Rufousnaped Lark

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Week 08 - Stock take, Northern Farms and Home

What with financial year end at work and a stock take to boot there was not much opportunity for a dedicated bird outing. I managed to get to Northern Farms for a few hours before collecting my repaired 50D and then heading off to work to check the stock take progress.

Northern Farms is owned and run by Johannesburg Water and is popular for horse riding, bird watching, mountain biking and hiking. Unfortunately the mountain bikers have overrun the place claiming that their revenue keeps the place alive. Giving them the right to harass the birders and making it generally difficult to take photos or get good views without being disturbed. Their idea of fun is to cycle past between you and the bird you are lining up for a photo and ask what you are photographing.....needless to say I got only 1 photo for the day!

Levaillants Cisticola

The whole purpose of going to Northern Farms was to see Yellow Wagtail which frequent the cattle enclosures in the summer. Unfortunately after much searching I failed to find one (I can't even blame the cyclists for that). I did however manage to pick up a few year birds including Great Crested Grebe, Orange-breasted Waxbill and Green-backed Heron. I still managed a reasonable list of 60 species in the few hours spent there.

After collecting my camera I set off to work and while waiting for the first stock lists to process, looked around for birds out of my office window. As Murphy would have it they wouldn't play the game, the usual Familiar Chats were absent, the swallows were missing and the Cape Wagtails were foraging in the far corner of the yard.So when you're desperate to photograph something, anything will do. The lock on the gate, the number plate on a car and eventually a Cape Wagtail..

Cape Wagtail on the cable drums in the yard

Cape Wagtail foraging in the parking lot!

Stray Cat on the lookout for careless Wagtails!

Monday morning arrived again and I just had to photograph a bird of sorts. Luckily our resident Red-eyed Dove was preening on the aerial and this had to suffice to check the camera out.

Red-eyed Dove

Tuesday the 1st was slower at work after the year end rush had abated so I left work early to find some more photographic opportunities at home. With my leaf suit on I headed out into the garden for some common garden birds.

Cape Sparrow Female

Common Fiscal (Shrike)

Karoo Thrush in full song

Finally a willing subject in the form of our resident Cape Robin-Chat decided to pose for some photos and these are the results. This is definately my favourite garden bird (he/she was duly rewarded with some juicy meal worms from my worm farm)!

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Cape Robin-chat (8)

Thats all I have this week. Next weekend its off to look for Melodius Larks and JP is coming through from Nelspruit to look for the Grey Wagtail. I think a trip to Rietvlei may be on the cards for Sunday (seeing as its my first weekend in two weeks!! Toodles!!

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