a jewel among the leaves

African emerald cuckoo. In the past four years, I have never seen more than a glimpse of this elusive bird, often hearing its melody in the tree canopies. They blend in perfectly with the greens and yellows of leaves. If by chance I spot one, it is in flight from its perch, the metallic blue-green of wings vibrating in the sunlight, contrasting sharply with a deep citron-yellow breast.

And so, it was a rewarding morning when a pair of brilliant males flew into the garden, announcing their arrival with a piercing yodel-like melody. I have heard this before, so I was out of doors in a flash. They stayed in the garden for several hours, sometimes soaring directly above my head, other times leading me to a mimosa bush, or nauclea tree, as though waiting for me to catch up; hopping into view, giving me a look, then off to the next tree. Our gardener found my obsession to photograph them amusing, and when I lost track of the pair, he took pride in searching them out. Without doubt, one of the most enjoyable (and long awaited) photographic experiences I have had here in Yenzi.

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