The lastest day trips into nature… 

Well it has definitely been a while since I last updated my blog, so here goes…..
I’ve done a few one day trips here and there and most recently long weekend trip out to Kruger National Park.

We’ve had some nice birds, butterflies and moths in the garden lately starting with an unusual visit from the Southern Boubou who seems to be hanging around the area quite a bit. We’ve also had the alien Rose-ringed Parakeets frequenting the area more and more and even landing in nearby tree’s for a rest. In previous months and years they have only ever flown over the house enroute to and from their roosts. The species seems to be becoming more invasive as the years go by.

(L) Southern Boubou. (Top) African Hoopoe. (Bottom) Cream Striped Owl Moth


Its amazing what little creatures you can find in the garden when you go looking for them.  We’ve also had numerous visits from Cream Striped Owl Moths. There has been a population explosion of this species throughout the country, with many people heading to social media to share their sightings. The reason for so many of these moths being around lately is possibly due to the recent drought and then the major rainfall we had which has now provided a good environment for their life cycle to continue in.

(Top row) Karoo Thrush, Red-eyed Dove, African Olive Pigeon. (Bottom row) Speckled Pigeons, Beet Webworm Moth, Common Zebra Blue


A couple of visits to Rietvlei Nature Reserve have produced some nice birds and new insect species. We have seen hundreds of Pied Crows flying around, definitely a ‘murder of crows’, a sweet family of Ant-eating Chats, frantic Pied Starlings, African Hoopoes dust bathing and hundreds of African Migrant Butterlies. 

(Top row) African Hoopoe, Ant-eating Chat, Crimson-breasted Shrike. (Bottom row) African Migrant, Cape Longclaw, Pied Starling.


On the second trip there we had Cattle Egrets catching a ride on the Zebras’ backs, unfortunately I didn’t get a decent photo of that scene. New bugs on that visit included a stunning Eyed Pansy, some sort of Longhorn Beetle and a Crimson-speckled Footman. 

(Top) Egyptian Goose, Green Woodhoopoe, Crimson-speckled Footman. (Bottom) African Grey Hornbill, Eyed Pansy, Longhorn Beetle


Our trip to Pilanesberg was a rather quiet one in terms of animals, but we did get an awesome Leopard sighting, and we even managed to relocate the Ingwe a few times after it kept disappearing. We witnessed a kill…well sort of…we witnessed a Lesser Grey Shrike eating a grasshopper, and got great footage of this too. A lifer on this trip was a Pearl-breasted Swallow, a very sweet little bird.

(Top clockwise) Lesser Grey Shrike, Pearl-breasted Swallow, Rufous-naped Lark, Leopard


Thanks to social media I was alerted to a Half-collared Kingfisher that had been seen at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens bird hide. I wasn’t holding out much hope of seeing this stunner, but I dragged my Mom off to the gardens with me anyway. We sat at the bird hide for approximately 45 min with no luck on the Half-collared, however we did have lovely views of a Pied Kingfisher fishing and preening and posing beautifully. We decided to leave and obviously had the timing just right because as we left the hide and walked up to another little dam, a small flash of blue caught my eye, and before I could even get my binoculars to my eyes I just knew it was the bird I had come to see! I managed to get a few shots of it, before it flew off and actually landed much closer to us, but then straight away it flew off again. I left the gardens as a very happy birder that day!

(Top) Mandarin Duck. (Right) Pied Kingfisher. (Bottom) Half-collared Kingfisher

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