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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Swallows planning their winter travels

I visited the Sundays River Valley in early April and while enjoying the view from the Sir Percy Fitzpatrick Lookout noticed a couple of swallows on an aloe. It looked like they were having a conversation and I imagined it to be about their upcoming trip north. I'm no bird expert so as soon as I got home I had a quick look in my bird book to see what they were, and they turned out to be lesser striped…

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Blue Cranes at sunset

As the sun was setting in the west after an amazing game drive at Samara Private Game Reserve near Graaff-Reinet, we stood with gin and tonics in hand enjoying the end of another stunning late winter Karoo Heartland day. Suddenly we heard a noise over a nearby rise. The 'krraaarrr krraaarr’ call of blue cranes. Not one or two, but a flock of at least 60 or 70 coming in to overnight at the nearby waterhole. They first did us…

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Geese prints

Last week while Miggie was playing cricket at Heatherbank Cricket Club / Youth Cricket Academy in Walmer, I strolled around the field to get some pics of her batting. Passing the nets I noticed foot prints in the cement and had a closer look. They weren't dog prints or cat prints or even those of some little kid. It looks like an Egyptian Goose decided to take a stroll through the cement while it was still wet.

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Van Stadens bird hide

Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve's bird hide The 600 ha Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve is located about 35km west of Port Elizabeth. The reserve stretches from the Van Stadens mountain to the coast and its main purpose is to protect the area's unique indigenous Fynbos vegetation. It's always worth popping into the reserve because there's always some type of protea in bloom. But Van Stadens isn't just about vegetation and views of the Van Stadens gorge, it also boasts a birding…


Flamingos at Swartkops

One of the things I really enjoy about driving past Swartkops to Uitenhage is seeing the flamingos in the estuary and salt pans. Usually I'm in a hurry to get to where I have to be and I really need to stop more often and take some more photos of them.

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Black Oyster Catcher nest on the Wild Coast

The Wild Coast is all about the rugged coastline, beautiful beaches, rolling green hills, dramatic waterfalls, spectacular river mouths, friendly and hospitable people.  So in fact that many visitors often miss the little things.  And y'all know how I can go on about not just looking at the bigger picture when you are travelling.A little while ago I was staying at Wavecrest Hotel and took an early morning walk down to the river mouth.  It was raining all night and…


Black Oyster Catchers

I remember how people were moaning when they banned all driving on beaches back in 2002.  One of the reasons given for the ban was the Black Oyster Catcher and how vehicles driving on the beaches destroyed nests, and thus eggs, as well as killed chicks.  The pro beach driving group blew this off as rubbish yet research have shown an increase in Black Oyster Catcher numbers since the ban has been implemented.  A win for conservation and the environment. 

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