Thursday, 15 January 2015

Mob justice!

The act of mobbing a predator is a behavior that is common to many species and found in many families of animals. I regularly watch impala in the open walking slowly after a lioness or zebra following and then chasing wildogs. The theory says, "if you let a predator know it has been seen, it won't try hunt you!". There secondary purpose of this behavior (accompanied by a lot of alarm calls) is to notify others of your kind that a predator is around. As a birder you will be rewarded if you learn the alarm calls of the birds in your area and even mimic them to call-in birds.
Yesterday I heard the familiar alarm call of the African paradise fly-catcher in my garden and raced off to see what he had spotted. To my delight, in the perfect light, was a Lizard buzzard being dive-bombed by a pair of flycatchers.

The male Paradise fly-catcher mobbing the Lizard Buzzard

Then the female!

Friday, 9 January 2015

another one for my "Birds and Lions challenge"

A lioness watches a passing swallow
I know its been fairly slow but you try getting images with both lions and birds in the same frame!
That was a challenge I set for myself a while back and here is another.

So below is the complete series to date:

                                                                 The Hwange Birder

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The importance of Peanut-butter!

It is this time of year that I harp on about the importance of Termites to the Hwange ecosystem.
Indeed I feel it is impossible to overstate the importance of these little peanut-butter flavoured beasties!
Just yesterday I was tracking for lions and the sun was shining. We had had almost non-stop rain for weeks and now was the termite's chance to spread wings and look for mates. The air was once again filled with Alates and the predators that eat them!

some unusual predators is a Grey Hornbill taking one in the air.

There were doves and finches, sparrow weavers and white-crowned shrikes as well as kites and eagles, rollers and guineafowl.
A Yellow-billed Kite searches for termites

Hundreds of Bee-eaters cruising for peanut-butter filled termites!

This is the stuff of birder's dreams......
Get out there if you are in Southern Africa...better still, come to Hwange and see it for yourself!

                                                                       The Hwange Birder

Quirky birding!

You will notice that my page header has changed to a new Quirky version of the photographs I have posted over the year. This was put together by a really wonderful illustrator at whom I have had a long association with. Follow the link and see what they can do for you!

Monday, 29 December 2014

Lush abundance!

Vultures flee from a protective lioness
Hwange is looking beautiful now as we have had nonstop rain for a couple of weeks now. There are natural pans everywhere and the expected migrants are here and widespread. Its a season of plenty with a noticeable change in the animals behavior as they can relax a bit and enjoy life.

Still I wait for those large termite emergence s when the Amur Falcons, kites and eagles congregate in their thousands to catch the new Kings and Queens on the wing so watch this space for pictures soon.

All the best for 2015

                                                            The Hwange Birder

Monday, 22 December 2014

Stuff yourself!

Well guys, it is very nearly Christmas! I saw these Ground Hornbills this morning on the way to work and thought the bright colours were appropriate for the season.

Go last mouthful on Christmas day!

Down the hatch!

Unless a Pectoral Sandpiper or that Grasshopper Buzzard pitch up you won't hear from me until after Christmas so have a good one and I wish you all a Bird-filled 2015!

                                                      The Hwange Birder

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Happy outcomes!

Like everyone else, I like a happy ending. Especially when I was involved!
This morning I was driving to work when I saw a small bird fly across the road and my relief at missing him was short lived when I heard him hit my tracking aerial that sticks up from the roof.
"dunggggggggg!". I saw the poor fellow drop onto the road behind me and so slammed on brakes and reversed to see what he WAS!.

As I picked him up and realised it was a Willow warbler he came alive in my hand. Obviously stunned, I put him in the car, and took him with me. At the office I set him up on the branch of a "Lucky bean" and left him to catch his breath. About and hour later I walked out, he saw me approaching and flew up into the canopy.
Alive and well!
Willow warbler catching his breath!

Here is the distribution map of the Willow warbler for your interest. Swiped from Wikipedia (with full credit to).
Willow warbler distribution and migration (thanks Wikipedia)

                                                                   The Hwange Birder