From Dusk Till Dawn

SA Bass - - Lifestyle -

I am ded­i­cat­ing this month’s ar­ti­cle to a friend and a big as­set to the bird­ing com­mu­nity who re­cently passed away. He was well loved in many bird­ing cir­cles and known for his ex­cel­lence in bird­ing and pho­tog­ra­phy. I met Oom Chris when we went to Tza­neen for Rudi’s na­tion­als last year. When Rudi went up for the pre-fish in May last year, an­other bird­ing friend, Jan­nie, sug­gested I go visit a friend of his Oom Chris. Jan­nie told me of all the won­der­ful species Oom Chris had in just his gar­den alone. Amongst all the beau­ti­ful gems, two very spe­cial birds stood out, the Blue-spot­ted Wood-Dove and the Mag­pie Man­nikin, two ex­tremely rare finds in South­ern Africa, and the cherry on the cake was, they breed in his gar­den!

I did not hes­i­tate and called Oom Chris on our way to Tza­neen and booked a morn­ing on his stoep. Bird­ers from all over the coun­try would visit by Oom Chris, have a warm cup of cof­fee and wait pa­tiently for the guests of hon­our to ar­rive. The birds never dis­ap­pointed and would ar­rive some­times slowly, other times al­most im­me­di­ately when Oom Chris put out food for them. Many birds cas­caded onto the feed­ing bowls and stumps in ei­ther large groups or pairs or sin­gle birds of a species. Oom Chris had names for al­most ev­ery bird and knew each bird’s move­ments and feed­ing pat­terns. It was so nice to sit and lis­ten to his ex­ten­sive knowl­edge on the birds and what he has done for the bird­ing com­mu­nity. His pho­to­graphs were like what you saw on Na­tional Geo­graphic. He set the bar very high and ev­ery time he saw me, he would ask me, “When are you get­ting your­self a de­cent cam­era?” I al­ways gig­gled as even with my 500D Canon en­try-level cam­era, I was still tak­ing de­cent shots of birds. He al­ways com­pli­mented me on my photos and said that even though I am able to take nice shots, if I got my­self a 7D Canon it would make

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