Lots of interesting things have been happening in my yard the last few weeks. The most recent was an addition to the yard list of this female Red-backed Shrike. I saw her this morning while drinking my coffee on the porch. At first I had no idea “who” she was. She was acting very different from all of my usual yard birds except perhaps the bulbuls. She was sitting out in the open hawking insects from a rather low perch in the bougainvillea. I could tell she was not a bulbul, but what other bird would be hawking insects like that? She was quite far away from me, so after a few minutes of watching her I decided to get a little closer. I was worried I would spook her and send her flying away before I could get a good look but I needn’t have been. She never spooked even when I got relatively close. At this point I got her identified as a red-backed shrike. After I watched her a little bit longer, I went inside to check my field guide to make sure I had it right. After double checking Jonathan’s photos, as well, I was sure that I did. So first time to see this bird in the yard.
After I went inside, Jonathan got all of these shots including the one below where she was expelling a pellet. I was a bit sorry to have missed that, although actually admitting that I wanted to see it sounds a bit gross.
Other happenings around the yard include this nesting bulbul or pair of bulbuls. I originally saw a nest through the window of a less used room in the house. Most likely they can’t see through the window very well so it is a good observation point for me to check on them without disturbing them too much. Jonathan got these photos for me from outside, but the nest is much more hidden from most angles besides the window so it is pretty tough to get photos. The first one is one of the birds sitting on the nest which I hope you can make out a bit and the second is what looks like two eggs in the nest. (Jonathan had to get on the roof and look down into the bush to get that one.
Finally, the White-browed Robin-Chats have been all stirred up for several weeks. Rather than their usual skulking selves, hiding in all the bushes, they have been coming out into the open and singing loudly at all times of the day. At one point one even came up onto the front porch singing loudly. He seemed to be claiming it as part of his territory though I can’t really be sure. They do seem to be acting territorial, but it is hard to tell exactly what is going on with them. Mating season I suppose.
Here is one singing his heart out right in front of the house.
Great backyard birding in Zambia!