ABOVE: Undoubtedly one of our most interesting species, is the Greater Honeyguide. A bird that has evolved a remarkable symbiotic relationship with humans. Honeyguides are sneaky nest-parasites. This one has duped an African Hoopoe. Thanks so much to my friend Niel Cillie for his stunning photograph!
Whether we pay any attention to them or not, birds share our lives with us. They live in the space, at the same time period in our planet’s history. All of my most memorable memories are linked with birds in some way or the other. On the first day I walked onto a scary new university campus, a male Cape Sparrow had found its way into one of my classes, and was perched cheerily on the laboratory table in front of me. This unexpected sighting lifted my heart, and I took it as a sign of encouragement. One afternoon I was lying on the grass with my two year-old son, watching the bats emerging at dusk. Suddenly a Little Sparrowhawk shot overhead, and tried to grab some Chiropteran take-aways. On the way to my own wedding, I made an emergency stop and quick U-turn to spend a few minutes with a Dusky Lark at the roadside.
I’m sure you have many such stories too. As of the March 2018 issue of Weg! / Go! magazine, I’ll be sharing some of my stories with you. Along the way we’ll learn about fascinating aspects of our birds’ biology and ecology. In the first issue (March 2018 – on sale now), I tell the tale of one of my last memories of my Oupa, with a perky yellow-breasted bird atop his shoulder. This turned out to be young Greater Honeyguide – a secretive and sneaky nest-parasite with loads of tricks up its feathered sleeves. In the upcoming issues we’ll talk about all manner of birdy memories: Melodious Larks, Kurrichane Buttonquails…and my all-time favourite species (you’ll have to get the magazine to find out what it is).
Also, in the current issue of the magazine, you’ll find a short interview with me, where I talk about being a birding as a career, my best and worst days, advice for beginners, and my dream birding destinations.
I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them!
I unfortunately missed the March edition, any chance of posting the article?