|This cute little chick was one of seven we found in the neighborhood in Marloth Park. Thanks for the tip, Louise!|
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
|We were thrilled to find the ostrich parents with seven chicks exactly where Louise had said she’d seen them 10 minutes earlier.|
Knowing and appreciating how enthusiastic and passionate we are in great photo ops to share here on our site, they never hesitate to let us know about unique and special sightings. Obviously, if they spot a kudu, bushbuck, or warthog, they don’t notify us. Plenty of them visits us each day.
|Mom and Dad were obviously very proud of their family. Ostriches mate for life.|
Over the past few days, when they’d spotted ostrich parents with seven or eight chicks, they didn’t hesitate to let us know. Yesterday, when Louise sent me a Messenger note stating that she’d spotted the ostrich family near the corner of Volstruis (oddly, Volstruis means “ostrich” in Afrikaans) and Hornbill, we were in the car and on our way within two or three minutes.
|The chicks weren’t concerned about wandering a short distance from their parents, making it impossible to get one photo with all seven of them.|
We didn’t expect to find them when we were deciding which way to go as we reached the intersection of the two streets with four options in front of us. Tom, with his watchful eye, noticed a stopped car on Volstruis a short distance down the road and said, “Let’s go see what they’re looking at!”
Alas, safari luck prevailed, and there they were, in the garden of a house that didn’t appear to be occupied. Brazenly, Tom pulled into the driveway so we could have a “bird’s eye view” (no pun intended), and we were as close as we could be without intruding on their “pecking” as a family.
|Peck, peck, peck. They seemed to fit edibles in the dirt.|
We observed them for quite some time, not only to take photos but also to enjoy this magical sighting. Tom turned off the engine as we sat and watched. There was no point in getting out of the car, although our photos may have been better.
|If they stopped by our garden, which they may eventually do, we’d have some ostrich-appropriate treats for them.|
Ostriches can be dangerous. From this site: “Ostriches can be found in the wild, on safaris, or ostrich farms. But regardless of where you find them, treat them with the utmost caution. Although they do not prey on humans, they have been known to injure and kill when provoked. Extremely fast on foot, they can deliver mortal blows by the sheer force of their legs, never mind the lethally sharp talons at their toes. The best thing you can do is steer clear of them. Failing that, ducking for cover and hiding works best. As a last resort, you may even have to fight them.”
|These three chicks of the seven seemed to stay close to one another.|
That’s exactly why we didn’t exit the car. However, we’ve seen visitors in Marloth Park getting dangerously close to ostriches with little regard for their own safety of the magnificent birds, the largest on earth.
From this site: “Ostriches are large, flightless birds with long legs and a long neck protruding from a round body. Males have a bold black-and-white coloring that they use to attract females. Females, on the other hand, are light brown. (Continued below).
|Their young feathers and markings are adorable.|
Ostriches are bigger than any other bird in the world. They can grow up to 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall and can weigh up to 320 lbs. (145 kilograms), according to the African Wildlife Foundation, and an ostrich’s eyes are 2 inches (5 centimeters) in diameter — the largest of any land animal. The ostrich is the only bird that has two toes on each foot. All other birds have three or four toes, according to the American Ostrich Association.”
|At one point, Dad didn’t seem to be happy with us being so close. Ostriches can be dangerous if they feel threatened, especially with their chicks nearby. We rolled up our windows and moved back.|
After we returned with the above photos, I attempted to get back to work on yesterday’s post. As we’d planned, Ken stopped by (with Don) to provide me with some useful camera tips. He’s quite the expert, and I had many questions. He adeptly answered all of them, providing me with several important bits of information.
|Here we were able to get six of the seven in one photo.|
Tom and Don chatted while Ken and I, both with similar cameras, spent about an hour reviewing many aspects of photography that will surely help me in the future. I’m not promising my photos will substantially improve, although they may gradually become more professional-looking.
I’d never taken much interest in photography in our old lives. It just didn’t interest me. Now that we’re traveling over the years, I’ve wanted to improve my less-than-ideal skills. We’ll see how it goes.
|Mom frequently stood up from pecking to check her surroundings for any threats.|
Many photos we’re sharing over the next several days were taken before “camera school.” I’ll attempt to use what I’ve learned to up the quality of my photos in the future.
Saying this put just enough pressure on me to use what I’ve learned and not fall back into my old patterns of often using the wrong settings for the scene. Please be patient with me.
|“Ostriches normally mate for life, and they share the task of incubating the eggs. Ostriches form bisexual groups with a complex structure. Territorial males compete for flocks of three to five hens. Mating includes elaborate displays of hisses and dancing.”|
Last night, even in the chilly weather, we managed to stay on the veranda until bedtime. Bundled up in warm clothing, we enjoyed several visitors, including four wildebeest who must have been friends of Wildebeest Willie since I recognized him in the “implausibility of wildebeest.” (Yep, that’s what a group of wildebeest is called, an “implausibility”). Go figure.
Today, we’re busy getting ready for tonight’s dinner party. We’re having a traditional American-type pork braai (barbecue). We’ll share photos, the menu, and details in tomorrow’s post.
I was up very early this morning chopping and dicing, so to say, so there would be time to get today’s post uploaded by noon our time. Hopefully, it will be a little warmer than last night for our outdoor dinner party.
Have a fabulous weekend wherever you may be.
Photo from one year ago today, July 6, 2017:
|Tom, Tammy, and Vincent on our last night in Minnesota when we all said goodbye. For more photos, please click here.|