Although summer feels as though it is centuries away as well as the beautiful migrant birds that come with it, the bird life at the underground hide has been outstanding in the past few months. Our “seen at the underground hide” bird list for the year has reached approximately 60 species, and is growing every day.
If we concentrate specifically on birds, a typical morning at the hide may begin as follows: A call of a pearl spotted owlet to break the silence of the night, followed by a flock of entertaining Helmeted Guinea Fowl emerging from the grass sometimes 60-80 strong, accompanied undoubtedly by the ever so faithful Mourning, Cape Turtle, Laughing and Red Eyed doves. As the sun slowly creeps in the activity around the waterhole picks up with our daily grain eating visitors making their way towards the waters edge: Jameson and Red Billed Firefinches, Red Billed Quelea, Blue Waxbills, Red Headed Weavers, Red Billed Buffalo weavers, Natal and Swainsons Spurfowl and the list goes on. Despite the Mashatu Trees fruiting at the moment the fruit eating birds also make a daily appearance: Meyers Parrots, Black headed Oriels, African Green Pigeons, Meves Starling, Grey-Go-Away’s, once again the list goes on.
As the elephants make their entrance to the waterhole the birds quickly disperse to the surrounding trees. The elephants have their drink of water and toss around of mud and then make their way. Within minutes the hive of bird activity returns to normal, as if the interlude of elephants had never taken place.
By Ruth Nussbaum