Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cute as a button!

I've posted about the monkeys which "invade" our garden morning and evening. I posted about how they can quickly become more of a pest if you feed them near human habitation. Well, all this notwithstanding, I LOVE watching these humanlike creatures performing all sorts of antics on the lawn in front of the house and in the garden area under a large rubber tree to the rear of our house. There are many babies at the moment (spring?) and the photos below were taken through the wire mesh in my bathroom. I have many images of other monkeys that day, but I concentrated on this particular mother monkey and her very young baby.
Mmm, mum is letting me walk alone awhile

Am I a good boy, mum?

On the safe side of mum

Uh-oh, danger alert! A funny creature at the window over there...

I'll try this tidbit with my tiny teeth

As I said: Cute as a button!

On Sunday morning Grant and I went out to the mine (he, to do a weekend inspection) and both of us to spot birds. We'd left it a bit late; it was very hot for me who leaned on the vehicle bonnet trying to get shots of whatever I think is interesting. It was obviously too hot for the birds as well. There weren't as many as usual. Yet, if you keep your eyes open you're bound to come across something interesting in the bird world.

Until now we'd only seen Fork-tailed Drongos in the bush and in our garden. On Sunday, however, we spotted a Square-tailed Drongo who sat for ages while I photographed it.

Square-tailed Drongo

A Red-billed Hornbill and juvenile

We also had a good view of a Red-billed Hornbill and a juvenile on the top of a tree quite some distance into the bush.

Once Grant had been past the mine pits and the bays in the moutains where the machines are serviced, we drove down towards the mine enclosure again. Just along the last stretch before we entered the property, I pointed to bird in a tree along the road. Grant stopped and although the sun was blazing overhead, making it very difficult to see anything at that distance, I managed to capture a few images of the bird.  
It was a roller but not described in our little photographic book of Birds of East Africa (When we got home, we checked on the Internet and id'd it as a Rufous-crowned Roller - a first sighting, therefore a "lifer" for both of us! 
  Rufous-crowned Roller - another new bird on our list!
Returning to the valley we turned into the office grounds where Grant wanted to collect something. On the way out back to the camp,  we crossed a low-level bridge. There are  are normally kingfishers on the rocks or on tree branches overhanging the shallow river so we stopped. We weren't disappointed. While we waited and watched, a Grey-headed Kingfisher darted down into the water and returned to a branch at the water's edge. He doesn't eat fish, but obviously he could see the interesting insects in the water which made a suitable meal for him.

Grey-headed Kingfisher almost invisible against the branches

Common Sandpiper...

On a rock a little way up the river, a woolly-looking bird first preened its feathers and then sat sunning itself. It had had a bath so I struggled to identify it. I think it's a Common Sandpiper but hoping my sister-in-law will  help me on this one!

I'm almost certain now that this bird  in the two above photos,  is a Common Sandpiper. The first time I saw one was at the end of January 2008. We were in Ndumu Game Reserve, South Africa, my sister-in-law was with me. She pointed out the "c" shaped mark on the bird's shoulder: C for Common! (BTW, if I'm wrong, I will edit the caption)
The beautiful Malachite Kingfisher waits to pounce on his dinner in the river below

A minute later a bird with long legs and a long thin beak, walked onto the rocky bank to the rear of this bank. I was fascinated by it slender bill but before I could focus on it, it flew off. Just then I saw a flash of bright blue across the view of the binoculars and Grant said: Kingfisher! and pointed to where it was sitting.  I managed to get one decent photo of this beautiful  little bird, a Malachite Kingfisher, who also darted in and out of the river fishing for his lunch.  

That was our birding outing for Sunday morning!

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  1. Wonderful, Jo, for a too-hot-for-birding day. You just never know! I really enjoyed the birds in this post, and of course loved the baby monkey!
    Luv, K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. Hi Jo, Those baby monkeys are adorable... I know you can't encourage them --but they are precious!!!!

    Love all of your birds... That Hornbill is a beautiful bird. So is the Kingfisher... Wow!!!!!! Thanks for sharing all of the new birds...


  3. What a wonderful assortment of birds.
    The baby monkey is so cute, how fascinating to watch :)
    ☼ Sunny

  4. Nice little outing. I love the bright colors of those kingfishers.

  5. I am so thrilled to have found your blog...I'm immediately signing up to follow so I can come back for more lovely pictures! I just did a post about vervet monkeys you might like to check out. East Africa is my idea of heaven...:)


  6. You were treated to some very special sightings, Jo! And those monkeys are just too adorable...as you say, so very human in their mannerisms!

  7. I sure love those monkeys too, Jo. Though I know one shouldn't encourage them, they are fun to watch. Hugs xx

  8. Nice photos of birds, but the baby monkey is so cute!

  9. Your monkeys sound much like our raccoons in BC where some neighbors are tempted to feed them, keeping them a little closer to humanity than they ought to be. The baby monkey does look adorable and I think your captions express what is going on very well! Also, love the bird sightings with their flashes of color. As always, thanks for sharing your fascinating world, Jo!

  10. Hi Jo, having monkies at the bottom of your garden is fantastic.I love the kingfisher with such wonderful colours.You continue to amaze us with the variety of wild life you have such patience to photograph and share with us.

  11. I wished I had such adorable neighbors to watch ! Mine are not so cute, lol ! (even if the monkeys are naggers)

  12. Wow, Jo, fantastic!! I have to go to a zoo to see such delightful creatures and you have them right there close by your house & surrounding areas. I agree, these monkeys are cute as buttons!!

    Have another fabulous day in paradise. (Well, I know it's not really paradise, but it certainly is beautiful!)


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo