August 18: Birdwatching is Love.

What a day! I was on safari today. Not that i’m not always on safari, because Life is a Safari, but today for the first time in a few years, I was on safari alone. And I was back to the beautiful game reserve where it all began…

I live to take people out into the bush and show them my Africa. I’ll do it for the next few decades, until i’m too shriveled up to drive or talk. But going it alone today meant one thing– I got to birdwatch! And the kind of birdwatching I do can only be done alone. To subject others to it would be just plain unethical. And mean. It means crawling around at 3km/h, watching for the slightest flutter of a feather. It means ignoring almost everything else and switching your brain to ‘bird’. When i’m in the zone, i’m just looking to build a list. As may species as I can possibly count in a short time. I have a terrible tendency to drive right past lions, elephants and other fabulous mammals.

But…

Sometimes it’s worth stopping…

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Sometimes you have to stop…

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Sometimes something is so special you can’t not stop…

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Sometimes something is a Tsessebe. A name so wonderful i’ll be naming my first-born dog/child ‘Tsessebe’…

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Sometimes you take five minutes out to search for something else. Passing by these koppies, I was hoping to find Dassies and Klipspringers and I did…

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Today I had just three hours in the park, but managed to tick 70 bird species. Sadly no ‘lifers’ (a first-time bird), but it didn’t matter. After more than a year away, it was great to see some old friends again.

I love birding. It’s like obsessively collecting stuff, but you don’t end up on that TV show ‘Hoarders’.

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Bird Sightings:

African Spoonbill
Great Egret
Little Egret
Grey Heron
Goliath Heron
Green Backed Heron
African Palm Swift
Cape Wagtail
Crimson Breasted Shrike
Magpie Shrike
Cape Sparrow
Blue Waxbill
Chestnut Vented Tit Babler (yes, that’s its real name)
African Fish Eagle
Pied Crow
White Breasted Cormorant
Reed Cormorant
Blacksmith Lapwing
Pied Kingfisher
White Faced Duck
Egyptian Goose
Sabota Lark
Little Grebe
Kalahari Scrub Robin
Helmeted Guineafowl
Marico Flycatcher
Chinspot Batis
Arrow Marked Babbler
Cape Glossy Starling
African Darter
White Throated Robin Chat
African Grey Hornbill
Yellow Billed Hornbill
African Jacana
Red Billed Teal
Ostrich
Malachite Kingfisher
Dark Capped Bulbul
Swainson’s Spurfowl
Crested Francolin
Pearl Breasted Swallow
Striped Swallow
Violet Eared Waxbill
Fork Tailed Drongo
Grey Lourie
Black Crake
African Snipe
Neddicky
Levailant’s Cisticola
Hamerkop
Laughing Dove
Cape Turtle Dove
Red Eyed Dove
Sacred Ibis
Three Banded Plover
African Stonechat
Black Crowned Tchagra
Familiar Chat
Black Collared Barbet
Southern Boubou
Red Faced Mousebird
Grey Backed Cameroptera
Red Billed Oxpecker
Cinnamon Breasted Bunting
Yellow Fronted Canary
Brown Hooded Kingfisher
African Black Duck
Hadeda Ibis
Kurrichane Thrush
Mocking Cliff Chat

The Non-Birds

Steenbok
Springbok
Impala
Wildebeest
Zebra
Waterbuck
White Rhino
Elephant
Brown Hyena
Crocodile
Hippo
Warthog
Giraffe
Dassie
Kudu
Klipspringer
Tsessebe

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