Happy Father’s Day to me

Long weekends in the Buckham household are eagerly awaited.  Not only by the kids, but by Jeanie and I.  There is nothing better than having that one extra day to squeeze in even more activities in a weekend than normal.

This most recent Youth Day weekend was no exception.  My work had been extremely stressful of late and I was looking forward to the weekend more than I had for any other weekend for a very long time.  Not only was it that the stressful week had been a cause for the anticipation but also since we were heading to George to spend the weekend with my parents.

We had not been to George for a while and, in fact, I had not had a decent opportunity to test my new found skills in frog and lizard finding in George on any previous occasion.  There were definitely some new animals for us to look for and with the weather predictions looking good we were hoping to add to our lists.

Being a Father’s Day weekend I was also hopeful that I would be able to indulge myself with as much “me time” as possible.  Sure, many of my activities would involve Jeanie, the boys and Emma but it is always useful to have that tiny bit more leeway in order to make sure all bases are covered when searching for new animals, particularly when some of them would be quite tough.

So, on that note I had a wish list of five specific species, the identity of which will be revealed in good time.

The first on the list was a Red-chested Flufftail.

I had seen Red-chested Flufftails on a number of occasions but Adam had always missed out when we did see them and I had also not managed a decent photograph.  We set out on Saturday morning to a reliable spot I had found before and, although the weather was extremely cold and windy under leaden skies, I was hopeful of a sighting.  A bright sunshine morning was less likely to be successful with super-skulkers like flufftails.

We found our spot and took up our position and played a short burst of the tape.  Within seconds we had at least two males on either side of the path calling back at us.  We felt our chances were really good and so got our cameras ready to fire but everything just went completely quiet.

We waited for a good half an hour or so and as we decided to pack up and try somewhere else a male called again no more than 4 or 5 metres away from us.  So, it was back down again in patient mode and finally, within the space of 30 seconds, two males crossed the path in opposite directions to one another.

The views were very good but extremely quick and I barely had a chance to lift my camera, never mind take a photograph.  Adam was pretty satisfied, though, and so we had ticked off our single bird target for the weekend.

Adam waiting for flufftails

I guess on a family weekend it is important to maintain a balance and shortly after our flufftail tick we set off on the Outeniqua Power Van from the George Transport Museum.  The Power Van is a small engine driven railway carriage that trundles up the railway line that crosses the Outeniqua mountains from the coastal plain in George to the Little Karoo towards Oudtshoorn.  It is a real tourist experience but it is one of the most enjoyable outings we have had as a family in a long time.

Jack and Emma at the station

The Buckhams ready to board

Adam and the driver

Tommy on the train