Safari specialist Astrida Sadde has decided to embark on an adventure to South Africa as the call of the wilderness has been increasingly stronger after a year of almost no travel. In the last year with all the additional spare time we were forced to have all over the world (except for frontline workers which we admire hugely!) we have all grown and pick up new hobbies or activities that keep us entertained. What no one saw coming was that Astrida you become a very passionate amateur… birder!.
Starting in lockdown with backyard birdwatching in Caracas (Venezuela), Astrida has now started her African list which has steadily been increasing thanks to the myriad of migratory birds that, not fearing any sort of quarantine, have made their way to this part of the world in search of food, potential mates, or to raise the future generations.
When the days are slow and the cats are asleep, birds are very laborious little (ore big) creatures that will often catch our attention and keep us glued to our cameras, binoculars or bird books for identification purposes.
Seeing all the fun we’ve had looking for smaller creatures in the African wild, we’d though we would share with you a selection of some of Astrida’s favorites.
Yellow-billed kite (Milvus aegyptius). This is one of the first summer migrant to arrive during the summertime, and to many it signal the onset of the warmer days.
Cardinal Woodpecker (Dendropicos fuscescens). The smallest woodpecker we see in the Greater Kruger Area (South Africa) area and have a soft spot for the Sausage tree (K. africana) fruit.
Brown snake eagle (Circaetus cinereus). They are defined as “new world eagle” and aren’t considered “true” eagles as their legs are bare and not covered by feathers (a protective adaptation to face their preferred prey: snakes).
European Bee-eater Merops apiaster). They come from Southern Europe following the abundant food sources (insects) in the southern parts of African.
Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus). This female is currently being rehabilitated at the Dullstroom Bird of Prey Centre, she is made to fly every afternoon to exercise her wing that was damaged in a car accident. We are hoping the next we visit she would have taken to the skies again as her recovery process was looking promising!
White-backed vulture (Gyps africanus). We took the opportunity to snap a photograph during the rain, the white skies and the raindrops made for a great mood photograph.
Brown-headed parrot (Poicephalus cryptoxanthus). Often recognized as a bolt of bright green accompanied by a shrieking sound we were delighted to spot this one taking advantage of a power-line pole.
White-bellied sunbird (Cinnyris talatala). Meet John, a male that frequents our garden and can often be seen in the wintertime feeding on the nectar of the aloes’ flowers.
Grey-headed bushshrike (Malaconotus blanchoti). Also known ghost bird as its call if often heard but the bird seldom seen.
Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio). These little guys aren’t afraid to go the long way. They return to Southern Africa every year to the same breeding sites before travelling 10.000km back to Europe