Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge (Day One): Early Bird

I have been reading the “Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge” posts popping up on my reader over the last week or so and have loved all the entries. So when Cee from Cee’s Photography Blog send me an invitation to join I was delighted! My biggest challenge will be getting my internet connection and/or electricity supply to behave, something it hasn’t been doing very well at during the last fortnight. [I have been struggling to upload one picture for the last 30 minutes It took five hours to upload these pictures]

Cee is a very active blogger, she always posts something every day. She also runs various daily photo and writing challenges and offers helpful advice and encouragement to everyone who takes part – I don’t know where she finds the energy! If you haven’t already, I recommend that you pop over to her site to have a look at her work – her photos and accompanying stories are beautiful.

“The rules of Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo (It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph) and then nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge. Accepting the challenge is entirely up to the person nominated, it is not a command.”

Today I would like to invite Genis’s Fat Dog Diary to join in the fun. Genis’s stories are told from the point of view of “The Dog Himself”. They are fun to read and of course the photos of Genis and his surroundings are gorgeous.

Early Bird

I have never been someone who leaps out of bed as soon as the first bird starts to tweet. I’m more of a stay tucked up in bed snoozing until the last possible moment sort of person.

These days I find this difficult. Most of our house does not even have windows, let alone curtains to keep out the sunlight, and our living space is open and bare to the elements. And the wildlife.

The other morning while lying in bed, my eyes screwed tightly shut while I pretended that I was sleeping in that day (who was I kidding?), there was a sudden loud CRASH on the roof overhead. Then another. And another – a dead tree hangs over the roof of our bedroom and often branches are broken off by whatever animal happens to be foraging for beetles or spiders hiding under the dead bark at that time. Branches break, fall on the roof and the loud bangs wake me – and then I heard a long, plaintive wail, something sounding like a small baby crying because it hadn’t been fed for two days. Or because someone was poking its leg with a very sharp instrument and wouldn’t stop.

I reluctantly opened my eyes, peered up at the gap at the top of the bedroom wall that serves as a window and saw two eyes peering back down at me. They seemed to be saying “What? Are you still in bed this late in the day?”


I fumbled around for my glasses but by the time I had put them on and looked again the bird was gone. I was quite glad about that – at least now I could get dressed without being gawked at from above.

But this bird was determined. No sooner had I pulled a shirt over my head when I got the feeling I was being watched again. But what was that she had in her beak?


I knew, from the wailing sound, that it was a Trumpeter Hornbill (Bycanistes bucinator) that had so rudely woken me. But I also knew (or at least thought I knew) that their diet consists mostly of fruit and insects. Whatever that was in her beak was neither of those (I knew it was a female by the size of her casque – that lump on top of her beak. It’s longer on males).

By now I was standing on the tip of my toes on top of the kist that sits at the end of our bed, stretching upwards to get a better view.

She threw her head back and tossed that ‘thing’ around a bit and I began to get a better idea what it was she was she had found while rummaging around in the tree above our room.



It was a chick! Unidentifiable by now, but definitely another species of bird.


I jumped down off the kist to consult my Roberts Birds of Southern Africa – perhaps I had misidentified this bird – when there was another plaintive wail and the Hornbill looked down at something I couldn’t see. So instead of reading the book I had grabbed, I placed it on the kist, stood on it and could then see there was another noisy bird, sitting on a lower branch.



The newcomer hopped further up the branch and I expected that either my original bird would fly off with her treasure, or that there would be a fight over who would go hungry that morning.


Turns out I was wrong on both counts. The new guy (or rather gal. Unless the casque grows with age) was her newly fledged chick, noisily begging for breakfast!


From now on I’ll make more of an effort to get up earlier in the mornings, it can turn out quite interesting.

20 thoughts on “Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge (Day One): Early Bird

  1. Great story. Africa is a wonderful place to live in, notwithstanding the slow internet, no electricity for hours on end – we have the same problems. Well, first you honour my silly little doggie blog by nominating me (thank you for the kind words!) and then you set a standard so high that I can never hope to achieve the same. 😀 I will try my best though, but I have to postpone my “first day” story until the start of the weekend, due to an unexpected workload dump on the human writing on my behalf. I hope this is in order? Until then, enjoy life, it is worth living!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind comments! Africa certainly can be wonderful. And frustrating. And infuriating. But it forces me to keep my sense of humour alive and early morning visits like this help me to keep things in perspective.
      I have to confess it was a story I had been working on/thinking about for some time (and then the picture uploading debacle nearly made me give up!) – it was just luck that the challenge came along when it did 🙂
      I LOVE your little doggie blog (it’s not silly at all) and I’m looking forward to reading what he come up with once the human workload is out of the way 🙂
      I wish I could understand more Afrikaans so that I could read your stories in your other blogs. I do get Piet to translate some for me (but it’s difficult to drag him away from the fields 😉 ).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have witnessed the Trumpeter raiding a nest and making off with the chicks… and this was in a Lichee tree where the bird was filling itself with fruit.. I have a fair knowledge of birds, this was a first for me… never knew they did this… and to do it in a tree full of fruit seemed strange as … I tried to follow the bird to see what it intended to do with the chick, but it out flew me, yet returned for more chicks… this post now makes a bit more sense of the behaviour for me, it was obviously taking the birds back to the nest to feed young… the difference being it was a male robbing the nest… this happened in Marina Beach in Natal where my son has a holiday cottage… fascinating post…


    • Thank you for taking the time to share your Trumpeter story – also fascinating 🙂 I may be wrong, but I think both male and female hornbills tend to their young. And can you tell me if my assumption that ‘my’ bird is a female was correct?
      We are visited almost daily by a fairly large flock of these birds – I would love to find where there is a nest and keep an eye on it.


      • They nest in a hollow in a tree, where the female is sealed in while she incubates the eggs… then the male feeds her fruit and insects… when the young are born she leaves the nest and both feed the young… my knowledge is the same as yours the female has a smaller knob…. but young birds as food is not usual as far as I know…. I have sat and watched a nest taking photo records of the food they bring to the nest, not once did I see anything but fruit and insects… so this is a first for me


  3. Pingback: Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge (Day Two): Clouds | Far Out in Africa

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