Thick-billed Weaver…

The Thick-billed Weaver or Grosbeak Weaver (Amblyospiza albifrons)

Like the other weavers the male will work hard building a nest hoping a female will grace his home and raise his young… The male is a darker colour than the female… here are a few photos I quickly captured during a round of golf… imagine going to play golf with your camera near at hand….

The male… in the second photo, a yellow weaver, is hard at work building it’s own nest…

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And then to be so lucky that two holes later I find a female thick-billed weaver….



Magpie Shrike..

Magpie Shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus), also known as the African Long-tailed Shrike.

A truly beautiful bird to photograph, when you can capture them sitting searching for food on the ground or in the surrounding trees. It feeds mainly on insects, caterpillars, ants and beetles, which it will sit quietly on a branch, or on the ground and watch for.

It is also unusual in that the breeding pair are normally assisted by the last brood to feed the new born. I think it is called facultative cooperative breeding. However the male and female construct the nest and the younger birds have never been observed aiding in the construction. Typical of young never want to clean up around the house, however the aid in feeding almost guarantees the successful raising of the young.

The nest consists of an untidy cup made of twigs, grass stems and roots, typically placed in the upper branches of an Acacia tree.

The female lays 2-6 eggs, which are incubated by her for about 16 days, the male and group members providing her with food. The chicks are cared for both by the parents and group members, they leave the nest after about 15-19 days. Allowing the parents to lay a second set of eggs per breeding season, and the  fledglings help to rear the next brood. Now that’s family co-operation… I only have two photos of this bird and here they are…

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Cape Longclaw..

Cape Longclaw or Orange-throated Longclaw (Macronyx capensis)

The Cape Longclaw is 19–20 cm long. The adult male has a grey head with a buff supercilium (The arch of hair above each eye) and a streaked blackish back. It has a bright orange gorget (Armour plate that protects the neck), black breast band and otherwise yellow under parts. The female is duller, having a yellow throat and much weaker breast band.

The Cape Longclaw is usually found in pairs throughout the year. It feeds on the ground on insects and some seeds.

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Rock Formations near Kaapsehoop.

The village of Kaapsehoop, originally gained fame as a gold mining town once known as the the Devil’s Office. Established towards the end of the 19th century, when gold was discovered in 1882 in a small creek running through the town. This led to a portion of the original township layout being cancelled and opened up for gold diggings. However, the earlier better paying discoveries of gold at both Pilgrim’s Rest in 1873 and Barberton in 1881, followed by the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand in 1886 (later to become the city of Johannesburg), coupled with the meagre returns obtained at Kaapsehoop, led to the town going into decline, and becoming almost a ghost town.

It has now become a popular weekend retreat with its period housing and includes many accommodation establishments. The town is amid the rock out crop, a fascinating formation… and with the horses is a hotly photographed area…

The rock field formations near the town are made up of quartzite’s. Here are a few photos I’ve taken, but it is difficult to decide which to post, as what I like you might not.. here goes…














































Rufous-naped Lark

Rufous-naped Lark (Mirafra africana)

it is fairly common to common in a wide variety of open habitats with grass, such as savannah, open woodland grassy fynbos, fallow fields and open ground near cultivated land. It dislikes dense grassland, as it prefers having bare patches of soil for foraging and scattered bush and fence poles to use for singing.

It mainly eats arthropods supplemented with seeds, doing most of its foraging on the ground, gleaning food from the bases of plants and taking termites as they emerge from their mound.

This little fellow was so vocal… I heard him long before I saw him… and even then he continued to perform, before flying off….

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