The original illustrations of the Roberts Birds of South Africa book

A little while ago I visited Graaff-Reinet for a Karoo Heartland Marketing Association meeting at the Drostdy hotel. I arrived a little early and noticed tons of bird pictures up on the walls. While admiring them somebody asked if I knew that they were the original illustrations of the Roberts Birds of South Africa book. Say what? Now there's something I didn't know. Austin Roberts’ The Birds of South Africa was first published in 1940 and has been in print…

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Who-hoo are you? The Spotted Eagle Owl up my tree

I was busy in the back garden and got the feeling that I was being watched. I looked up into my neighbour's tree and noticed the owner of the eyes sitting on a branch. The owner turned out to be a Spotted Eagle-Owl. They are around as I've heard them on occasion and have spotted them a couple of times while on a late-night neighbourhood watch patrol. It was just weird to see him sitting there during the day and…

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Brown Hooded Kingfisher

When you sit playing around with your camera and a Brown Hooded Kingfisher suddenly appears to come and show you what he caught. Even better, when it happens in the Karoo Heartland. I was sitting on the stoep at Lowlands Country House and suddenly he landed nearby, waited for me to snap a pic and then kinda threw the insect in the air and swallowed it. The Brown-Hooded Kingfisher (Halcyon albiventris) is a tree kingfisher and found in Sub-Saharan Africa, living in…

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People watching

Taking a walk along Port Elizabeth beachfront I spotted this kelp gull standing on a light pole along the walkway looking at all the sun worshippers go by.  People watching. That's the life.

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Red Knobbed Coot

While out on a paddle boat on the dam during our return visit to the Montagu Caravan Park in December, I heard a couple of birds calling in the reeds.  On closer inspection it turned out to be a mother Red Knobbed Coot and two chicks.   The Red-knobbed Coot or Crested Coot, (Fulica cristata), is a member of the rail and crake bird family, the Rallidae.  It is a resident breeder across much of Africa and in southernmost Spain and normally…


Brown-hooded Kingfisher

On a game drive at Pumba Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth our ranger pointed out a Brown-hooded Kingfisher sitting in a tree next to the game drive vehicle.  The next thing he said kinda got our attention.  He asked us to look around and see if we could see any body of water.  There was none.  The Brown-hooded Kingfisher doesn't necessarily feed on fish but also on insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked…