I’ve only had a couple of sightings of grey hornbills, and they have all been when the birds have been high in the treetops, usually at some distance, making capturing a decent image a bit of a challenge. The last trip I took probably had the best opportunity yet, though I still hope I will get to see this bird closer up, and in more detail, in the future. So we can add the grey hornbill to the always expanding list of things I want to see when I return to southern Africa sometime in the (hopefully) not too distant future.
I’d planned to edit and post these two weeks ago, but life got in the way. First, I was distracted by some ravens in the yard, and last week, I was caught up with studying for finals and didn’t manage to sneak in any time for photo editing. I’m enjoying a very brief break from studies and to be honest, not quite sure what to do with all this free time on my hands!
This week will feature some hornbill images, and hopefully I can carry on with local birds next week, as there are lots of new faces in the area now that it is warming up.
I’m working on a guest post for a friend doing an Armchair safari series, and thought I would share the images here as well. I decided that the theme of my post would be sunrise to sunset on safari; showcasing images from dawn till dusk while out in the bush. These are all shot during my last trip to South Africa and were from all of the camps that I stayed at. I would have to plan a lot more in advance while out in the field to have a sunrise to sunset images from a single day (note to self, do that next trip!).
Rather than a highlight reel of amazing sightings, these are just a collection of moments out in the bush.
I hope you enjoy.
As mentioned last week, I am going to focus on birds for my Sunday posts during the month of August. I had some really interesting bird sightings during my recent travels, and I am looking forward to editing and sharing some of the moments.
I decided to start off with hornbills; the only reason being that a hornbill was the first bird image I took when I got to the bush, so it seemed a logical enough place to start. I posted a few hornbill images back in June as a wordless Wednesday post; you can find those here.
During my travels, I saw 5 different species of hornbill, including several sightings on two different properties of the endangered southern ground hornbill. Our rangers shared some fascinating information about these birds; the southern ground hornbill has helpers to raise their chick; these baby-sitters put in several years of assistance duties before they take on the responsibility of mating themselves.
More common to see while out on game drives and the red and yellow billed hornbills (or banana head and chill pepper as they seem to be called quite often :)) Our rangers also explained some interesting facts about the breeding habits of the hornbills; I am not 100% certain if this applies to all the African hornbill species, but during breeding, the female will lay eggs into a tree hollow, and then allow herself to be sealed up inside the tree cavity with only a small opening to allow the male to pass food in to her and the chicks once they hatch. The female removes all her flight feathers during this time and allows them to regrow while nesting, and as such she is completely reliant on her mate for her survival, as well as the survival of their offspring. Such trust!
These last two hornbills are less common (at least for me) to see while out in the bush. I’ve seen the grey hornbill and crowned hornbill each on only one other occasion. Both of these were spotted while out on game drives from Lion Sands River Lodge.