19 February 2024

The Holy Grail of SA Moth's

05 December 2023 - AlMega Caravan Park; Dinokeng - Day 3

My wife had gone to the ablution block and on return told me there was a big green insect near the door (she wasnt wearing her glasses). I went to check and imagine my astonishment when I discovered it was an African Moon Moth - this to me is the Africa Pitta of the Moth world as it is mystical and magical. As a young boy, I collected butterflies, but I had always wanted to find a Lunar Moth, as I knew the pictures didnt do it justice. So, here I am many decades and travels later and my wife finds one for me! It is the Holy Grail of South African moths for me and I was elated, to say the least...

African Moon Moth (Argema mimosae)

Since I was up, I had a quick walk around the perimeter of the camp, finding an obliging Crested Francolin that was claiming it's territory

Crested Francolin (Ortygornis sephaena)

Then a pair of Tree Squirrel's showing some affection in the early morning sun

Tree Squirrel (Paraxerus cepapi)

Later a couple of Magpie Shrike's

Magpie Shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus)

I then heard yet another Red-chested Cuckoo calling, but this one was calling on the wing and I was perfectly positioned as it flew by in front of me - my best images of this Cuckoo ever

Red-chested Cuckoo (Cuculus solitarius)

On the overhead line, a Neddicky called

Neddicky (Cisticola fulvicapilla)

Followed by a Crimson-breasted Shrike preening in the open

Crimson-breasted Shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus)

At the entrance gate, a Red-billed Buffalo Weaver had a nest and was very skittish. Every time someone got too close, it would disappear into it's nest

Red-billed Buffalo Weaver (Bubalornis niger)

At reception, Southern Grey-headed Sparrows warmed up in the sun

Southern Grey-headed Sparrow (Passer diffusus)

Back at our camp, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and the Groundscraper Thrush that was feeding nearby on the lawn

Groundscraper Thrush (Turdus litsitsirupa)

The Levaillant's was still flying around the camp

Levaillant's Cuckoo (Clamator levaillantii)

And a Marico Fly warmed up in the sun

Marico Flycatcher (Melaenornis mariquensis)

There were many Millipede's on the lawn


and my wife picked up a Southern Tree Agama in the tree next to our tent

Southern Tree Agama (Acanthocercus atricollis)

What a pleasant way to spend our morning before having to pack up and return to Midrand. We loved this campsite and will certainly be back in the new year.

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