Birding in the Kaingo gardens
“What do you do after the morning game drive?”" a young lady asks as we stop the vehicle.
“After a healthy breakfast you have a bit of time to yourself” I reply “unless you feel like a bit of a walk in the Botanical Gardens?”
“Too hot;” comes the reply.
“A swim then?”
“Didn't pack my bathers.”
“How about I take you birding... right here in the garden?”
“Meet me after breakfast!” she replies.
And so we started. Binoculars glued to our faces, sitting around under the trees, avoiding the merciless sun. Looking.
“There is a Familiar Chat” I say.
“It’s brown and dull” she replies.
“Catching an earthworm” I interrupt.
We are interrupted by a penetrating sound above us.
“Toooo pudly...Toooo pudly...Toooo pudly...”
“Black-collared Barbet” I call him out. “Only, he's not alone. Male makes the 'Toooo', female replies with 'pudly'. When they are slightly off tune you can hear which is which.”
“Should call my boyfriend out on that one” she replies. “Especially when he sings along to Bohemian Rapsody.”
“Easy come, easy go...Little high little low”
A Groundscraper Thrush soldiers into our field of view.
“I have a nephew in the Army,” she says. “Looks like him in step out uniform. Same stance, chest out, bum in...that thousand yards look in his eyes.”
It is hot. At least thirty-four degrees Celsius.
“Let’s get some shade.”
We sit on the swing chair overlooking the two islands in the Kaingo waterpond dominated by the cycad gardens. The lone thorn tree on the island has been stripped of its leaves. A cacophony of rattles and trills filled the air.
“Are the bright ones the males?” she asks.
“Ja, females are dull” I reply.
“Hey!” is the reply.
“And just like other females I know, they break down the house if they don’t like it! Tears it apart! Poor bloke has to rebuild from scratch”
“Serves him right! A girl needs to maintain her standards.”
“And that one?” She asks peering through the tubes of her binoculars.
I narrowly escape a playful swipe.
“Its time for lunch. And to get the vehicle ready for this afternoons activity.”
“What are we doing after morning drive tomorrow?” she asks.