Bird sightings at The Last Word Madikwe Bush House.

"Like the vibrant plumage of a Cape Glossy Starling, let your colors shine boldly and fearlessly. Embrace your uniqueness and spread your wings of confidence, for the world awaits your dazzling flight of success." Anon




When trying to capture birds in flight, this is usually the image(s) that I end up with…And I know that I am not alone. Many amateur (and professional) bird photographers have dozens of images like this stored on a hard drive, forgotten in some drawer in a cupboard.

These images are why I have so much respect for avian photographers who will spend hours waiting for that one perfect shot. I, on the other hand, are more of a make it big with teeth and claws or even bigger with tusks and horns…none of which is applicable in this particular post.




Therefore, when I manage to catch one in flight, I get excited. I have to say that these doves were relatively easy to predict in which direction they would take of.

It did take MANY images, but I finally got a couple that deemed to be usable.




Cattle Egret searching for a meal. It only visited the waterhole on one occasion while I was in the hide and might have found better picking in another dam nearby.




An Oxpecker doing what an Oxpecker does best, and unlike the Egret that had to search for a meal, in this case the meal was ‘delivered’ to the bird by kind favour of this buffalo.




A Blue-waxbill puffs up its chest to make the most of the early morning sun. These tiny flashes of colour are one of my favourites to find at a waterhole. They tend to drink and splash about with an almost joyful abandon.




These were known as Cape Turtle Does, but are now referred to as Ring-necked Doves. Like the impala, they tend to be ignored because they are so plentiful. But take a moment and enjoy them in repose.




This female Cape Sparrow (also known as Mossies in Afrikaans) hopped around in front of the hide as I tried to focus and anticipate her movements.

Often referred to as a common house sparrow, I always feel for any sentient being that has the word ‘common’ in its name. If we take that sentiment into the human realm, then surely there would be many ethnic groups that might be considered ‘common’ based solely on their population numbers?




This Red-billed Oxpecker is NOT on the back of a large animal, but it is perched on a fallen log that looks like it could be a rhino.

Many years ago, I was taught that if I only learned one bird call, then it needs to be this particular species as it could one day save my life. When I enquired as to why, the answer was that they are usually found with dangerous game species like buffalo and rhino and hence there call could be an alarm for me while walking in the bush. Yes, I am aware that they also hang out with antelopes species that might NOT offer a threat, but discretion is the better part of valour.




Indifferent to what was drinking at the waters edge or wading IN the water, this Red-billed Teal took no interest as it continued its quest for food, both during daylight and under cover of darkness.




Colloquially referred to a ‘bush chickens’, these helmeted Guinea Fowl were often the first to the water, scurrying out of the bushes to slake their third and have a dust bath before the ‘heavy-weights’ arrived.




A Blacksmiths Lapwing, so named because their call sound like a hammer striking an anvil.




Yellow-fronted canaries lined up to enjoy a drink before the larger animals arrived.




This is a Mocking Cliff Chat and only the second time I have photographed them.

This was one of a pair that decided to investigate the hide while I was ‘in residence’ to see if I had any snacks they could share.




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