Just as the sun was sinking Peter parked on a gravel track hoping to hear some nocturnal birds for the ever growing bird list. It was a beautiful evening with the sun setting over a very scenic area. Just as the last rays of sunlight fell on a granite outcrop, a rich and varied series of melodious notes rang loudly from the rocky outcrop. It was a Striped Pipit, a new bird for the list !
As the Pipit became quiet, the still air was broken by the mellow hoot of a Spotted Eagle-Owl, hu whoooooo, rising and falling in pitch. adding another new bird for the growing list. Then, almost simultaneously a Fiery-necked Nightjar began uttering its evening prayer, good lord deliver us. Three new birds in just a few minutes – what a way to end the day.
But – there was still more to come though….. and as Peter drove very slowly back to Hlatini he came across a nightjar on the gravel track. It was perched broadside on to him and showed clearly in the headlights. Looking thru his binoculars Peter had a hunch he was viewing something marginally out of range as well, and on closer inspection was looking straight at a European Nightjar – a really stunning sighting at very close range in his bright headlights.
A little further on in dense woodland Peter stopped to listen and low and behold an African Wood-Owl was questioning who who, who who who-are-you. It had been a long and incredible day of birding and to end it this way was definitely ‘the cherry on the top’ said Peter.
Pic: Jacques de Villiers