Friday, October 24, 2014

Rainy Sunset over Mwadui

Cloudy skies as the sun sets over the mine

I'm linking my post to Skywatch Friday which you can access here

And as I've been busy with taking photos at Kwet's school function farewell and later that night at the club, I just didn't have time for a pup update. Here they are at five weeks on Wednesday and 36 days yesterday,

Oh, I made time with Michael to play with them on the lawn and also take photos. The whole dynamic of the litter has changed with each pup displaying his or her own character already. Until two days ago, we'd take a pup each in our arms, Princess follows us, and the remaining five pups follow her. Now all Michael does, is to open the gate, the pups gambol out, and head for the lawn across the driveway. Michael and I have these little outings at 11am and again at around 3.30pm. Then Grant and Johan, who both drive their Toyotas into the property at lunch time and after work - and the workshop maintenance vehicle fetching tools, wood or other materials from the container at the back early in the morning - are actually at the office/workshop/maintenance yard at those hours. 
 The pups make a bee-line for Michael.  They know he's an angel!
Hello Mama, you look just like me!
Once Princess realized that the pups weren't in any immediate danger, she relaxed and started playing with them - albeit a little roughly at times!
When I sit down on the grass, several pups bound to me. They're most interested in my Mary Janes, my camera strap and lens cap on its lanyard and also in my sleeves or anything chewable!
Hello Mum. Why are you so big?
And they've discovered the art of playing with each other
Much ferocious growling and cheeky barks! 
Gnaaawww, gnaaawww!  Mum's MJ's won't last long with me chewing them
Mvulana, tongue lolling gallops towards me
The ever-patient, kind-hearted Michael has taught the pups to chase a leaf
 Shortly after their 11.30 morning play on the lawn, and their late afternoon session,
 I give them meal of ugali/ground maize cooked up with small meat chunks. 
These are meals two and three of four meals a day.

Last night around 7.30 I asked Zechariah if the pups were settled. (he's recently been challenged trying to get them into their hut at night without a fuss) He said they were all inside on the blanket and already fast asleep. All that activity in the garden and substantial meals are making them strong and  tiring them in the healthiest possible way. 

I wish you all a wonderful weekend ahead.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Good fences, Good security

One of two sections of a long, high-security, electrified fence around the sorting area of a diamond mine
Another section

I'm linking to Good Fences Thursday hosted by TexWisGirl and which you access here

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rewarding birding after rains

On Sunday morning Grant and I went out into the bush. It had rained long and heavy the day before so we expected to be inundated with birds and wildlife. However, apart from a few LBJ's who flew across the road so fast, I couldn't make them out, let alone photograph them.

On Monday night, after a sunny day, Grant and I went out again. This time we were rewarded at the entrance to the mine by a favorite little raptor sitting on the power lines. 
 Common Kestrel (Male) 

We continued onto the airstrip, turning off into the bush shortly afterwards. We did a forty five minute round trip, and believe it or not, that Kestrel was the only bird we saw that evening.

On Tuesday afternoon, I had to go into Shinyanga on company business for Grant. William, the company driver and I arrived back home at 4.40pm. I had one final errand to run across the road at the tailors, which I did. Then I fed the pups who'd not seen their Bibi all day, and Michael and I gave them a few minutes' of play on the lawn. All the time, I thought I hope Grant doesn't want to go out birding tonight; I just felt too tired to anything else. 

He duly arrived home at about 5.15 and immediately asked if I'd like to go birding. Of course, I said yes! 

And was I glad we did go out. It's most relaxing to drive through the African bush with the sun going down behind us while we craned our necks for birds and wildlife. 

We saw several Dik-dik and a long column of ants stretching from the bush to the right of us across the road and into the left side bush. These were really weird - looking ants which I've sent off to Jez for Id'ing. I'll post about these, the dik-dik and some of the birds in Eileen's Saturday Critters' Party post. 

Around the next corner, I noticed an Ibis sunning itself in the last sun rays. 
 I love the way the sun caught its eye, and also that its standing on one leg 

While I focused on the Ibis another bird landed in a branch just below. 

Fifty meters along the road, Grant stopped below a dead tree. A small flock of Fork-tailed Drongos were hawking for the supper. Knowing that it was almost impossible to photograph these birds, I didn't focus my camera on them. Then Grant said he could see a smallish "yellow-flecked" bird in the same tree. I stood on the running board and with my camera resting on the car roof, I zoomed in on the bird.
Pearl-spotted Owlet!
While I snapped away the owl issued a short sharp "tshrrr" 

The Pearl-spotted Owlet is a small, long-tailed owl. It has no ear tufts and has white spotting on back and tail. It has two black "false eyes"  on its nape.
With the owlet facing left, and its left eye still visible, the one false eye is visible on the back of its neck (I only noticed the thin branch in front of the bird when I downloaded the photos)

Although owls in general are locally common in Africa, they are extremely hard to see, especially in daylight. We were extremely lucky (and as you can imagine, thrilled) to see this one last night. We often hear its call at night in or beyond our garden. Its a series of low hoots rising in pitch "tu,tu,tu,tu, tu", then a nanosecond's pause followed by piercing, down-slurred whistles: tseuu,tseuu,tseeuu" 

As mentioned above I managed to feed the pups their penultimate meal of the day just after five. I managed to take photos of some of them standing against the wire, with Princess licking them clean through the openings and others still eating. 
 Mvulana and Bibi stand against the wire the better to see Bibi (me) ! 
 Aw mam, can I have a kiss too?
 The pups really enjoy their solid meals now

I'm linking my post to Wild Bird Wednesday which can visit by clicking here

I wish you all a wonderful Wednesday!