subirding

/səˈbəːdɪŋ/

verb

the action of bird watching in suburban gardens "they've been subirding all weekend"

the striking Black Collared Barbet

Throughout the lock down in South Africa, Mr Wild and I have spent every weekend outdoors, enjoying the sunshine and taking in the sights and sounds of our little garden. The busy bees (and it's clear why they have that nickname) have joined us every day, frantically collecting pollen from the few flowers we have available and a variety of common garden birds can be seen enjoying the fruits and seeds we leave out for them most mornings.


Last Wednesday, I was enjoying a cup of afternoon tea when I heard the unmistakable hollow tap of pecking on wood. We'd installed a new sisal nesting log a few weeks back in the hopes that we may attract a pair of barbets to nest. (Previous years have ended in failure following over-enthusiastic burrowing right through the log...)


Excitedly I peered out of the window to find either Mr or Mrs Black Collared Barbet busily hollowing out a hole in the log. Being a bird nerd, this is a massive development and I quickly took to my message boards to share the biggest news since COVID-19 with all my friends and followers!


subirding like a pro

Since then, the highlight of my day is sightings of this pair who have since completed their nest and can be seen enjoying fruit or basking in the afternoon sun in the trees lining our garden. Yesterday, Mr Wild grabbed his binoculars and we sat together, enjoying the warm sun, while we observed these two, and other birds, going about their business.



We'd been sitting there for about 30 minutes when, out of the blue, an amethyst sunbird landed not 2 metres from me on our one and only aloe*. The fleeting moment lasted but a few seconds but the image of that little beauty is still burned into my retinas and still fills me with excitement just thinking about it. Like I said, I'm a bird nerd!


Enjoying the small fauna that's been visiting us of late, I've finally come to a realisation:

Yes - we can't travel. Yes - we can't go driving in the game reserve. Yes - we're stuck at home.


BUT there is still lots to see if you're up for looking. Lock down has taught us all a lot about ourselves, economies, psychology and politics to name a few. Why not take a moment to learn a little more about our tiny neighbours and encourage them to stay awhile?


Disclaimer: Subirding is not a real word and, while we'd be honoured to see it in the dictionary's new additions, this is not the aim. We only hope to add it into people's hearts. Grab a beer, slap on some sunscreen and go subirding this weekend.


* Anyone have some contacts who are looking to sell a few hundred aloes for cheap?

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