Malachite kingfisher

The malachite kingfisher is one of the most beautifully colored kingfishers, with its creamy orange belly and dark blue back. If you are lucky, it will even show you its bright blue crest!
Photo taken in Dinokeng Game Reserve.

The Jesus bird

The African jacana seems to walk over the water and is therefore sometimes jokingly called the ‘Jesus bird’. In fact they are placing their long toes on the stems and leaves of floating vegetation. Jacanas are very special in that they are polyandrous, which means that one female has several male partners who take care of the chicks.Photo taken in Dinokeng Game Reserve.

Pearl-spotted owlet

A little pearl-spotted owlet gazing down at me from its perch on a wire. It was a magical day, finding our first pearl-spotted owlet in the morning and then finding another one at a completely different place in the afternoon. I feel like we’ve unlocked this species now!Photo taken in Dinokeng Game Reserve.

Portrait of a giraffe

A black and white portrait of a giraffe that was checking us out. Giraffes are quite curious animals. If they see something strange – like a car, but I’ve also seen them do this with lions – they will watch it intently before ambling away.
Photo taken in Dinokeng Game Reserve

Pearl-spotted owlet

Yesterday we found not one but two of these lovely little owls in Dinokeng Game Reserve near Pretoria, South Africa. They hunt during the day from a perch, like this dead tree. A very special thing is that they have eyes in the back of their head, or at least spots that look like eyes as well!

Faith in the water

“I see a stream with slow moving sections and patches of turbulence. I can sense it is drawn towards something bigger than itself – the lake sitting miles from its origin. I notice the water doesn’t question where it’s going – it just keeps moving.

“I look at the rocks under the strong current and observe that they are still and solid. They remain secure enough not to lose their grounded and nurturing attachment to the earth while being incessantly thrust upon. I suspect they trust in their purpose to slow down the speed of the water.

“Occasionally, I watch a leaf fall from its source. It lands in the stream and begins its way to the chaotic water. I ask myself if the leaf was clumsy and lost its true nature or if it was forced there by the winds because it was too stubborn to let go. No matter. It doesn’t fight the inevitable or swim like mad to return where it came from. The leaf surrenders to the short lived patterns of being spun around, dunked, and flipped over, knowing she will make her way to a new stretch of calm water.

“I take a deep breath by this stream and tell myself that it’s time for more faith when my waters are turbulent, for more trust, and a stronger sense that I am moving where I need to go – a place I can’t see yet, but know is there.”

– Carol Cooley

(Photo taken in Wilderness, South Africa)