18 March 2012 – looking for lemons…
Going through our challenge list, a common species that had been missing up until now was Lemon Dove, so we decided that this would be our target for the morning and we headed off to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The gardens are always great fun to go and photograph in, especially if one gets there early before the masses arrive. Various species of sunbirds, flycatchers, canaries and waxbills are often quite happy to pose vaguely decently for photographers there as they are already quite used to the steady stream of people filtering through the gardens.
Heading over towards The Dell where we were to look for our target bird, our attention was distracted by the call of an African Goshawk coming from a large tree. After careful scanning, we eventually located it and managed to get a few passable shots of it although, if we had actually thought the whole thing through properly, a bit of fill flash would’ve helped to take out the shadows on the bird which now almost spoil the photo. Eventually, the bird took flight and, while we were still reviewing our photos on our cameras, we noticed an accipiter fly back into almost exactly the same spot. Naturally assuming it was the same bird, we lifted our cameras again only to find that this time, it was a juvenile Black Sparrowhawk. What a great start to the morning!
The Dell was our next stop and it was very quiet apart from a couple of Olive Thrushes flying around. We started playing the call of Lemon Dove and soon noticed our friend, Mike Buckham, with a group in tow, stealthily moving towards us. They had not seen us yet, but had picked up on the call we were playing and were moving in to find their quarry! Boy, were they disappointed to only find us where a Lemon Dove should’ve been!! They eventually moved off to extend their search and, not too much longer after that, we located a pair of Lemon Doves which were actually fairly friendly and walked around quite close to us. A quick phone call to Mike to let him know and the party was back at our side within a couple of minutes with numerous photos being taken.
Once we had had enough of this, we moved off into another part of the gardens and spent some time chasing down and photographing butterflies. We are learning very quickly that photographing these little critters can be amongst the most difficult things to attempt often leading to a lot of stress! But all was not lost – to destress, we dragged ourselves off to the restaurant and enjoyed a great brunch before heading off back home…:)