Feathered chicks and parents

As time rolls on there’s a shift as spring gives over to summer and trending now is the season for cute babies: parenting roles come to the fore.   There is much activity in our backyard with the chirps and cheeps from the pair of feisty of wagtails and their chicks. This year they built their nest craftily anchored to a trellis supporting a jasmine creeper.    Two rotund chicks have fledged but the parents will continue feeding them until they are self sufficient.

Other nesting pairs are sitting (though fortunately not in the backyard) or guarding nest spaces and like a maiden aunt i am anxiously awaiting results.   On the left, is the spotted thick-knees which have previously featured here in this blog.  By scoping out the nest with binoculars when the parents change sittings I can make out that there are two eggs.

Ostrich in his black night attire is inconguously sitting in broad daylight, which rather debunks the theory that the female with her drab colouring is better camouflaged for duty during the day.  They go for big broods and lay between 15 – 20 eggs.

The last on the right, is the Kittlitz plover, a shy retiring, little bird.

Hopefully, soon I will have more to report on the happy flutter of new arrivals.

Ostrich chicks: all feathers and legs

In November while cycling at Cape Point I encountered a large family of ostrich and posted pictures of the cute little chicks.  It’s some months later and now the chicks have grown into handsome birds.  Notice how their feathers are darkening, a couple more months and they’ll be fully grown.

Ostrich chicks_01

Except for the little “Laat Lammetjie”  (a term used generally with affection for a late birth out of season) – a chick which is much smaller than the rest of the flock yet appears to be quite a feisty little character.The littlest ostrich chick Ostrich chick_02

Fire flower series: Trachyandra

My early morning  cycle ride in the Cape Point reserve came to a halt as I came across a large family of ostriches.   Pa flapped his wings at me so I backed off to watch at a distance.  The adults are protective of their young and there were at least 12 chicks.

Ostriches_01

Pa returned to foraging and I noticed that he was feeding on the showy Trachyandra hirsutiflora, a plant which generally flowers after fire.  The tall flower spikes bear multiple white flowers on a headlike raceme and the hairy fruits are bunched below.

Ostriches_APR4036

Ostriches_APR4156

The young are well camouflaged against the sandy background and have the same graceful gait of the adults.

Trachyandra hirsutiflora

A close-up of the flowers, Trachyandra hirsutiflora (Veldkool).

Ostrich chick

The chick is eating one of the fruits from the Trachyandra hirsutiflora.

The parting shot shows the comparative size between adult and chick as the last chick follows the female over the rise.

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Minimalist

Minimalism_DSC0206 The stretch of sandy beach shows up this female ostrich’s form and graceful gait. Being flightless, their defence is speed and those elegant long legs are adapted for high velocity movement. They move fast reaching up to 70 km/h.This ‘rear’ view reveals the two-toed feet, which remind me of a ballet dancer’s ‘en pointe.  Surprisingly that slender long stretch of lower leg is acutally the long tarsometatarsus bone and that is the bird’s ankle mid-way up, while the knee joint is neatly out of view,  hidden under plumage. Hopefully my minimalistic shot, hones the subject against a decluttered background.  It will be interesting to see other examples of this week’s challenge – here’s the link to check out this week’s photo challenge: “Minimalist”  Jen H poses this week’s challenge with the following in mind: “Minimalist photography is characterized by a large portion of negative space, a fairly monochromatic color palette with good contrast, and an interesting subject that is able to stand on its own to capture the interest of the viewer. At first thought, it may seem like it would be easy to shoot an engaging minimalist photograph, when indeed it can often be the opposite. A minimalist photo can also effectively tell a story, in spite of its relative simplicity, and it is anything but ‘plain’. ”