Finding a Perch
Sunset dam in the Kruger National Park is famed for its abundant bird life as well as its large hippo and crocodile populations. Size wise it is a small dam, especially when you consider the likes of Mlondozi or Engelhard dams, making it quite crowded for all those living in and around it.
This is abundantly evident in the early morning when the white-breasted cormorants attempt to land on the one dead tree in the middle of the dam in order to preen. In waves they flock circle the tree, with individuals attempting sometimes difficult landing maneuvers in order to get a perch on an increasingly overcrowded tree. A pair of yellow-billed storks has also made this tree their home, building their nest high in the branches. It took a great deal of precision and a lot of wing flapping for these birds to deliver the newest twig additions to their very large nest. Another pair had chosen a spot in the middle of the dam with a lot easier access, with their nest almost complete they spent their time grooming and bonding. Their beak taps and head movements made for a beautiful dance like spectacle in the middle of the dam.
By far the most entertaining perch however was found by the grey herons, who utilized another inhabitant of the dam, its hippos, as raft. Perched on the hippos head or back they could spot small fish below the surface of the water. However, their balance needed to be perfect as the hippos often moved around just under the water making the herons appear to be “hippo surfing”. Occasionally the hippos would submerge altogether and a rather disgruntled looking heron would need to look for another perch.
©This video belongs to the Southern African Natural History Unit.
Posted on: July 6, 2012, 10:39 AM
Posted on: July 7, 2012, 10:33 AM
Posted on: July 7, 2012, 10:03 PM
Posted on: July 8, 2012, 7:29 AM