The Bird Hide

Yesterday Riekie and I (see this post for background) started the day by hijacking Rosie’s morning walk for our first photo walk. We just walked around my neighbourhood and I thoughtfully pointed out things she might want to take photos of! She later made fun of me saying that I was her “photo opportunity spotter”. I wasn’t taking a lot of photos myself because I had Rosie on the leash and was having to try and control her. Rosie was very patient at first, but then got bored with having her morning walk interrupted so often.

Sun rising behind trees

The biggest part of the morning though, and a definite highlight, was a visit to a nearby bird hide. In our area there are several inter-connected lakes, which are home to a lot of water birds. I thought that since Riekie wanted practice using her new camera, it was the ideal place to take her to do some bird photography.

The boardwalk through the reed bed from the road to the bird hide

The reeds were very tall. I loved the pattern they made against the sky as we walked through them.

The bird hide. It was lovely and cool inside on a fairly hot day, and had a good view over the reed beds and lake.

When we first sat down inside the bird hide and started looking out, there did not seem to be a lot going on. As we continued to sit there though, different bird species came and went regularly. I only had Riekie’s compact camera, so didn’t take many photos. Riekie got some really beautiful shots with her new camera, which she will be posting over the coming weeks at her blog and photoblog. We shared the space with what looked like (judging by his photographic equipment) a professional photographer. He was also kind enough to point out photo opportunities to Riekie ;-), and alerted her when interesting new species arrived!

While Riekie was doing her thing, I was happy just to watch and identify the birds, and soak in the tranquility of the place. This place is so close to civilization, yet is completely removed from it.

[Click on photos to enlarge them]

Cormorants and an African Darter

Species we saw included: the Red-knobbed Coot, Common Moorhen, Cape Cormorant, Crowned Cormorant, Reed Cormorant, African Darter, Great Egret, Little Grebe (Dabchick), Great Crested Grebe, Cape Teal, Grey Heron and Malachite Kingfisher. There were others that I haven’t identified yet. We also heard and saw at a distance two Fish Eagles.

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Categories: Nature/Environment, Random


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at and (my photoblog)


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21 Comments on “The Bird Hide”

  1. May 5, 2011 at 5:17 am #

    It’s a lot of fun doing the photowalks with you, and not just because you are an excellent “photo op spotter”! 😉

  2. May 5, 2011 at 5:56 am #

    I love the sunrise photo — it has an almost mystical quality.

    • May 5, 2011 at 9:02 am #

      Yes, it was quite mystical – there was quite a low light level where I was standing, and then this burst of light coming through the trees.

  3. Estie
    May 5, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    Its beautiful, I love the sunrise. I never see that myself as I have a problem getting out of bed that early.

    • May 5, 2011 at 9:04 am #

      Thanks! The sun only rises after 7 a.m. here now, so it’s not too early at the moment.

  4. May 5, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    I love the bird photos. Birds are so fascinating to watch. I love watchin our ducks on the river. We also have a goose who has taken to looking at its reflection in a window by the river. It spends lots of time there just staring.

    • May 5, 2011 at 9:19 am #

      Thanks! I found it so relaxing and peaceful being there. The lapping of the water and bird sounds almost had me falling asleep.

      Riekie took some really lovely photos during our visit to the bird hide. One was also of a bird seemingly looking at it’s reflection in the water. I’ll put up a link on my blog once she’s started posting her photos.

  5. May 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Sounds like another fun day of photo op spotting! Love ones of the birds–amazing, Lisa!

  6. Lu
    May 5, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    It is lovely to go bird watching isn’t it? Such a tranquil way to spend some down-time.. That is the most amazing thing about South Africa, you can just spend time in your garden – in the middle of the city (!) and still have the most amazing birds visit you. It’s even better here, at camp in the Kruger. We’ve just been treated to a visit by two brownheaded parrots! So cute!

    • May 6, 2011 at 6:32 am #

      We do have some amazing birds come to our garden too – I suppose because we live quite close to the mountains and forests.

      Hope you’re taking lots of nice photos in Kruger!

  7. jacquelincangro
    May 5, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    What a beautiful day for that walk! I’ve also seen cormorants in person, and I find them stunning birds.

    Reggie would love to take a walk like this. I’ll have to take shots of our morning walk someday – what a contrast!

    • May 6, 2011 at 6:35 am #

      We had two very bright, sunny days which were great for photo walks. Then it started raining yesterday . . .

      Would love to see what your daily walks are like.

  8. May 6, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    I feel homesick for that sky!

    • May 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

      Yes, we do have nice blue skies here. This week we had two perfect sunny days – in what is our winter.

  9. May 9, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    Bird watching from a hide on the water’s edge is so wonderful, calming, soothing, isn’t it? One does need a good zoom lens with the smaller birds, though! And a tripod (or a handy window ledge) is useful. You got some lovely shots here. Well done to you both! 😉

    • May 10, 2011 at 6:29 am #

      Yes, it is very calming. I found especially the sounds that the water birds made very soothing. Maybe because they’re less shrill than some of the forest birds? And the sounds of lapping water almost made me fall asleep.

      I took the shots on this posts with a little compact camera. Riekie will be posting her much better photos (taken with her new camera) on her blog/photoblog, so look out for those. The professional photographer who was sharing the hide with us, had some really serious equipment – huge lens etc. Would love to have seen his photos – he was taking mainly “action shots”.

  10. May 11, 2011 at 6:48 am #

    Great photos, Lisa! I think my favorite is of the reeds against the blue sky. Great composition!

    • May 11, 2011 at 7:03 am #

      Thanks! It was such a bright day out that I could barely see what I was doing outside of the bird hide. Riekie got the better bird shots, so look out for those on her photoblog.


  1. Photo walk: Malachite Bird Hide « clouded marbles - May 12, 2011

    […] short walk from the road, through some reeds, to get to the hide.  Lisa has some nice photos in her post to show what it looks like.  I learned a few things about bird-watching/photography.  First […]

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