12 August 2023

Alone at the Farm

31 May 2023 - Northern Farm

My friend Andre Marx and I had planned a visit to Northern Farm in this month, but as I now know this will never be possible again. I needed some alone time at the Farm to process his passing, even though it was hard and surreal to do. Those working at the farm who knew Andre were also struggling to accept what had happened. 

Once at the farm the dull overcast weather seemed to be apt for this visit and I followed the familiar route around the farm that Andre and I did and could hear his voice in my head calling out the various birds I saw. 

On the way to the quarry, the resident African Stonechat's were on the side of the road. As it was dull and overcast, I tried flash to get some pop in the colour, but haven't yet figured out how to fix the 'steel-eye' in Photoshop

Female African Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus)

Male African Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus)


Once at the quarry where I walked, listened and watched and hoped for a some sort of sign that he was with me - nothing obvious, other than the quiet and solitude. The Spotted Thick-knee's were in their usual place

Spotted Thick-knee (Burhinus capensis)


Whilst Three-banded Plover's were feeding on the banks of the pond

Three-banded Plover (Charadrius tricollaris)


Walking back to the car, an out of place Kalahari Scrub Robin sat quietly in some shrub. This is a bird of Acacia and dry thornveld so was certainly not expected on the Farm - it may even be a first record for the farm!

Kalahari Scrub Robin (Cercotrichas paena)



I drove toward the cow pen's and was surprised with a Lanner Falcon on the overhead pylons and spent some time with it before a passing tractor flushed it..

Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus)




On the cow sheds, some Pied Crow's appeared to be harassing two Black-headed Heron's

Black-headed Heron (Ardea melanocephala) and Pied Crow (Corvus albus)



I continued further down the road to where we normally stopped for coffee, finding a pair of White-fronted Bee-eaters

White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides)


I didnt stop for coffee, as it just felt weird to stop there on my own. Continuing my drive along the familiar route, a Burchell's Coucal was in the Poplar grove along one of the drainage canals

Burchell's Coucal (Centropus burchelli)




And at the next dam, I got a sequence of an African Darter taking off

African Darter (Anhinga rufa)






On the way back to the parking, I passed the main dam and picked up a juvenile Fish Eagle that gave some in-flight opportunities, but against a dull grey sky

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer)




I called it a morning, as it was tough emotionally especially with all the good memories running through head that will never be repeated - RIP Andre, your presence will always be felt at the farm!



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