaaaaaa ….. Now for our first shot we show the black back with white flecks, very in fashion this season….

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Notice the orange hues of the neck and darkening of the ears.. all make up should concentrate in this area for the season….

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Red around the backside is very in this season so do concentrate on that and ensure your trailing tail is black with white dots….

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Chew fruit this year rather than gum…. and dye the front of your hair red…

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Note the red dye in the front of the head… (Red hair is in Blonde out) wear a black and white bib..

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This gives one a better perspective of the black and white bib.. always wear yellow dress with red flecks or dots… very in this year Ladies…

please send full size photos of your like fashion to this site for critique from the fashion Guru…the Bulldog…

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And that Ladies and Gentlemen concludes our fashion show for the day…

Yellow Weaver.. the Master Builder

Yellow Weaver (ploceus subaureus).

This little master builder will congregate with his fellow men and build nests near each other, hoping to attract a female of the specie. It does look quite hilarious when a female shows up, with all these men now competing against each other for her attention..

The Yellow weaver can only be found along the East coast of South Africa, I’m not sure how far north it is found but probably up into Mozambique..

It is a smallish bird only 17cm. long … feeds on flying insects that it captures on the wing… and like other weavers it does enjoy a bit of nectar from flowers…

The weaver family is known for their intricately built nests… woven material that is collected from all sources with a hanging entrance… very neat and strong..

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Getting dressed to Breed.. Not Undressed…

Long-tailed Widowbird (Euplectes progne)

Now here’s a bird… the male that is… that dresses up for mating.

The Long-tailed Widowbird is a medium-sized bird and one of the most common in the territories it inhabits. Adult breeding males are almost entirely black with orange and white shoulders (epaulets), long, wide tails, and a bluish white bill. Females are rather inconspicuous, their feathers streaked tawny and black with pale patches on the chest, breast and back, narrow tail feathers, and horn-colour bills.

When flying, male Long-tailed Widowbirds are readily visible due to their extremely long tails. Between six and eight of their twelve tail feathers are approximately half a meter long. The tail during flight display is expanded vertically into a deep, long keel below the male as he flies with slow wing beats 0.5 to 2 meters above his territory.

Outside of the breeding season male Long-tailed Widowbirds are large, streaky, but relatively unspectacular birds. Come late October though and this is a species is the bird equivalent of the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly. It transforms into a spectacularly well-endowed sexual show-off with a most unlikely bundle of tail plumes…

Males defend territories in the grasslands the species inhabits. Females have a long nesting period and survey these territories and the males that inhabit them, prior to mate selection. Females spend a great deal of time comparing males, (I wonder if length has anything to do with their selection… I mean tail length naturally) then they weave nests, shaped in large dome structures with a lining of seed heads, in the high grass within the males territory.

The female…

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The male when he is not breeding…

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Then the metamorphous starts to take place……

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And now I’m dressed for sex.. my tail will continue to grow about another 4 inches.. then watch me strut my stuff.

Crested Barbet

Crested Barbet (Trachyphonus vaillantii)

With its thick bill and very colourful plumage the Crested Barbet is unmistakable. This small bird has a speckled yellow and red face with a small black crest. The belly is yellow with red speckles, wings are black with white specks and it has a broad black band on its neck. Yellow head and body with black and white feathers, with red markings on the head of the body, its colour blends in so well in the bush.

They are found alone or in pairs. They like to bounce around on the ground looking for food, they usually call from a branch in the open. They are not the best fliers and fly only for short distances. They roost in holes in trees. Very vocal, the call being a trill that can continue for long periods. They are aggressive towards other birds in their territory and will chase off both nest competitors and other birds such as doves and thrushes.

Here a photos of a bird I capture on the Golf Course in Kathu….

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Grey Heron, Lake Panic, Kruger National Park.

The Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea),

This a wading bird of the heron family. I took these photos at Lake Panic in the Kruger National Park.

It’s native throughout temperate Europe and Asia and also parts of Africa. It is resident in the milder south and west, but many birds retreat in winter from the ice in colder regions. It has become common in summer even inside the Arctic circle along the Norwegian coast.

Adults have a white head with a broad black supercilium and slender crest, while immature birds have a dull grey head. It has a powerful, pinkish-yellow bill, which is brighter in breeding adults. It has a slow flight, with its long neck retracted (S-shaped). This is characteristic of herons and bitterns, and distinguishes them from storks, cranes and spoonbills, which extend their necks. The call is a loud croaking “fraaank”.

This species breeds in colonies in trees close to lakes, the seashore or other wetlands, although it will also nest in reed beds. At Lake Panic there is one nesting in a tree direct across from the Bird hide…

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This one is catching a ride on a Hippo’s back…                                             I wonder if this one knows the crocodile is there, I didn’t till I looked at my photo..

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