Tree Of Life
African Birdlife|November - December 2020
There are not many benefits to sitting 1500 kilometres away from the Cape when seemingly everyone on your social media platforms is watching the best wild flower season in a decade and you are not able to be there to witness this splendour of spring flowers and their pollinators.
Michael Henshall

It becomes particularly difficult when you are based in a nature reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal in September, a time when the environment there is becoming increasingly hotter and drier with each passing day. As the leaves begin to disappear and there is almost no grass leftfor grazers such as zebras and wildebeest, it is hard to watch nature go through these tough times and to push aside the FOMO feelings.

I had been wondering why any animals choose to stay here at this time, especially the birds, which could all up and leave as they pleased. That was until I realised that it is in fact the perfect time for birds to be here, because a certain tree species was providing some sweet, thirst quenching relief from the bleak, drying landscape. Other than the obvious increase in vulture (mostly White-backed and the occasional Lappet-faced), Marabou Stork and heron sightings that occur around the carcasses of animals that have succumbed to the harsh conditions, there seems to also be some benefit for nectar-feeders to remain in the area.

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