With cricket 2011 a thing of the past lets get back to business
The birdies created quite a stir and did exactly what I had planned, they forced the folks to look at other ways to get to the right id. A bit of a nasty one but I am sure all of us learned quite a lot and by that I include myself
On the thick billed weaver in the first pic there are a few dead giveaways, the two white patches above the bill is one of them and the nest is almost a dead certainty. These birds have the finest nesting strands and with that big bill one does not expect this fine work, being in the reeds is another clue and combined with the heavy bill it should lead one to the correct answer.
The green backed heron was not such a clear cut one the eye is just visible and once again the nest has some influence but not as clear as the previous one and one needed to look way closer at the bird's back and colour.
The arrow marked babbler was not too difficult and thrown in the mix as an example of what can be expected in the field where one often has a brief glimpse of the bird to make the id and the same goes for the little cuckoo.
The one that caused the biggest stir was the lesser masked weaver
Not much to id by just looking at the bird in the photo but if all details are combined there could only be one.
The yellow and black colour and nest type narrows it down to 3
Southern masked, lesser masked and spotted backed weaver, all3 overlap in distribution in the area so that is not much help Southern masked do nest in close proximity to each other but not as close as in the photo and in fact they are pretty grumpy if another male dares to get too close, that eliminates the southern. Spotted backed also nest in groups but once again not as close as the birds in the photo though they are generally not as bad tempered as southern masked The eye color is not visible in the photo but if you look carefully you can see the shape of the black mask that will point to lesser masked and with the slightly longer tunnel to the entrance it would be possible to correctly id the bird.
The top nest is that of the buffalo weaver that makes a communal nest like the sociable weavers and the nest that the lessers are building on is probably that of a hamerkop, nests can tell a tale of their own
I did not expect the bonus bird to be identified but I was wrong, in the end most folks got this one right and I base my conclusion on the fact that I saw the parents feeding it, it was the black headed oriole,........... or could it have been a cuckoo
Thanks for your participation Also read more about the:
1. Thick billed weaver Here
2. Green backed heron Here
3. Arrow marked babbler Here
4. Diderick Cuckoo Here
5. Lesser masked weaver Here
6. Egyptian Goose Here
7. Black headed oriole Here