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Cape Town wildlife III

This is the third post in my monthly series on the fascinating nature I encounter here in South Africa.

It turns out that our new house is just a few minutes’ walk from the Liesbeeck River, which is full of waterbirds. This is where I saw the kingfisher you may remember from a few months back. Look how lovely it is!

liesbeeck river

I think the rest of these pictures will speak for themselves, so I’ll keep my commentary short and sweet. Just remember that it’s the middle of winter here at the moment and, while it’s not sunny like this every day, you can see (above) how beautiful it is here when the sun does come out! Enjoy…

egyptian goose family
A family of Egyptian Geese – these are the common geese that you see everywhere here (makes a change from Canada Geese!) They have distinctive red patches around their eyes and honk very loudly.

blacksmith plovers
Here’s a pair of Blacksmith Plovers (or Lapwings) – I took more photos, but they all involved, ahem, mating… so you get the boring family-safe photo here 🙂

hadeda ibis
I love this photo of a Hadeda Ibis – look at the iridescence on the wing.

african sacred ibis
These are a different type of ibis: the African Sacred Ibis.

hartlaub's gull
We see two common types of gull; this cute little Hartlaub’s Gull, and…

… the much larger Kelp Gulls.

little egret
And two types of egret! Here’s a Little Egret (note the yellow feet)…

cattle egret
…and a Cattle Egret. See the buff-coloured plumes? That’s breeding plumage; the feathers are all white the rest of the year.

african darter
At first I thought this bird was a cormorant, but it’s actually an African Darter drying its wings after swimming (it swims with its entire body underwater).

whitebreasted cormorant
Here’s a real cormorant (a Whitebreasted Cormorant). Now I see them together, they don’t look very similar at all…

And a gratuitously scenic shot to end with: Table Mountain (taken from the riverbank).

I hope you enjoyed this month’s African interlude! Are you bored yet, or shall I keep going with these wildlife posts? I have lots more I can show you, but only if you’re interested…


  1. harriet behrens said

    I wanted to travel to South Africa to see the plants we see in southern California growing in their actual native environment. We are one of the four areas in the world that share your same Mediteranean climate; I have been creating a South African Garden after two years of researching my computer, gardening books, magazines, etc. and it was a thrill for me tonight to happen upon your blog. Your personal touch is outstanding and will help me add more personal appeal to my garden.
    I am eagerly looking forward to your photos and blog in the future.
    Your new friend,

  2. Jeannine said

    Definitely, “keep going with these wildlife posts”!

  3. Rita said

    Love these photos especially seeing wildlife in Africa! Keep on posting them! Thanks!!

  4. Bean Bell said

    I am learning a lot with these posts! Thank you for posting them 🙂 I like the little Hartlaub

  5. Meg P said

    Definitely NOT bored! My spouse teaches African Lit and has really enjoyed browsing these with me and wants to show them to the students, too! Thanks for making the effort to help us all move to SA with you!

  6. Craftycards67 said

    Oh I think their great! get to see other places I’ve never been & never will be.
    Are you feeling better???


    • June said

      My health is improving, thanks, but very, very slowly. My stupid ribs still hurt if I do anything ‘taxing’, like sneezing, laughing, breathing deeply… But it’s just an ache now, and I can walk without pain, so at least I’m not trapped in the house any more. I’d call that an improvement 🙂

  7. becky said

    also sooo not bored. This is very interesting 😀

  8. Lindy said

    Great photos, June – thanks! Lovely to see them.
    Love, Lindy xx

  9. Susan Carder said

    Please, Sir, may we have some more.

  10. Johanna said

    Wow June – more wonderful pictures! I’m just curious, is it tricky figuring out what all these “new” (to you) birds are? They are quite interesting. Yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time watching three piliated woodpeckers in the wetlands in my yard. Now, I’m wondering why I haven’t taken any pictures of them. One of them was even a baby. Of course, my photography skills are not any where as wonderful as yours! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • June said

      It can be tricky, but I just buy a bird book whenever I move to a new region – if there are birds that look similar, they usually give the clues that help you tell one from another. If I’m still not sure, I google the options to see which looks closest – seeing a selection of photos really helps pin it down! That’s how I identified my cattle egret – the buff breeding plumes weren’t mentioned in my book, but as soon as I checked Wikipedia, I knew exactly which species I was looking at.

      As for photography skills, all you need is a camera with a decent zoom, and to take a LOT of photos. I took over 30 of the cattle egret to get that really nice shot – some of the others were terrible! Birds move very quickly and half your shots are likely to be blurred. Just keep shooting and you may get lucky with a beautiful shot! Of course, sometimes you don’t have that luxury as they move away too quickly, or the lighting conditions aren’t ideal – some of my other photos above are far from pro quality, but they’re good enough to be a nice reminder for me, and to show to you. Here’s something to give you confidence to try – the worst of my cattle egret attempts:

      how NOT to take a wildlife photo
      Over-exposed, out of focus, distracting greenery – all-around disaster! But I kept shooting and I was lucky enough to end up with a gem. So just keep trying, and don’t get discouraged when some of the pics look bad, which they WILL 😀

  11. Sandy said

    Don’t even THINK these lovely photos are boring! This is exciting! Thank you so much for letting us see this part of the world that we may never visit personally. And your commentary is, ahem, very entertaining! Keep it up!

  12. Julie said

    Not bored at all! Animals are always interesting and I love it when bloggers post about where they live because it’s like traveling without having to leave my computer! 🙂

  13. Judy Carlson said

    Definitely keep taking pictures of the wildlife!

  14. Gillian McMullen said

    Definitely NOT bored! These are wonderful pictures, June, and quite an education. I lived in Kenya when I was young and I remember there were wonderful birds, I just didn’t know what they were. You are living in such a beautiful place, I hope it makes up for the lack of yarn stores. I don’t know, I’m getting the feeling we might just be in for a PlanetJune bird series or two . . . AviJune?? Many thanks for the photos.

    • June said

      I definitely want to make some bird designs… maybe some more obvious choices than these though! I suspect people would be more likely to buy a pattern for a bird they’re familiar with. But yeah, I definitely have birds on the brain 😉

  15. I love the Cattle Egret!

  16. Sali said

    Keep ’em coming!!

    What a beautiful place! Looks amazing!

    And thank you for all the wonderful patterns 🙂

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