Learn something new everyday.

About 100 years ago when I was still studying, I met an old man who trained us in the laboratory. What fascinated me was his ability to talk to anyone on any subject knowledgeably – always having some anecdote to add that made the conversation so interesting.  I remember clearly sitting in his training lab and deciding that I would like to be like that one day. I made a conscious decision there and then to learn something new everyday. And I have. Every night before I sleep I go over the new things I learned that day.

Today I saw two new things that I have never seen before – all before 9am. They were both birds, visiting the bush around our swimming pool.

I am really bad at remembering names so I decided to write a little about them for you to help me remember them.  The first was a female Black Cuckooshrike.  I saw her yesterday too but in poor light so could not identify her. I was so glad she returned this morning so that I could get a good look and find her in my book.

(Image from Wikipedia)

Her male counterpart looks like this:

(image from http://birding.krugerpark.co.za/)

As you can see he is strikingly different. I am keeping a look out to see if I can spot him too.

The other bird I saw is quite common but I just have not seen them around here before.  We do have very many birds so I probably missed them in the crowd.

Retz’s Helmet-Shrike

(image by Johann du Preez)

These birds were in a group (of about 10 birds) and were all jumping about in one of my marula trees.  The leaves were still dripping wet from the rain we had last night and they were fluffing out their feathers and almost washing themselves in the leaves.

With everything I have had to do here on the farm, I have neglected my birdwatching.  I am going to try to spend more time catching up on all the species around here.  I should start a list. I am bad with lists.

(As you need a fancy schmancy camera with a HUGE lens to take really good bird photos, these photos are not mine. I use Warwick Tarboton’s website to help me with bird identifications. The  photos for this post however are not his as he is copyrighted and I was unable to get permission to use his pictures. If you have time it is really worthwhile having a look at his site. He also has stunning images of many dragonflies and other creatures.)


8 thoughts on “Learn something new everyday.

  1. Great birds Jackie. I haven’t seen either of those before. I will have to come & visit again in the summer!
    A great philosophy to learn something new everyday. It goes together with the acknowledgement that you can also learn from anyone and everybody:)


  2. Lifelong learning is a skill that needs constant attention:-) looks like you’re doing great! I’m trying to learn about the different birds in my new locality – it’s enough to keep the grey cells active!


  3. What lovely markings the cuckooshrike has. How clever of you to have consciously learnt something new every day. What a brilliant plan!


  4. Ahhhh…you know that I’m a sucker for the bird posts! Really beautiful birds. I probably mentioned this before, but I carried my bird guide with me everywhere during my SA visit. I never tallied up the final count, but I’m sure I saw twice as many species as I identified. Love SA birding!


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