Lesser Kestrels in the Karoo

Every year when we go home in the summer to my parents hotel in the Karoo (you can read my post about it here), we are witness to an amazing bird phenomena. As dusk approaches, hundreds of Lesser Kestrels seems to appear out of nowhere. They circle the air above the hotel preparing to roost for the night in huge desert pine trees in our neighbour’s yard.

These small falcons migrate every year from Russia and Eastern Europe to spend the summer months in the Karoo area. During the day these birds forage on insects, spiders and small vertebrates in the Karoo veldt and in the evenings they gather in flocks of thousands to feed and roost communally in large trees in rural towns. So if you find yourself at sunset in Britstown from late-November to late-February, look up into the sky and be amazed at the incredible cloud of birds.

Aren’t these pictures, all taken last month, quite beautiful? 

The painting below was done by landscape artist, Karin Daymond. She is a South African painter living in Nelspruit. She says that she enjoys the process of finding a sense of order in what might initially seem like chaotic nature and then distilling this into a painting.

It’s because of the kestrels at home that this particular one caught our eye on a visit to a Rosebank gallery, and I show you a photo of it here, because now if you want to see the original you’d have to be standing next to my in-laws’ bed :-)!

You can read more about the artist here.


Image credits: 1 & 2) Photos taken by me 3) Karin Daymond

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