Lloyd Road lodgers allow photo shoot near Dempsey’s, PE.

Lloyd Road lodgers allow photo shoot near Dempsey’s, PE.

These Lloyd Road Lodgers nonchalantly allowed a photo shoot one hot summer’s day this year, all I had to do was approach slowly and calmly and the scene was mine for the taking. Close up they are distinctly beautiful. They used to be called the ‘Dikkop’ bird, an Afrikaans word meaning ‘thick head’. Their name has been changed to “Thick Knee” bird.

Here’s a post from “Neseier”, a great young blogger living in the Karoo. ‘Neseier’ is Afrikaans for ‘nest egg’. Here she shares her experience of the Thick Knee:- https://greatgardenbirds.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/three-thick-knees/

From Wikipedia:- “The spotted thick-knee, which can reach up to 45.5 cm (17.9 in) in height, has long legs and brown-and-white speckled plumage which provides camouflage making it difficult to spot the bird in the grasslands and savannas where it roams. Its head is large and round with a prominent yellow eye and a short, stout beak. When in flight or standing in a characteristic position with its wings raised, it shows a striking contrasting pattern. Its legs are long and yellow and the tibiotarsal joint is expanded giving it the name “thick-knee”.

The spotted thick-knee is nocturnal and squats on the ground during the daytime making it difficult to spot. It hunts exclusively on the ground, feeding on insects, small mammals and lizards. It also nests on the ground, lining a scrape with grasses, feathers, pebbles and twigs. The female typically lays two eggs, and males and females rear the offspring together, with both bringing food back to the nest. The birds will defend the nest and adopt a defensive pose with wings spread and tail cocked and will even peck an intruder. Sometimes they will fake injuries to lead predators away from the nest.

The spotted thick-knee is native to the grasslands and savannas of sub-Saharan Africa. Its range extends from Senegal, Mali and Mauritania in the west to Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa in the east and south.”

quite tame yet cautious thick knee birds

Quite tame yet cautious Thick Knee birds

 

 

inquisitive yet guarded

Inquisitive yet guarded

 

exposed watch of the thick knee bird

Exposed watch of the Thick Knee bird

 

Concussed on deck, pygmy kingfisher gets a second chance.

Concussed on deck, pygmy kingfisher gets a second chance.

This bright beautiful flew into a window on our deck and was concussed for about 10 minutes. We kept it warm, chatted to it and fed it some water.  It was tiny and the colours were strikingly beautiful. Much to our delight it was up, up and away within 15 minutes of crashing.

 

The African Pygmy Kingfisher is approximately 12–13 cm in length. This is the smallest kingfisher species in the region. A very small kingfisher with rufous underparts and a blue back extending down to the tail. The dark blue crown of the adult separates it from the African dwarf kingfisher. The smaller size and violet wash on the ear coverts distinguish it from the similar malachite kingfisher.

Usually found singly or in pairs. Secretive and unobtrusive. The call is a high-pitched insect-like “tsip-tsip” given in flight. The African pygmy kingfisher is found in woodland, savanna and coastal forest, it is not bound to water. The African pygmy kingfisher’s diet consists of insects like grasshoppers, praying mantis, worms, crickets, dragonflies, cockroaches and moths. They are also known to take spiders which make out quite a large part of their diet. They also take geckos and lizards that are easily their length and small frogs, occasionally small crabs. They nest in tunnels that are dug in sandy soil banks.

Information taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_pygmy_kingfisher

More information on African Pygmy Kingfisher: http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/birds/alcedinidae/ispidina_picta.htm

 

 

 

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Thriving birdlife a few paces from where we live.

Thriving birdlife a few paces from where we live.

rork-tailed drongo

Fork-tailed drongo

black-collared barbet

Black-collared barbet

hoopoe

Hoopoe

black-headed oriole

Black-headed oriole

common fiscal shrike

Common fiscal shrike

Since our darling Boots died last year we have noticed an increase in birds visiting our garden; they are venturing closer to us than before. They didn’t know that Boots was old and mellow and for years wasn’t bothered with birds! We are still to capture though the elusive Knysna Turaco, the Burchell’s Coucal and the busy mousebirds, weavers and bulbuls.

Drongo Shower at Dempsey’s!

Drongo Shower at Dempsey’s!

When you can’t beat the rain, join it! While the rain was recently pounding down, one of our resident fork- tailed drongos enjoyed a lengthy rain shower. He was unphased by the attention and camera clicking. The noise in the video is the rain falling heavily on the roof close by and occasionally drops of water are visible in the video.

Soon we hope to share some photos of baby drongo birds:) Three adults are in charge of the nest in our garden and they are doing a sterling job at protecting their young.

 

keeping watch

Keeping watch

free as a bird

Free as a bird.

water droplets from rain shower

Water droplets from rain shower

fork-tailed drongo at dempsey's

Fork-tailed drongo at Dempsey’s