25 April 2023

Where to look?

19 February 2023 - Dikhololo; Day 3

It rained during the night, but again had stopped in the morning when I was up for a last early morning walk around the resort. It was still gloomy and dark at sunrise, but the birds seemed to be out in full force.

I came across a few African Paradise Flycatchers around a rocky outcrop, I had to push the ISO to get a decent image

Female African Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis)

Along with a Kurrichane Thrush in the leaf litter

Kurrichane Thrush (Turdus libonyanus)

The Sicklebushes were in flower

Sicklebush (Dichrostachys cinerea)

I spent 15-minutes cross-legged on the cold pile-inducing tar road with this Grey-backed Camaroptera that just wouldn't give clear views and then suddenly it did before disappearing back into the gloom. These were the best views I have had of this species

Grey-backed Camaroptera (Camaroptera brevicaudata)

A little further down the same road, I came across a busy and entertaining flock of White-crested Helmetshrike's

White-crested Helmetshrike (Prionops plumatus)

It started to lighten and clear a little as I made my way to the Reception building and it was here that I came across an insane bird party the likes of which I have not experienced in the bush before. It was hard to decided where to look, never mind point the camera. In no particular order, these were some of the species that I managed to photograph, as there were a few species that I also missed. There were a few Black-headed Oriole's

Black-headed Oriole (Oriolus larvatus)

Some Black-backed Puffback's

Black-backed Puffback (Dryoscopus cubla)


Brubru (Nilaus afer)

Cardinal Woodpecker's

Cardinal Woodpecker (Dendropicos fuscescens)

Long-billed Crombec

Long-billed Crombec (Sylvietta rufescens)

Red-headed Weaver

Female Red-headed Weaver (Anaplectes rubriceps)

Foraging on the ground, I found Violet-backed Starling - check that yellow eye!

Male Violet-backed Starling (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster)

Red-billed Hornbill struggling to get this insect down the hatch - not great tasting perhaps?

Southern Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus rufirostris)

and Crested Barbet

Crested Barbet (Trachyphonus vaillantii)

A young Diederick Cuckoo was being fed by it's host which I missed

Juvenile Diederik Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx caprius)

It was an insane 45-minutes before they all slowly dispersed back into the bush

Quite satisfied, I walked back to our chalet for breakfast, before we packed up in preparation to head to lunch in Harties. Whilst packing the Hilux - one of my wife's favourite birds, an Oriole called and I found it sitting in a tree in the driveway to our chalet

Black-headed Oriole (Oriolus larvatus)

It was a relaxing weekend, but a few too many kids and noisy inconsiderate neighbours for our liking.

A family weekend in the bush

18 February 2023 - Dikhololo; Day 1 and 2

We traded some excess timeshare points for a weekend away to Dikhololo Resort, not too far from Brits and a relatively short drive from home. It is a family oriented resort on a game farm where the game (primarily antelope) roams freely without fear from any predators.

We arrived late on the Friday afternoon in overcast and drizzly weather, unpacked, had a orientation walk and then settled in our chalet for an enjoyable evening braai (after we had sorted out some of the issues we encountered in the chalet).

As usual, I was up early on Saturday morning for a walk of my own, whilst the family enjoyed a lie in. It was still overcast and gloomy, but the rain had abated. 

Outside our chalet, I had a young and skulky White-throated Robin Chat

White-throated Robin-Chat (Cossypha humeralis)

Along with a migrant Spotted Flycatcher on the driveway

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

I found the family of Natal Spurfowl that had woken me up, before the sun had risen

Natal Spurfowl (Pternistis natalensis)

I walked down to the dam where I was entertained by an obliging Tawny-flanked Prinia - but not much else of interest

Tawny-flanked Prinia (Prinia subflava)

Back to our chalet for an early breakfast where I discovered a Black-collared Barbet nest in a dead tree trunk literally outside our front door. It provided some great photo opportunities

Black-collared Barbet (Lybius torquatus)

Later in the morning, together with the family we had another walk to check out the Spa. Here a pair of Pin-tailed Whydah provided some entertainment as we booked a few Spa sessions

Female Pin-tailed Whyday (Vidua macroura)

Male Pin-tailed Whyday (Vidua macroura)

In a small wetland, I photographed a few invertebrates; a Slate Sprite damselfly

Slate Sprite (Pseudagrion salisburyense)

And a Netted Sylph, a butterfly I haven't photographed before

Netted Sylph (Willema willemi)

After lunch, we decided to have a drive around the relatively small game farm with low expectations - we weren't disappointed, but did see some of the plains game on the drive, including this resting Giraffe

Cape Giraffe (Giraffa c. giraffa)

We were entertained by a family of Banded Mongoose that allowed me to get very close on foot - they are real comical characters

Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo)

The birding highlight was a Bushveld Pipit

Bushveld Pipit (Anthus caffer)

Back at the chalet, the Dassies were out in full force and also provided some great photo opportunities, especially the mother with a few youngsters

Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis)

We had a few Kudu come a visit and they literally walked onto our patio to check us out while we were enjoying our snacks and sundowners, before getting ready for another evening braai.

River Warbler - Dip # 3

17 March 2024 - Zaagkuilsdrift It is that time of year - River Warbler! Again Richard Crawshaw, Selwyn Rautenbach, Marlina and I met early a...