A couple of firsts

Ticking off new sightings on my list always gets me excited. Spending some time at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden provided the opportunity to get these sightings.

I quickly made my way up the relatively steep slope to ensure that I’d be away from any noise and disturbance for a while. While taking a quick rest on a bench I noticed some movement at a flower bed in front of me. I could not believe my luck. I saw a Grey Mongoose quickly run past me. It even stopped for a moment to see if I was a threat.

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There was a great deal of activity around the various fynbos plants in the garden. I heard a bird calling very excitedly, almost screaming. Upon closer inspection it turned out to be a Southern Boubou tucked away inside a bush. I had not seen one of these before. I also won’t forget it with its alarming call. I struggled to capture an image of it.

Even though the garden may be peaceful early in the morning, not all the birds share that sentiment. While walking casually up the fynbos path, I heard a loud shriek. I searched for the source of the noise and saw two Cape Spurfowl’s showing each other who’s boss.

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The Guinea Fowl in the garden are relatively tame due to the high volume of people passing through it daily. As a result you are really able to get up close and get some great shots of them on the various lawns. One pair even had some chicks with them.

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Butterflies are constantly fluttering by. As beautiful as they are, it is very tricky getting a picture of them while they are flying. I only managed to capture one while resting on a flower.

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There is a natural African Forest section part of the garden. They have created an interesting educational section called the Braille Trail. It also provides some stimulation for the blind people who frequent the garden. I took a walk inside, not knowing what I might find. I was inside the forest, along the trail  for only a short while when something caught my eye.

Perched on a branch amongst some trees was an African Goshawk. It sat dead quiet resting in the afternoon heat. It kept a keen eye on me. This was another first for me. I certainly didn’t expect it there.

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There are some really beautiful Golden Orb Spiders to be seen in the tree canopies around The Boomslang Canopy Walkway. The spiders were about the size of my hand and rather intimidating.

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It had been a long day for me and once my memory card had filled up, it was time to go home. I had seen many other birds like Karoo Prinias , Cape Robin-Chats and Cape Bulbuls, among others.

Just before I left the gate I packed my camera away. While doing so I thought to myself, should I clear one or two photos and just wait around at the entrance for another five minutes. I didn’t listen to myself and sure enough, as soon as my camera was away another first made an appearance.

It was a Cape Batis. I didn’t bother unpacking again and decided to just enjoy the sighting for what it was worth.

 

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