06 Mar 2017 323 views
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photoblog image Burchell's coucal
Burchell's coucal|

Burchell's coucal


A very interesting bird. The most melodious call around. I tried some Youtube recordings to share, but quality sucks. Most of the recordings can barely be heard, while in reality they produce a strong sound.


I am sure that when they chant their melody, other birds shudder. The coucal is just smaller than a crow and an accomplished nest robber. I have once witnessed how a coucal took a dove from the air. A second later the only sign of the drama was a lone dove feather fluttering to the ground. Officially not a raptor, but it loves bird meat.


Most of the time it skulks around in the undergrowth and the photographer has to wait patiently until it surfaces, for a quick picture opportunity.


Sometime ago, I started losing my ability to spot birds in time for a careful approach. I went to two eye specialists and both thought, I must be patient the floaters will go away. The third one (a woman, Astrid!) took amazing detailed pictures of my eyes and showed me the cataracts. I have floaters too, but the cataracts are causing most issues. So on Wednesday I will go for the first operation and the following Wednesday, the other eye.


My bird pictures I have been posting recently are all old ones. Birds fool me all too easily nowadays. Or maybe I have been fooling myself, trying to go after them. Well whatever - I hope for positive results and am planning some breakaways for the rest of the year. But first, over the next two weeks I will have low activity on SC.


Then breakaways - mountain lair end of March; Dutchland and Portugal in May; Turkey in September; Deutchland and Dutchland end of October. If all of this works out, it will be a celebration of seeing!



comments (20)

What a beautiful bird! His head is a bit like a raptor, with a different beak of course. But the body and tail remind me a bit of our Mockingbirds.

Good luck with your cataract surgeries, Louis! I'm sure everything will go well!
Louis: Mmm, I can see the mockingbird comparison. Thanks for the good wishes.
  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 6 Mar 2017, 03:55
As soon as I saw the eyes and beak in the thumbnail I recognised it as a Coucal, Louis. This is a wonderful image.

In Thailand we have two species of Coucal, and I have shown the Greater Coucal a couple of times...similar size and shape to this beauty, but a very different colour scheme.
Louis: We have a total of five types of coucal in Southern Africa. So far, I have pictures of only two types. One of the other types, the green coucal, I may never even see in my life - scarce and remote. Thanks Ray.
  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 6 Mar 2017, 03:56
I hope the eye surgery goes well for you!
Louis: Thank you Ray.
  • Lisl
  • Bath, England
  • 6 Mar 2017, 06:00
I wish you well, Louis, with your eye ops. (They made all the difference to me). Your Coucal would grace any book on ornithology, and it won't be long before you see your beloved birds clearly again
Louis: Thank you Lisl. Glad to read about a good outcome.
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 6 Mar 2017, 06:21
I so love this series and I don't care that it is from 'old times'... absolute fabulous.
I am so glad that you are able to get rid of the cataracts....Good luck in the process and I know 'een wereld gaat open als het gedaan is'.....
Louis: Dankjewel, Astrid. Luckily, I have scores of old pictures, good enough for posting.
Your bird images always awe me, Louis, because they are so textbook--something I'd expect in National Geographic, for instance! Listening to you describe your eyes makes me think I have floaters, too. I know I have small cataracts in there also. I plan to check them out again in October (America).

Speaking of which, would you please send Astrid and me your May and October dates for Dutchland. We truly hope THIS time we can see you in real life (even though we have a trip to Cornwall in May and our annual trip to America in October).
Louis: Thank you, Ginnie. Many people have floaters - when they are small and few, it doesn't matter, as you will seldom be aware of them. But when there are many of them and some are large - then your eyes start to work hard and you see things ... I will still send an explanatory e-mail, but in the mean time, I think that Friday 12 May is a possibility.
  • Chris
  • England
  • 6 Mar 2017, 07:27
Beautiful bird Louis!

Best of luck with the cataract operations, you will feel reborn afterwards.
Louis: Thank you Chris. I am looking forward to positive results.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 6 Mar 2017, 07:35
Oh, I would like to listen to the melodious call of this bird, I admire his/her feathers and the long tail. Many thanks for your narrative.
Louis: Bedankt, Philine. 'T is mij een pleziertje.
A pal of mine had his cataracts done and he has near perfect vision now at the ripe old age of 77!

Beautiful Boid
Louis: Oh, I am longing for that near perfect vision ... Thanks Bill.
There certainly is a raptor look about this beautiful bird. Best luck with the eyes. Good for you to go to the third doctor to get some satisfaction.
Louis: Thank you Mary. One thing about being an experienced adult, is that you can know when the opinion doesn't match your physical experience. It can't just be explained away.
That bird probably has rights to its music and you are unable to record it in full quality Louis. What great trips you have coming up, there could be a feast of pictures on the way.
Louis: Heh, they probably have rights smile Good trips will lead to good pictures, you are right.
Lovely shot, Louis. I've had cataract ops on both eyes - 20 mins each and the result in remarkable. No ill effects from either. If you get the distance lens fitted (which is the only one the NHS does in the UK, because of more problems with the multi-focus lens) you may find reading more problematical, even with new glasses. I wear a supplementary pair of reading glasses over the top of mine for screen work.
Louis: Thanks Tom. We can choose between reading or distance lenses, in my medical fund. I chose distance. The multi-focals are not covered, but remains an option - but according to my dr. people report seeing circles when confronted with sharp light. I plan to do cheap reading glasses, until the post op issues are stable.
Terrific image of a lovely bird Louis.
Louis: Thank you Brian
Best of luck on your procedures Louis--I am sure you'll be seeing better...
Louis: Thank you Larry
Il est magnifique, tu es doué pour les photos d'oiseaux.
Louis: Merci Martine, c'est un aimable commentaire.
i wish you all the best for the forthcoming procedures and then of course you will be back with stunning images of more beautiful birds, Louis
Louis: Thank you Ayush - much appreciated.
this is a magnificent photo of the Burchell and your description of its song and hunting other birds Louis...
i had cataract surgery a week apart about five years ago and i didn't realize how crystal blear the world was...
you are going to love the results...

btw... the doc will tell you not to lift anything or to exert yourself for several days... take him at his word...
one of my friends carried his luggage out of his hotel and has had trouble with that eye ever since...
he behaved when the other operation was done and there were no complitions....petersmile
Louis: Thanks for the advice. My wife is a RN and already wagged her finger at me smile Mean time, I am longing back to that clear vision, so I plan to behave.
Just thinking of you, Louis... smile
Louis: Thank you Elizabeth 0 it should happen about 4 hrs from now smile
  • Beth
  • United States
  • 8 Mar 2017, 11:42
This is an amazing shot. Perfect clarity and light. I hope your surgery went well and that you can see the birds again!
Louis: Thank you, Beth. One eye done and already I can see so much better.
  • Martine
  • France
  • 11 Mar 2017, 02:06
Superbe photo, j'adore.
Louis: Merci, Martine.

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