The bird life at Ebb & Flow is great. I sat for hours each day in front of my caravan and watched the antics of the aquatic birds. Ebb & Flow South Camp has (what seems) a resident pair of Egyptian Geese. And it seems their territory stretches a way over the bridge into the North Camp side. I presume that further upstream some more Egyptian Geese inhabit the river. But to get there, they have to fly over South Camp. And boy, what a commotion every time one or two Egyptian Geese would dare to fly over. The resident pair takes off with a lot of noise, normally the female in front, and chase the intuders until they are out of sight, and come back immediately. By the way, for those who do not know, the female is the one with the loud voice (like in humans
) and the male has the husky voice. Probably one of the major reasons for their aggressive behaviour is the fact that it is presently the start of the breeding season. We saw the pair mating in the water. Every now and then they would come to the caravan and beg for a few bread crumbs.
The neighing quiver of the dabchicks formed a very integral part of each day. A pair of them was diving, chasing and "running" on the water each day. What a beautiful little bird. A colony of Whitebreasted Cormorants was to be seen every day. So was the little Reed Cormorants. And did both of them had a feast among the little fish in the river!! They are fantastic fish hunters. On one occasion we watched a Reed Cormorant really struggling to swallow a small eel it caught. Occasionally the odd African Darter would fly over. However, we never saw them "fishing" like the cormorants infront of our caravan.
Quite a few Grey Heron were to be seen along the river. I believe it was the same one that we saw every day near our caravan. He was a good fisherman himself (or was it a "she"), but boy, was he an opportunist. If he sees another bird catching a fish, he's like a real bully - always trying to confiscate the other one's catch. We witnessed a few good fights. But then we also saw him struggling for litterary hours to swallow a fish that was actually too big for him. A Yellowbilled Egret also visited the small island in front of our caravan from time to time. But he never stayed long.
The Hadeda Ibisses (like in the rest of South Africa nowadays) was omnipresent. I know some people don't like them because of their noisyness. But to me that is one of the typical sounds of Africa - like the pair of Fish Eagles we heard regularly but never saw nearby, except for circling very high in the air. But it was beautiful to listen to their 'kiow-kou-kou" duet. Oh well, I am privileged where I live to hear and see them from time to time. But at Ebb & Flow it was just so more special to hear them while staring over the indigenous forest against the hills on the northern side.
Yellowbilled Ducks are common on the Touw River. Many mornings we were woken by their quacking (once again - the females are the ones with the loud voices while the male only utters a hissing sound).
In the next report I'll share something more of the other bird life (away from the river) and the rare sightings we had.