On the last weekend I was in South Africa, I was honoured to be a priestess of love (otherwise known as bridesmaid) at my lovely friend Alba’s wedding. We had spent the week before crafting and preparing everything for her wedding bonanza, and had also driven up to the venue. Located in Hartebeespoort, an area north of Johannesburg, bordered on one side by the breathtaking Magaliesberg mountains and the other by the sweeping Hartebeespoort dam, the Red Ivory Lodge was the perfect place for Alba & Mike to get married. I was pretty excited when on driving through the gates we were greeted by the loveliest little bird: the paradise flycatcher. His brilliant plumage of russet and slate blue caught my eye as we drove up into the lodge’s nature reserve.
My photograph at the top, doesn’t really capture the magnificence of this little feathered fellow, but the three illustrations by (1) Dr George Shaw and Frederick Polydore Nodder; (2) Jill Adams and (3) good family friend, artist Duncan Butchart show him at his best.
After the festivities of the wedding day, we retired to the guest lodges for a well deserved nap, and I woke up the next morning to my little blue headed friend chattering away in the tree tops outside my room. I took my coffee outside and tried to get some photographs, but he proved to be rather illusive, and without my sisters telephoto lens, I was out of zoomed in luck.
Just as we were leaving however, we discovered his nest with two baby flycatchers nestled inside. Mr Paradise was clearly keeping an eye on them, and he rightly needed to, as his choice of nest location was rather silly, being very low down near the ground. We were easily able to take these photographs of the two restless babies as they screamed for breakfast!