Capped Wheatear ~ De Hoop NR ~ Overberg, South Africa - Dec '17

Monday 18 December 2017

A three hour drive to De Hoop nature reserve, Overberg from Kirstenbosch at the base of Table mountain, Cape Town, Jono drove and I was look out ..
The drive once off the main road was through continuous rolling plains we were on high alert for Bustards but the harder we tried the worst it became with everything seemingly looking like our target of bustard, bush bird, rock bird even geese became bustards ..
After many stops for fake birds we eventually arrived late afternoon and checked in, the car was then abandoned at reception and off I went for the many Capped Wheatear which were on the short grazed grass amougst the Bontebok and Zebra at this point I had a mini-meltdown the strong wind and sun were the same direction meaning the birds are looking away from the sun so instantly gave up and Left Jono with them, I went towards the trees and had some success with Shrikes and Bokmakierie ..
Later that evening we exchanged what we had achieved, Jono had persevered with the Wheatear and done well ..
The alarm was set for 05:00am but  for me there was only one target bird. I tried quite a few different individuals trying to find a confiding one ..

Capped Wheatear


I hardly ever carry binoculars and camera at the same time for me they are one less thing to hold but today I did have both and found a much better use for them than looking through them, if you stand them up with the big front lenses in the dirt you can balance the camera on top as a great support for low level shooting !!

I watched this juvenile for about an hour at first it would sit and wait either in the tunnel chamber entrance or a small scrap just outside patiently out of sight.
The adult must of called although I never heard it and the juvenile would rush out to be fed each time staying out a little longer to the point that it fledged as it never returned to the chamber preferring to move around with its other siblings ..

The feeding of the juvenile by the adult was fascinating so set about photographing it, the adult was quickly in and gone again off catching more insects for the other siblings and not knowing what direction the juvenile would rush out the chamber from made it most challenging but the satifaction of getting the image was wonderful ...

My Image of the Trip


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