Thursday, October 1, 2015


It is barely light as I ease myself out of the door of our chalet and step into the cool dawn. Red-winged and Pied Starlings call from the tree outside and I hear the chatter of weaver finches nearby. Walking down to the headland overlooking the water, canaries sing in the trees as I pass and across the dam, distant calls of Hadeda Ibis.

High up, cirrus clouds glow in the morning sun, a faint pink etched against the blue - the sun has yet to crest the hill to the East. Fiscal Shrikes are already active and in the reedbeds, Long-tailed Wydowbirds (the males still in Winter plumage) flutter to and fro. The air is full of bird calls and as I gaze across the distant landscape, a lone Blesbok lopes away. Up on the ridge nearby, I spot 3 Ostrich - two males and a female - they would soon join us below! A cool breeze called for a jacket this morning but as the sun rises, it soon warms up. By now I have reached the hillside overlooking the water and the view is magnificent. A White-breasted Cormorant flies along the shoreline heading for deeper water and close in are hundreds of Red-knobbed Coots. The surrounding landscape is simply stunning - more so when coloured by the rays of the sun as it crests the ridge. I am already planning paintings in my mind and am almost overwhelmed by choice. Yet another spectacular morning in Africa.

Painting above - Wattled Crane, watercolor on Arches paper, 12" x 9" (30cm x 23cm). Notes above from my Qwantani diary. Photos: (1) Looking across Sterkfontein Dam, (2) Pied Starling and (3) Red-winged Starling (both these species along with Black-eyed BulBuls, weavers etc were hoping to join me for breakfast).


John Holmes said...

"Overwhelmed by choice..." - that's a great problem to have !

A fine-looking rendition of the Wattled Crane.

Jeremy Pearse said...

John thanks, it was an incredible trip.