Cederberg Camping and Bird-watching at Gecko Creek

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Gecko Creek Wilderness Lodge is a perfect destination to combine both camping in the Cederberg and bird-watching. Over 165 species of birds have been identified at Gecko Creek and guests camping enjoy waking to the sounds of hundreds of birds surrounding their tents.

 

Earlier this summer, we were fortunate to have two baby Cape Buntings hatch just outside the main house from their nest in a hanging plant. These two buntings now visit our guests who are self-catering in the lapa each meal. Here is a photo of Linton feeding one of the buntings some bread crumbs out of his hand. They are so tame they have become just like family!

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Some fast facts about the Cape Bunting from the Wikipedia website:

There are a dozen subspecies, differing in plumage, but all have the distinctive head pattern and rufous in the wings.

The Cape Bunting is 16 cm long. The adult has a black crown, white supercilium and black-bordered white ear coverts. The upperparts are grey brown with some dark streaks, and the wing coverts are chestnut. The tail is darker chestnut, and the underparts are grey with a pale throat. The sexes are very similar, but females may have a buff tone to the white head markings. Young birds have duller chestnut wings, a less distinct head pattern, and heavier streaking extending on to the breast and flanks. The call is an ascending zzoo-zeh-zee-zee. The song is a loud chirping chup chup chup chup chee chhep chu.

The Cape Bunting occurs in southern Africa from southwestern Angola, eastern Zambia, Zimbabwe and southern Tanzania to the Cape. Its habitat is rocky slopes and dry weedy scrub, mainly in mountains in the north of its range. It previously utilized stony arid areas with some short grass, but much of this has been lost to ploughing.

The Cape Bunting is not gregarious, and is normally seen alone, in pairs or family groups. It feeds on the ground on seeds, insects and spiders. Its lined cup nest is built low in a shrub or tussock. The 2-4 eggs are cream and marked with red-brown and lilac.

 

 

 

Cederberg Wildlife

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One of our many resident agamas searching for his morning meal at Gecko Creek. Found the following descriptive from the website Scarce:

Biology The southern Rock Agama is probably the most well-known lizard in South Africa . This is because of its extensive range and the conspicuousness of the brightly coloured males perching on rocks and fence poles along roads. It is diurnal and mainly rock-dwelling. It may form dense colonies and both males and females maintain territories, but those of males are larger and may contain those of several females. It has a polygynous mating system and a dominant male will mate with several females within its territory. Females will mate with any male that gains access. A dominant male normally perches on the highest point in its territory and does a characteristic pushup display and head nodding when intruders come too close. When danger threatens it hugs the rock and its bright colours fade quickly so that it becomes camouflaged against the lichen-covered rocks. It can run at great speed over the rocks and also jump from rock to rock.Many people believe that it is highly poisonous. A farmer in the Kamiesberg once told us that the Rock Agama is responsible for many deaths among his cattle, particularly calves. According to him the lizard will jump on the back of the calve from a rock and then bite the calve in the neck region. The calf will die within minutes. There are of course no poisonous lizards in southern Africa, in fact there are only two poisonous species in the world, occurring in North and South America. It is, however, true that the rock agama can inflict a painful bite, drawing blood, because it has two fang-like teeth in the upper jaw.Its diet consists mainly of ants and termites, but it will also eat other invertebrates. It is oviparous and two clutches of 7-18 oval, soft-shelled eggs are laid in a shallow hole dug in damp soil, the first clutch during October-November and the second in January-February. Incubation takes 2-3 months.Agamas are closely related to chameleons, as is obvious from their ability to change their body colour and from the way they use the tongue in feeding. The tongue is, however, much shorter than that of chameleons.

 

Havin’ a Hoot in the Cederberg

Cape Eagle Owl photographed at Gecko Creek Wilderness Lodge

Emielke captured this photo of a Cape Eagle Owl inside Leopard Rock at Gecko Creek Wilderness Lodge.