Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dullstroom Fantasy Bird Competition (Year 2)


This is a guest post by Nikki Benson

As if there were any question, Paul and I dominated AGAIN at Fantasy Birding 2017 (if you missed what Fantasy Birding is about, please refer to my blog post last year).

Two things were different this year:
1. Kent and I are much better birders, and I was much more interested in birds over the last year (birding is for old people and now it has rubbed off on me, ugh). So, we were much better teammates to Dawn and Paul (me more than Kent).

2. We basically drove off to go birding each day for at least 3 hours, which means we did not parent our children nor did we spend time with family and friends (so not that much different than last year).

One thing that was NOT different:

1. Paul and I dominated, AGAIN. Paul takes his birding very seriously, and by seriously, I mean he printed out an excel spreadsheet and calculated the percentages of seeing the bird and how many points they are worth. So, he drafted all the birds for us, and I took the list and studied with all the free time I had while grandparents were here. 

The first few days, Paul and I fell WAY behind. Kent and Dawn spotted a Blue Crane, some ducks, a Cape Vulture, and I spotted the Southern Bald Ibis (which was on their list, my bad). I also spotted their Secretary bird TWICE, but kept my mouth shut. This isn't about us appreciating and looking at beautiful birds, it's about WINNING.

However, Paul and I made an incredible comeback. We spotted our Amethyst Sunbird (living at our vacation house), a Helmeted Guineafowl (worth way too many points), a White Breasted Cormorant, a Little Grebe, and more. Dawn graciously spotted our Bokmakierie, our Hamerkop (which she tried to lie about, but she is REALLY obvious when she lies), and our Spur-winged Goose. Thanks Dawn!

In the end, Paul and I DOMINATED. As a punishment last year, I made t-shirts with photos that I cropped from Dawn's professional ones. It is frowned upon, but it's a punishment, not a reward. 

I will probably do the same punishment this year. Dawn got some great photos of a Common Fiscal eating the head of a weaver, which will make great t-shirts (and who knew Common Fiscals are total assholes/cannibals?). The Common Fiscal hung the weaver on some barbed wire and just mutilated it, which is a perfect metaphor for what the "Mean Spouse Team" did to the "Nice Spouse Team."

We are hoping to take a trip to Grenada in September, so we will hopefully have one last competition before the Plevasides and Bensons separate across the world!

 Jackal Buzzard

Fork-tailed Drongo

 African Olive Pigeon

 Amythest Sunbird

 Cape Rock Thrush

 Pin-tailed Whydah

 Cinnamon-breasted Bunting

 Cape Weaver (female)

 Ant-eating Chat

Red-collared Widowbird

And the infamous Common Fiscal eating a Weaver and feeding it to the baby Fiscal. 






1 comment:

Joan Littlefield said...

Is that the Common Fiscal's mate coming to get some Weaver bird, or is this bird yelling at him? He seems to have a "What? I thought this was ok" kind of look.