Well my first attempt at getting the Kites to come down to the bone lying on the lawn failed. They swooped over and over but were not sure of this big lump of dinner below them! Next day the same but an uninvited guest turned up and he wasn't shy at all - Here's where I want to cry All the photos I got my DH to download were not accepted onto the hardrive and unfortunately he had already deleted the card! We have a friend who may be able to rescue the photos......but they were of our new feathered friend called 'Woolly' eating at the bone. He is a Woolly Neck Stork and flew in from parts unknown. Definitely not too common where we live! After that, one Kite came and tugged at the bone meat but it was misty and drizzling so I didn't get any photos. What happened next with Woolly was this! A confrontation with an Ibis or what we call a Hadeda.
We have discovered there is a Hadeda nest in the tree above our carport. That must have been mommy Hadeda coming down to protect her chicks. Woolly appeared again today and was wondering why we have a safety cover on the pool - "I can't swim if you do this!" I have some great shots but they will have to wait for tomorrow. I need a pain tablet right now.
Whooo, Tod ~~ you and your birds just keep surpassing yourselves!
Wooly's landing lights are amazing. You captured his "what tha...??" expression perfectly. Gosh, that planting area around the bird bath is so lush and beautifully mixed. I got quite distracted admiring it.
Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words ~~ that second shot of Wooly's vertical take-off really gives an idea of his perfect design and strength.
All that moss on the roof! Does it stay green and thick like that all year round?
Thanks Bixa, you are very kind. I wish some of the photos were a little better but I guess I was lucky to get some of the shots at all!
The moss on the roof comes and goes. A lot washes off during a heavy downpour and dies away a bit in winter (July). I think storks eat anything from frogs to a bit of vegetation. I also think they like young chicks in the nest! My bird book says they are loner's but large influxes arrive in Summer at lakes, flood-pans, and esturies, and well wooded areas. I guess living opposite a very large farm that has a fair sized dam helps the birdlife in our area and we consider ourselves very fortunate indeed.
The kite chicks have finally fledged and are spreading their wings in short bursts. Yesterday one of the two chicks flapped from branch to branch landing unsuccesfully and falling off a couple of times! Here are the two with an adult - taken in 'etched' style:
Woolly seems to have taken up residence permanently and stands in front of the glass door until I come out and give him some meaty snack. I throw it over to him and don't want to encourage him to eat from my hand as this could endanger him by being caught by someone who will spit-roast him in an instant..... Here he is preening his feathers yesterday.
Great pictures, Tod. The kite chicks look pretty grown-up in silhouette. You can really see the two of them discussing what a loooong way it is to the ground.
Is Wooly a fully-grown bird? That must have been a temptation to hand-feed such a magnificent wild animal. Still, speaking of spit-roasting ( ;D), he certainly looks as if he could skewer your hand if he enthusiastically darted for what you held out.
Yes Bixa, the chicks are as big as their parents now and doing some low flying over the chicken pieces! I am not at all sure about Woolly. He is pooping big time on my patio near the sliding door and tonight my naughty husband threw a piece of sausage just inside our diningroom and Woolly came inside to retrieve it! My DH thinks it's great that a woollynecked stork has been inside the house! I'm not so sure. Bird poop (that size) isn't at all appealing..........
At last I managed to capture the Forktailed Drongos that were such a nuisance to the Kites. Here is the baby they were trying to steer the Kites away from: As big as mum & dad but still yelling to be fed......actually he talks babytalk to his parents. It is so cute I wish I could send you a recording!
Tod, I have to say that this is one of my favorite threads ever and you really keep it alive and interesting. Your photos are so good, and the information is wonderful. That detail about the birdy baby talk made my day. Who knew?! Just great ~~ thanks!
Thanks Bixa ! A photo opportunity like that doesn't happen too often as the Drongo's usually feed on the ground, picking up the mealworms we throw out. I think nature instils an alertness that teaches the baby to sit higher up away from danger. As parrots can learn to talk and so can Crows, I am sure this bird would learn to talk if it were hand reared in a home.....but that would be too sad for words
I just adore this thread and all the marvelous photos posted in here!! Here's a female ruby throated hummingbird on an Abutilon flower bloom I caught yesterday experimenting with my new camera. A fair number of these hummingbirds winter over here from their sojourn North of here.
Good shot Casimira! I've yet to try and snap one on a flowering shrub in my garden. They are so quick it's hard to follow them through the lense.
Over the Christmas holidays our stork friend, Woolly, brought his girlfriend along to share his daily enjoyment of chicken gizzards, catfood and other meaty morsels. We were overjoyed to see this slightly smaller stork and named her Woolleen! Here are the two lovebirds next to the pool - dig the one leg stance
Hey thanks - I never noticed! Woolleen actually is the tamer one. Yesterday I went to warm up some chicken for the two of them and she followed me through the sliding door into the diningroom! I have an open-plan kitchen so I expect her to come farther in at some stage
Nearer to home, down at the Lakeside Cafe` area where we often eat on Saturdays, we noticed this Indian Mynah bird being really destructive - he darted back and forth to this weaver nest, pulling at the grass entwined around a branch which held the nest above the water. I have no idea why he should be doing this but the Mynah bird is considered vermin in the city of Durban. We have very few up here away from the coast.
Here the poor weaver does it's best to shoo him away.
Ohhh, Tod ~~ aside from it being a great way to show how relaxed a wild bird can be around humans, that's really a fantastic photograph. Really -- the subject matter, the composition, the poses, and the beauty of both subjects -- just wow.
Spotted in the early evening yesterday - eating worms off my totally destroyed cycad leaves was this VERY secretive bird - The Red-Chested Cuckoo or in South Africa also known as a "Piet My Vrou"(Peter my wife). It is heard in the early mornings and late afternoons calling relentlessly for a mate. We hear them but have never seen one until now!
Ha, he's a day late & a dollar short with worm patrol, isn't he?
Tod, how long did it take you to get that amazing picture? Not only did you catch the worm in his beak, but it prompted me to look for more of the nasty marauders. There is even one in motion on the left-hand side.
Can't believe I missed seeing this yesterday. Your backyard has become my window to an exotic bird world!
Not long - I had to make a mad dash inside to grab the camera without frightening him off - Only when I checked the photo did I recognise the cuckoo from my bird book. The next late afternoon /early evening we tried to entice him back by playing his bird call from my cellphone. The SASOL South African Birds is able to be uploaded from the internet onto a cellphone and is marvellous detailed information about the areas, the habits and most importantly a photo & description of each bird, together with the birdcall. You have no idea what fun it is to trick a bird into thinking it has competition! I also have the ROBERTS birds info on another phone but the battery seems to have packed up and I can only get one from the Far East