Despite the Ellingham Estates management recommending we cancel the outing, a few of us who live nearby went to the meeting point anyway, in case some people had not read the email advising of the cancellation. The weather was not too bad, if a bit windy, the roads were muddy in spots but had clearly drained quite well so we decided to take a walk to one of the dams. The rain did come down after a while but before that the four of us had a few good sightings.
As well as the usual suspects (toppies, fiscals, starlings, doves), there were lots of White-eared Barbets though we did also hear one Black Collared Barbet. The Yellow-throated Longclaws were also out in abundance as well as some beautiful Grey Crowned Cranes perching on the top of the trees in full view. The sighting of the day was a bird that we battled to identify until later when Sandy Olver dived into the bird book and let us know that it was a Jacobin Cuckoo. I only realised that I had a picture of it this morning – see what comes of pointing your camera at a tree and hoping for the best when battling to see the bird through the viewfinder. It may be a juvenile still hanging around the surrogate parent. According to Roberts, some Jacobins do stay all year.
The other exciting sighting was a pair of White-backed Ducks in between the lilies. Sandy insisted they were there and eventually we all saw them. The light was not good so it took us a while.
The most hilarious moment of the day was when Sandy and Tina determined to brave the barbed wire fence and harvest some guavas – more of those pictures later.
Photos by Penny de Vries