Tuesday, September 15, 2015


In the previous post I mentioned looking out over the lake as the sun rose in the African sky. Later in the morning, birds dropped down to the exposed rocks near the middle of the lake to bathe and to drink. The balcony was an excellent spot to just sit and see what turned up - before I took this photo, Blacksmith Lapwings had been busy at the waters edge feeding and preening. When they took off, the Indian Myna's arrived followed by the Moorhen. The two Cattle Egrets had been there for some time and were later joined by another. Hawking insects over the lake were Lesser-striped and White-throated Swallows along with a few Rock Martins. Weavers were busy at the lakeside reeds and an early male Stonechat was joined by a female just below where I was sitting.

There were plenty of other birds around at that time of the morning - mostly common winter species but as it was warming up to an early Spring, many were nest building. Later walking around the estate, we found the nest of a White-bellied Sunbird - the male singing nearby. The female once stuck her head out before retreating again. Stonechats (male pictured above) were seen most mornings feeding in the garden and amongst the dried grasses and rocky areas to the right of the house.

I did the painting above as another example of the South African landscape - just a typical scene one would come across driving around the highveld in Winter. I'm not trying at this point to do anything too adventurous as I'm still feeling my way in so to speak and I don't expect to be able to come close to what I feel about what I am seeing around me. 'Near Harrismith' is an oil on canvas, size 5" x 9" (13cm x 23cm).


john said...

Nice little painting. Your bird sightings put me in mind of my first morning in South Africa. We were staying at a place in the Joberg suburb of Benoni. Just walking around the neighborhood I racked up more species of birds than I had ever seen in one place in my life.
The next day we went to nearby Marievale and Suikerbosrand reserves where I almost doubled the previous day's total. The spectacular birding and wildlife viewing just kept getting better as the trip progressed. Certainly a highlight of my life.

Jeremy Pearse said...

John thanks, and I'm right with regarding SA birdlife - amazing. Did you blog about your trip? When I lived there I didn't do as much birding as I would have liked so on my return visits I made sure I got up early and saw as much as I could. There are more exciting birds to come later as we head down to the 'Berg'.

John Holmes said...

Although I already had an older version, I bought the latest SASOL Field Guide (to SA birds) when I was in Cape Town in 2012.

It's a fine book.

Jeremy Pearse said...

I have the older book - Steve has the newer version - and you are right, it is a fine book. And actually the only one we use in the field.