Hennie van Heerden's Wildlife Diary

May 31, 2014

The Battle of the Cuckoos

Filed under: 2014,May — Hennie van Heerden @ 8:19 am
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(I thought it was about time to update the wildlife diary again :-))

I was out very early in the morning a couple of days ago. Already within the first five minutes it turned out to become a good day for photography as the Roe Deer posed perfectly, and Spotted and Pied Flycatchers and a beautiful Bullfinch showed themselves.

For a couple of days already I heard a Cuckoo calling around the house and because of that it wasn’t hard to spot. He was flying up and down between the neighbour’s and our place. Unfortunately it always perched high up a tree but nonetheless I kept on shooting take-offs and landings.
I still had theImageImage calling bird in focus, waiting for yet another take-off, when all of a sudden a second Cuckoo appeared out of nowhere, practically bomb-diving my poor little friend. A fight developed, with the two birds tumbling through the air. Everything happened só fast, the only thing I could do is keep my finger on that shutter and blast away. Within 5 or 6 seconds it was all over leaving me with pounding heart and trembling hands. (apparently the Cuckoo also had a good scare because he didn’t call anymore for another hour or so, only to get back at it with new enthusiasm afterwards 🙂

I couldn’t wait to get back at the house to see if any of them would be sharp and low and behold; they were!! Of course they needed to be cropped but still I’m more then thrilled to have witnessed, ànd captured this unique event!!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

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June 14, 2011

Our domestic wildlife

Filed under: 2011,June — Hennie van Heerden @ 5:59 am
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4 weeks ago, we got a new dog; a 3 years old German Shepherd lady called Rufa. It sure stirred things up around here! The other 2 dogs, Big Black Beauceron Pandour and gentle Hovawart lady Kookai, were used to be Lord and Ladyship of the house. And Rufa had been alone all her life so was used to being the sole ruler of her non-existing pack. Well, it took some getting used to but I think that after 4 weeks the pecking order is established more or less.

When we took her from the shelter and arrived at our house we first got Pandour out of the house to get acquinted with Rufa. As he’s the biggest and probably the most dominant we expected the biggest clash with him, although it’s a sweetheart. As we expected Pandour was more curious than agressively dominant but Rufa had other ideas and went straight for his throat!! Not a good idea when you weigh 35 kilos and take it up against a 50 kilo male Beauceron. Within 3 seconds she was on her back with Pandour towering above her, whining.. Ok, that pecking order was settled.

Next came Kookai, our 7 years old Hovawart. She is a gentle sweet thing and had recent surgery on her knees so she was still a bit limping. Rufa seemed to sense that and wasn’t as rough with her as with Pandour. But a week later she tried to get second in ranking by attacking Kookai. What a fight! Kookai lost that fight although she tried to stand her ground (with Pandour helping from behind biting Rufa’s rear 🙂 We felt sorry for Kookai but we also understand that they have to establish rankings in the pack.

A week later, when Kookai had recovered from her surgery she went for revenge and put Rufa back in her place by attacking her full force. Got her by the head and did not let go. It resulted in Rufa back in third line.

Now, after 4 weeks peace has returned to our house. Rufa is getting more and more at ease and starts to understand that she doesn’t have to fight her way in. We try to acknowledge the ranking by handling the dogs in pecking order; Pandour gets food first, then Kookai, then Rufa. Same with petting, or letting them out of the door etc. It seems to work.

Pandour and Rufa play more and more together. But with dogs this size it looks as if they are in a massive fight! Rest assured, neither of them had so much as a scratch..

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