Perseverance Pays Off

Reports of a Western Yellow Wagtail at Betty’s Bay had us rushing off there and searching the beach three times before we eventually saw the little creature yesterday afternoon.  We had spent over two hours looking on the first two visits, but yesterday it appeared as we arrived, so we were very excited.  Not only did we see the Waggie, but the beach has four African Black Oystercatcher nests and we saw both eggs and chicks.

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On the path to the beach we got a pair of Long-billed Crombecs and two Southern Bou Bous, making for a good haul.  We had time on our hands, so went off to Rooi Els to see if we could find Cape Rockjumpers, but to no  avail.  Then, looking up at the cliffs for a Verreaux’s Eagle, I spotted an unusual raptor and was thrilled to be able to identify it later as a Eurasian Hobby, a most unusual bird for these parts!

It was a great outing and added two species to my Western Cape list!

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Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters

A report from SARBN indicated the presence of these birds on the road into Rooisand, so we wasted no time in going to look for them.  We counted no less than eight birds along the fence.  This was a truly great experience, seeing these beautiful creatures outside of their normal range.  Then, on the way home, we saw a Secretarybird walking in the field just opposite the entrance to Benguella Cove, so the afternoon was well spent, indeed!

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Blue-cheeked Bee-eater at Rooisand

Baboons

A birding walk on Lemoenkop, in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, this morning turned up a few good birds, as well as a meeting with a small troop of baboons.  The latter were in our path and were not inclined to move on when approached.  John walked to within a metre or two of the Alpha male, but he would not budge, until John made to throw something at him.  Only then did he trundle away.  Austrian visitors with us were quite disconcerted by the whole thing and were very glad when the path eventually cleared!

Acrolophia ustulata revisited

Having been intrigued by the different colours displayed in a group of six Acrolophia ustulata, found in Fernkloof, we revisited there this morning to try to get better photographs.  At first we found 4 separate plants with dark maroon flowers, but could not locate the group of 6.  We spent half an hour searching, before eventually finding them right where I thought they should be!  It just shows how difficult it is to see these tiny plants.

Anyway, the upshot of it all was that we found no less than 10 plants in a small area of around 10 sq. metres, which was really exciting, and testimony to the fact that there are probably many more around.  Furthermore, we were able to conclusively show three distinct colours; maroon, yellow and brick-red, so were well pleased with our effort.

Respecting Symmetry

Who would have thought that a Monkey Beetle, whilst seeking nourishment in a wild Orchid, would arrange it’s hind legs so as to conform to the symmetry of the flower it is busy attacking.  Well, this one did and it looks, to the uninitiated, as if it is merely a part of the flower!

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Hunting Orchids Again

A walk in Fernkloof this morning produced a couple of good things.

The first was meeting up with two young lads from Cape Town, Odin and Juno (godly names, indeed!) who were also out looking for plants.  Odin’s main interest was Droseras and he showed a surprisingly good knowledge of these fascinating carnivorous plants.  He also had a keen interest in Orchids and together we hunted for and photographed some good specimens.  How nice to know that there are still some young people who see more to life than playing with their devices or watching TV!

The orchids seen included a good number of Acrolophia ustulata, both the dark maroon common ones as well as a plant with yellow flowers and another with brick-red petals.  Is this a new colour!  We also saw Holothrix brevipetala, the inevitable Disa bracteata, Disa cylindrica and Disa ophrydea