|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Carin and I took 2 weeks leave to look after the grandchildren during the long summer school holidays but managed to grab a morning at the Marievale bird sanctuary. Sitting in a hide and looking for photographic opportunities over the water I heard a rustling in the reeds to the right and saw this beutifull small bird foraging right next to us. The 500 mm lens was probably on it's minimum focussing distance when this shot was taken.|
The Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild), also known as the St Helena Waxbill, is a small passerine bird belonging to the estrildid finch family. It is native to sub-Saharan Africa but has been introduced to many other regions of the world and now has an estimated global extent of occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It is popular and easy to keep in captivity.
It is a small bird, 11 to 13 centimetres in length with a wingspan of 12 to 14 centimetres and a weight of 7 to 10 grams. It has a slender body with short rounded wings and a long graduated tail. The bright red bill of the adult is the colour of sealing wax giving the bird its name. The plumage is mostly grey-brown, finely barred with dark brown. There is a red stripe through the eye and a reddish stripe along the centre of the belly. The cheeks and throat are whitish and there is often a pinkish flush to the underparts. The rump is brown and the tail and vent are dark. Females are similar to the males but are paler with less red on the belly. Juveniles are duller with little or no red on the belly, fainter dark barring and a black bill.
Birdingroutes.co.za has the following to say about the Marievale bird sanctuary
Marievale Bird Sanctuary lies at the southern end of the Blesbokspruit Ramsar Site north east of the town of Nigel and an hour's drive south of Johannesburg. It is a well-known high altitude wetland sanctuary which lies on a bird migration route. This wetland sanctuary is 1000 hectares in extent and is created by the Blesbokspruit. The habitat is mostly marsh, reedbeds, sedges, mudflats and open water but there are also grassland and agricultural areas yielding typical highveld species. Waterbirds and particularly waders are the main attraction but rising water levels due to mine water discharged into the Blesbokspruit are detrimental at times. Large numbers of Ruff are often present as well and Wood, Marsh and Curlew Sandpipers, African Snipe, Black-winged Stilt and Little Stint. Rarities and specials include Slaty Egret, Black Heron, Spotted Crake, Great Crested Grebe, Little Bittern. In the grasslands Western Marsh Harrier and Montague's Harrier (summer migrants) and African Marsh Harrier may be seen. Goliath Herons, Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Mountain Wheatears and good highveld grassland birds such as Long-tailed and Red-shouldered Widows, Zitting, Cloud and Wing-snapping Cisticolas can be spotted. There is a picnic site with toilets and several hides some of which are wheelchair friendly and have toilets. There is a visitors' centre at the entrance. Early summer when vegetation is sparser (for elusive rallids and for species preferring more saline habitats such as Avocets and Cape Teal) and summer. Good at all times of the year producing rare bird species quite regularly.
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Hello Robin! Nice waxbill, very nice scene, superb lightness and brightness, ideal natucal colours. Good exposure and sharp. Interesting note. Well done!
excellent close-up photo of this beautiful bird, with fine POV,
fine focus sharpness and details of its plumage,
the catch-light render the photo more beautiful, TFS
- [2010-01-15 8:24]
Hey, moenie jouself dood werk nie. Wanneer sien ons weer ‘n posting? Eintlik is hierdie
so ‘n pragtige foto dat ek my eintlik nie oor enige nuwe materiaal hoef te bekommer nie.
Ek wonder maar net waar is jy (julle) en ek hoop dit gaan nog goed daardie kant. Hierdie
is ‘n puik voorbeeld van hierdie skamerige voëltjie. Ek weet nie hoeveel keer ek al gepoog
het om hulle af te neem in die wildtuin nie, maar net sodra jy jou kar stop of probeer nader
kom, dan vlieg hulle weg teen die spoed van wit lig.
Goeie werk en dankie