It is not often you get a chance to mix business with pleasure and it’s always a pleasure to do business in Cape Town. Not only is the city itself beautiful it is surrounded by incredible mountain wilderness that is home to a variety of stunning birds.
The Fynbos vegetation of the Table Mountain National Park, a thin finger of land to the south of the city which culminates at the rugged end of theCape of Good Hopeis recognized globally for its extraordinarily rich diversity of flora and fauna. The Fynbos vegetation is home to some stunning birdlife some of which gracefully posed for my camera allowing me to add a few more species to my portfolio of South African birds.
Anyone who follows this blog knows I love Sunbirds. There were more than a few star posers but none more attractive than the shimmering green Malachite Sunbird that was perched on top of an Aloe plant. I have to say the shot of it taking flight at the top of the page was more a fluke than anything, but I’ll still settle for the kudos of being lucky enough to capture such a moment.
Another first time prize for me were the following shots of Orange Breasted Sunbirds feeding in the Fynbos. These little gems are an integral part of the whole Fynbos ecosystem. As they feed on the flowering plants and shrubs pollen collects on their long beaks and is transferred to subsequent flowering shrubs. They are incredibly beautiful little birds which once busy feeding in a flowering bush basically ignore a stealthy approach and the clicking camera.
A common resident of the Fynbos and parks and gardens of Cape Town is the Southern Double Collared Sunbird which, once occupied is also a poser. These guys were all over the place and I suppose are ignored by the local bird Paparazzi. But for a visitor like me their deep olive green head shimmering in the sunlight was just too attractive to resist.
Like the sunbirds the Cape Sugar Bird is also an important part of the Cape ecosystem. Feeding primarily on the nectar of Protea flowers its long tails feathers are a give away. Like the Malachite sunbird, the shots of it as it took flight below were more luck than anything but once in a while a little luck is deserved.
Compared with the rest of South Africa which has birdlife in abundance, the birdlife in the national park surrounding theCape of Good Hope is generally quite sparse and it takes a keen ear to hear the birds and track them as they progressively feed the Fynbos. For more action the gardens of Kirstenbosh Botanical Gardens at the back of Table Mountain are another good location to get birds and well worth a visit in itself.