Wednesday, March 09, 2016

An Afternoon at the Thamalakane River Lodge

A rain squall coming in from the delta.
We stopped for lunch at the Thamalakane River Lodge yesterday. There are great scenic views of the river and the fields beyond here and the food is reasonable as well. This time we tried the pizza with the chicken and the home-made peri-peri sauce. Oh my! Between us we had three slices of pizza, two bottles of water and two Coke-Lites and were still on fire. We got a box for the remainder to try for dinner. On the way home we stopped for more grapes to try to take the edge off if it. We were at least partially successful and the pizza is now all gone (along with the lining to my digestive tract).

After lunch we settled in for some birds watching. We weren't the only ones have a lunch with a kick to it.

Great Grey Heron with lunch alive and kicking!
There was a Great Grey Heron along the shore of the river doing some hunting for lunch. We soon saw that he had a frog by the foot. A very much alive frog. Clearly stuffing this in your tummy could bring some serious indigestion, so first the meal must be subdued (killed?). This seemed to take forever. The heron would dunk the frog in the river and pull it out and give it a good shake. This went on and on for 10-15 minutes. And then, the frog was gone. Lunch at last!

There were two new birds sighted, as well. The Intermediate Egret and the Purple Heron. The Intermediate Egret is larger than a Cattle Egret, smaller than the Great White Heron (hence, intermediate) and distinguished by his yellow beak and upper legs and middling size. Elizabeth has a good eye for this stuff; I'd have never figured this out.

The other new bird was the Purple Heron. He is much larger, larger even than the Great Grey and distinctly purple down the neck.

A Purple Heron fishing. In the background is an Open-Billed Stork.
As you can see, the heron is clearly colored along the neck. The Open-Billed stork in the background is also fishing. By holding out his wings, he creates a shadow on the water enabling him to more clearly see any food swimming past. Kind of like a polarizing filter for storks.

There were other birds, but the egret and heron were the only new ones for us. Catching the Great Grey for lunch (pun intended) as a real treat for everyone.