Birding on Sibuya
There are many magnificent migrants in residence at the moment. A small flock of WHITE STORKS (Ciconia ciconia) have settled on the plains at Edendale and lately have been sharing an abundant supply of grasshoppers with AMUR FALCONS (Falco amurensis), BLACK-SHOULDERED KITES (Elanus caeruleus), a pair of SECRETARYBIRDS (Sagittarius serpentarius) and even a couple of EUROPEAN ROLLERS (Coracias garrulous).
EUROPEAN ROLLER PREENING
AFRICAN SHELDUCK 'WAITING'
WERNER'S STORY: AFRICAN SHELDUCK SAGA
Passing one of the small dams while out on Game Drive a couple of months ago, one of my guests noticed that for the past two days, a SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK (Tadorna cana) had been sitting in the exact same spot. It was up to me to try and explain why this monogamous (pair for life) beautiful dull grey-headed bird was sitting there, without its mate. Being new to the Eastern Cape, I was not too acquainted with this species and explained that this could probably be the female (forgetting that it is actually the male that has the duller grey head in this species) and that there was a chance that her mate might have died due to age or predation. One of my soft-hearted guests burst into tears, feeling sorry for the duck that was seemingly forever waiting for its mate to return. The next day, the guest requested that we go back again for an update to see what had happened...sadly, there 'she' sat on her vigil, which precipitated another flood of tears! Luckily I work with an expert birder, Mike, and upon discussing this with him, I was glad that he could tell me that this was in fact NOT a female but a male. During early summer, the female would probably be sitting on eggs... so that was the more likely scenario. It was rewarding for me to see that some people are still so caring about animals and that they feel so deeply for them. My soft-hearted teary-eyed guest was very pleased to receive an email from me, up-dating her on the happy ending: a few short weeks later there were two proud parents with 7 beautiful fluffy ducklings!
JACKAL BUZZARD IN FLIGHT
MIKE'S STORY: JACKAL BUZZARD VERSUS CAPE COBRA.
On a recent game drive we spotted a beautiful JACKAL BUZZARD (Buteo Rufofuscus) perched on a nearby tree. I stopped the vehicle so my guests could get a good look at this beautiful bird. No sooner had I stopped than the Buzzard took off and went into a purposeful glide down to the ground. As the Buzzard hit the ground I immediately saw the spread hood of a CAPE COBRA. A battle ensued and it looked like the Buzzard was going to win this one, but it then decided to fly off with the snake and the odds changed. As it took off with the snake dangling a good three-quarters of a meter down from the bird's talons, the snake got tangled in a low bush and was ripped out of the bird's grasp and made good its escape. One snake-lover on my vehicle was pleased with the outcome, while the rest were sad that the Buzzard had lost his meal.