There are two things that never fail to get my attention, a bunch of Baboons messing around, and Weaver Birds busy building their nests. Give me any one of these and I’m a happy chap.
What’s fascinating about weaver birds is how they manage to intricately thread and weave strands of grass into a perfectly secure cylindrical dome home that is waterproof. What they do with their short beaks is a feat most humans would fail armed with appropriate tools. During the mid summer months weavers are busy everywhere. Their chatter and constant fluttering of wings a sure give away to the location of their new homes and t his last trip to South Africa over Christmas was a perfect opportunity to update the files with new shots of a variety of weavers.
For the first blog I chose a series of shots of a pair of Village Weavers busy constructing a nest at Sunset Dam near Lower Sabi in Kruger. The nest was well positioned near the water and easily photographed from the car window. What is great about Sunset Dam is there is always an abundance of animals and birds to photograph. Irrespective of the time of year or time of day you usually come away with something worth keeping for the time spent quietly sitting an waiting next to the water, and this trip was no different.
I always have a difficulty differentiating between Village Weavers and Southern Masked Weavers. The breeding colors of males of both species is very similar, and the only way I can differentiate between the two is via the females. No females and I’m buggered. Having said this, I’m no way a bird expert so even now there is a possibility I’m wrong.
Anyway the great thing about these birds is that they are very colorful and always photograph well. When they are busy they are busy, and it’s not usually more than a few minutes between their flying off before they return to the nest. So they are great birds to practice getting flight shots. You obviously get a lot of misses and half shots but sooner or later you score a clean one which is very satisfying.
What I particularly like about this series is that I managed to get some nice frames of both the male and female together at the nest. Mostly it’s the male that does the nest building, and it’s the female that gives approval. If it’s not up to scratch he starts all over again and it’s not unusual to see two or three or even more recently constructed nests in the same bush or tree. So they are fussy females!
The great thing about this series of shots was that it is very easy to see how intricately the birds weave the knots that secure the nest to the branch. Obviously if this part is not done right the integrity of the whole nest is questionable. But how they manage to do this with relatively small beaks is simply amazing.
Wonderful birds that are always wonderful photographic subjects!