The Escort

Cape Point offers a lot more fantastic wildlife opportunities than the odd ostrich that crosses the road en route to the lighthouse and restaurants.

I spent a day in the nature reserve only focusing on spotting wildlife and I was presently surprised by the diversity that this park holds. There is one specific sighting that really fascinated me. I have recently fallen in love with the Jackal Buzzard. These raptors exude major attitude and definitely dominate the skies. Or so I thought.

While following one of the roads in the park, I saw a Jackal Buzzard glide across a hill top. I stopped and viewed this majestic bird of prey for a moment. Then the craziest event happened.

Jackal Buzzard flying over the cliff

The Jackal Buzzard started moving in closer to the hill. All of a sudden a large flock of Red Winged Starlings took flight. I really wasn’t sure what was going on, but then I realised that they must have been nesting and that Jackal Buzzard just came in too close for comfort.

These little starlings are far smaller than the raptor, but together they banded together and seemed to escort the intruder away from their nests.

Jackal Buzzard Being escorted 1

There was easily 100 birds that took to the sky. It was incredible to listen to the noise that they were making and the urgency at which they removed this imposter from their territory.

Jackal Buzzard Being escorted 2

Once the Jackal Buzzard was far enough from the starlings, the commotion subsided and the hill returned to its peaceful state as if nothing had happened.

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Water abound

Winter is still in full swing and as such the bird life is not as active as in summer.

I was quite surprised by the amount of water that Cape Town has received recently. The last time that I visited Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Cape Town, all the salt pans were still bone dry. I paid a quick visit there the weekend that passed and it looks like the whole place had flooded. All the pans are soaked and the wetland looks completely transformed.

Rietvlei with water

As a result of all the water bodies, I was able to shoot from another hide called Old Friends Hide. During the dry season it is almost impossible getting any shots from this hide, but when surrounded by water there is a plethora of birds around. The various species would either gather in the nearby reeds, in the water, on the banks or even fly by right in front of the hide.

There has recently been a lot of Cape Clawless Otter sightings around the viewing hides. I was fortunate enough to finally see one too. Unfortunately I was unable to get a pic of one as it caught me by surprise.