Far too many tourists drive about seeking one species of animal after the other in their quest to chalk up as many as they can – even driving past elephants, zebra and kudu because of a “we’ve seen them” attitude – with eyes peeled for the ultimate prize: the sight of a lion. We see bored faces in vehicles as the day progresses, listless looks of bafflement when a passing vehicle asks what we are looking at and we respond “birds” or even tell them what bird we might be looking at. “Birds,” one might say or simply give a nod of the head as they move on in their quest.
Watching out for birds in any game reserve adds to the enjoyment of the environment as a whole. Here are a few of the many seen on our recent trip to the Addo Elephant National Park:
A ubiquitous Common Fiscal. Note how it is holding on to the twigs to keep it steady in the stiff breeze.
A young Olive Thrush perching inquisitively on our picnic table. Notice that it is still covered with speckles.
Cape Bulbuls, such as this one abound in the rest camp.
Large flocks of Pied Starlings can be seen all over in the park.
It is always fun seeing Speckled Mousebirds fly across the road or to working their way through bushes as they look for leaves, berries or flowers to eat.
Beautiful Malachite Sunbirds show flashes of metallic green as they pass by in a flash.
Who can resist the delicate beauty of a Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk?
How fortunate it was to find a Greater Striped Swallow at rest!
One can almost be guaranteed to find a Bar-throated Apalis at the picnic site.
Lastly, for now, is a Sombre Bulbul (now called a Sombre Greenbul!).