Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Monday, March 15, 2010

South Africa, it ends in the Drakensburg.

The legendary Drakensburg Mountains are certainly the most scenic part of the country that I visited. They also had the most pleasant weather.
Like everywhere else, the Drakensburg had many interesting birds. This is the male, Pin-tailed Widow.
The male Village Weaver builds the nest, and hopes it attracks a female. They end up building several nests, before one passes muster.
One of the most colorful birds we saw, was the male, Greater Double-collared Sunbird. The female of this bird, and the previous two species, were far less colorful than the males.
The highlight of our visit to the Drakensburg was the day we spent with Jaco, the vulture researcher. Here he stands overlooking his study area. Notice the animal bones around his feet. These are the leftovers from his subjects.
We waited in the hide for hours before the first Cape Vulture glided past.
The main focus of Jaco's studies are the Lammergeier,(Bearded Vulture), an endangered species. Two fo them flew past without stopping.
One of the first birds to land was the Red-winged Starling.
At about 1:00 pm, The Cape Vultures finally landed.
White-necked Ravens were antagonistic towards the vultures.
In no time, Black-backed Jackals arrived on the scene. The ravens and vultures were not happy to see them.
It was interesting the way a jackal would slink up to something that caught it's attention.
After we left the Drakensburg, we had a long drive back to Johannesburg.
We saw several Long-crested Eagles at lower elevations below the Drakensburg.
I saw many more species of birds on this trip than any other exotic destination. My health was better than it has been for a decade. There was very little trash in South Africa, and amazingly we could drink the water everywhere. I would happily return to this wonderful country.

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