Bird watching in the morning!…Delightful first time sighting…

When we spotted the white marks on this bird’s feathers, we wondered about these rectangle-shaped markings on his feathers.

A band of about 40 mongooses arrived as we began today’s post. Last night, we had rib-eye steaks on the braai that proved too fatty for our taste. We ate some of the meat but left lots of meat and fat on the bones. Guess who loves fat and meat besides, South Africans? Mongooses. As carnivores, they love when we offer them meat of any kind. We always make sure the meat is fresh and safe for them to eat. We don’t keep leftover meat for more than a few days.

Zoom in to see detail on this fascinating bird, a green wood hoopoe. It’s called green based on the luminosity when the sun hits it. Due to its red/orange bill and feet, it’s also a red-billed wood hoopoe.

Now at almost noon, we’ve had a busy morning. Lots of animals stopped by, including six zebras. We’d hoped to go to Kruger National Park this morning but decided to go tomorrow instead. We had some tasks we wanted to accomplish today. Also, I prepped dinner for tonight and tomorrow night, so we’ll be good to go first thing in the morning.

Like a woodpecker, he pecked at the tree to find worms and insects. He was successful and found a worm sharing it with his mate.

It’s been a gorgeous day since I started walking today, and I am also doing steps, one flight at a time. It will take about three weeks to get back to my former goal of 8,000 – 10,000 steps a day. Plus, I plan to do ten flights of stairs daily, which will further enhance my stamina.

He was determined to get a snack out of this tree.

Since this property is much larger than the last holiday home, it will be easier to get in the number of steps by walking around the grounds and into the house. Still, I don’t feel comfortable walking on dirt roads with countless potholes and uneven terrain, which could easily result in a fall.

Taking photos was tricky since the movement of any type would send him and his mate on their way.

Sunday morning, while we sat at the table on the veranda, we noticed many birds flying around the garden.. There were the usual oxpeckers, hornbills, and white crested-helmet shrike. Still, we stopped dead in our tracts when we spotted a bird neither of us had ever seen in South Africa or any other African country.

He was intent on finding something in that hole.

Immediately, we started researching online to find the name of the bird which is shown in today’s photos, a green wood hoopoe, also known as the red-billed wood hoopoe, described as follows from this site:

“An elongated, metallic-green-black bird with red feet and a long, decurved, red-orange bill. Juveniles have dark bills but are often in the company of adults. It flies heavily, with the long, floppy, white-tipped tail dangling behind. Pairs and groups of up to 14 birds are highly social, occupying savanna, woodland, riverine forest, and gardens, where they nest and roost in natural cavities. Clambers in trees, probing bark and crevices for insects and small vertebrates. They communicate using a strong cackling chatter that sounds maniacal. The almost identical Grant’s and Violet woodhoopoes (with which it sometimes hybridizes) differ from Green Woodhoopoe only by having a coppery-purple (not glossy greenish) metallic sheen.”

The mating pair, who mate for life, were together on the tree. He fed her a worm.

This bird is not endangered, but after all of the time we’ve been in Africa, we were surprised we hadn’t seen it in the past. It was exciting to watch it pecking at the inside of the tree, as shown in the photos, and finding a worm he fed to his mate, who joined him on the tree. We couldn’t get the camera since we knew if we did so, they would fly away, so we missed that special photo op.

However, once we grabbed the camera off the dining room table and sat back down at the veranda table, we were thrilled to get the shots we were sharing today. What a fantastic sighting this was for us both. Immediately, we put out bird seeds which the woophoe and the hornbills seemed content to share.

This is a hanging bird feeder on a pulley line used to prevent monkeys from getting the seed. But it’s not foolproof, as we observed last week when a monkey made its way across the line and ate all the seeds.

No, we don’t have a Frank here, which is disappointing. But, perhaps we’ll “build relationships” with other birds visiting. Every creature, big and small, has a special meaning to us, whether it’s an insect, a rodent, or a massive beast. They all are unique and exciting.

We’ve always enjoyed watching hornbills, widespread birds in Africa, but they are somewhat entertaining.

We’re cooking lamb for me and bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin for Tom, with rice for him, avocado slices for me, and salad for us both. Since Tom’s weight is holding and he’s feeling well, I used up the remainder of the bananas to make him coconut banana bread, a recipe from our old lives. It’s slowly baking in the oven now in a springform pan I found in the back of the cupboard.

All is well here. Gradually, we’re regaining our strength and stamina and are grateful to be feeling better.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today,  June 13, 2021:

Our friends, Rita and Gerhard, with their new “bakkie.” It was a very smooth ride! We look forward to their return to Marloth Park in months. Last New Year’s Eve, they surprised us and showed up at a party we attended. For more photos, please click here.