Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Pheasantly Surprised


It is only Tuesday and I am already feeling how long this week is after having gotten used to all the recent long weekends. I needed a break as afternoon was reached, so I took a walk into the gardens surrounding my office here in Bosasa which is situated inside the Mogale Business Park, Krugersdorp.

Bright Lights, Bright Lights! With not a cloud in sight, the glare from the weak winter sun was frightening but oh the warmth of its rays on my skin was divine. It was during this stroll, taking in all of the beauty around me, that I was pheasantly surprised to come across a Lady Amherst Pheasant. Okay excuse the pheasant pun and that this was no lady as his name suggests.

Lady? Well only the males are stunningly coloured whereas the females are much a less showy mottled brown. More for her protection from predators. It was the first time that I saw such an exquisite bird and had go back and look it up on the interwebs. My research told me that this was a Lady Amherst Pheasant and it was so named in honour of the Countess Sarah Amherst, the wife of the then governor of Bengal. Since then the region of Bengal was been portioned up by the British based on religion and it now forms part of both India and Bangladesh. The Countess Amherst was responsible for sending the first Lady Amherst Pheasant to Britain.


Over the past decades the numbers in the English countryside have declined from over 200 pairs to sadly now only 1 due to loss of habitat and foxes moving into their areas. Yes only one singe male is left in Britain and nothing can be done as Britain’s Wildlife and Countryside Act includes a ban on introducing new breeding stock to animals not native to Britain. So once this beautiful male is no more, the Lady Amherst Pheasant will become the first bird to become extinct in Britain since 1840.

And then today I find this beautiful male with a harem of females. I followed it for a while and could not get a good shot of him as he moved through the dense under growth of Mogale Business Park until I had him up against the aviary housing where the new birds are kept for acclimatising. One for the twitchers book, this is one gorgeous looking bird, if I must say so myself.

1 comment:

Andre Schoonbee said...

Beutiful bird thanks for sharing

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