Published: September 3rd 2010September 3rd 2010
A barn owl sat on the roof of the truck screeching softly right through the night and no it wasn’t a bad omen he was just having take out dinner on the fly. It was quite something knowing he was right above us especially when the truck rocked ever so slightly from his weight every time he took off or landed on the roof above the vent where he sat catching flying insects and massive grasshoppers which were attracted to our light. He probably ate rodents for dessert which we had inadvertently attracted for him by putting those disgusting bones out from those horrible heads.
That was the setting for our next stop which was at the stunning waterfalls a few kilometres outside the town of Niewoudville. We stayed a few days, parked on the old road, complete with built in braai and a river which flowed right under us attracting loads of weavers and bishops. Early mornings we’d walk along the gorge ledge and watch the raptors soaring on the currents. Our binocs were glued to our eyes as we scanned for nests since it was spring and the birds and the bees were doing their thing.
watched the male weavers working hard at building their nests to impress the indifferent females and couldn’t help admiring the undomesticated and non family orientated cuckoos which I couldn’t see but I knew were there. They were watching, waiting, timing their move in on the unsuspecting weavers who couldn’t count past three. If cuckoos find an unattended finch nest holding 3 eggs they consider it an invite to pop one of their own eggs into the nest for the diligent weaver to nurture for them. Now that’s a lazy, low maintenance non committal wife if ever. Let some surrogate victim do the hard work of raising a pink featherless chick who knocks off the smaller defenceless baby weavers and then screeches all day long for more food. The weaver parents don’t go “gee whiz this kid is getting bigger than me, heck I’m working double time to keep it from going hungry.” And then finally the baby cuckoo is able to fly and disappears off into the sunset to find its fortune, leaving relieved weaver parents to start all over again.
Now that today’s birding lesson is done, I’m off for a G & T.
There are more photos below