New Neighbours

You'd think after nearly 9 years in the same house, we would have seen all the natural wildlife there is to see here - right? Apparently not.

As loud as TV and computer were, the strident chant of an unknown bird had my son and I at the front windows in seconds. It's the way our ears work - picking out unusual bird song in an instant and zoning in on its location.

Sure enough, shyly perched on a fence post was something we had to seek out in the Bird Book, something we hadn't seen or heard before. After paging at least 5 times through all the colour plates, we found it - we hoped. A Bokmakirie, resplendant in olive green and yellow, with a dashing black bib hooked up to its eyeballs and flung across its chest!

Being shy though, it flew off as soon as it noticed our peering eyes next to the curtains.

Later in the day, I heard the unmistakeable (LOUD!) call yet again, and there it was - perched on the same pole. But the call came in stereo - another hid in the mulberry bush.

It seems we have a pair.

I have yet to be woken up in the early morning by them (which is more than I can say for the assorted guineafowl and francolins, doves, pigeons and weavers who bombard the bird food before it's properly light), but I suspect it would be a call that's kinda hard to sleep through. For a little bird they make one heck of a noise!

Wonder if there are any other birdish surprises in store for us, as spring arrives and winter (we hope, one day, eventually) dissapates? We're armed and ready, Bird Book, binoculars, camera and pencil at the ready. Come forth and be identified!


As an aside, we're pretty keen on identifying stuff in nature. Recently we were in a local bookstore and realized we may just have to take an entire library with us on our Africa Trek - there are books for everything from beasty-footprints, to birds, to mammals, to trees, to snakes & reptiles, to rocks & minerals, to... well, you get the idea.

Pity there's not internet-by-satellite in the middle of the bush (Google Bush?) - but perhaps we can find CDRom versions of these. If not, we'll have to either cut back on the food or the sleeping bags...

And just as I was about to hit "publish" I found the PDA version of our bird book. There's hope!

- photo credit