When we drive along, Grant is normally sharper-eyed than I. But on Sunday morning, just after the sun rose, I asked him to stop as I'd seen a largish brown bird under some bushes on the side of the sandy road. He reversed slowly while I kept my camera ready. And sure enough: so well-camouflaged in the thicket was a Spotted Thick-knee warming itself in the early morning rays.
As we watched the bird, Grant pointed to the left at a second bird. A pair! And then we saw the juvenile ! It was standing as motionless as its parents in the middle.
The second adult Spotted Thick-knee
Their youngster, a fluffy little lad also sharply aware of the "danger" nearby
While in Kenya, on Lake Baringo, we saw Water Thick-knee. But seeing Spotted Thick-knee this weekend was a first for me and Grant; these were our first lifers spotted that day!
When we went out again later that morning, these birds were standing in exactly the same place. During the day, they're found resting in the shade under bushes and this family was doing just that.
On our 4.30 excursion to the mine, we checked on the Spotted Thick-knee and they were still resting under the bushes. They 're common residents, often found in pairs, but we'd found a family! They're active primarily at night.
The Spotted Thick-knee still resting during the late afternoon. Can you spot the juvenile?
After I'd taken enough photos of the Spotted Thick-knee at our initial sighting, we drove on. A few meters ahead Grant saw a small flock of Spurfowl on the side of the road. I took several photos thinking these were Spurfowl we'd seen before in Kenya. However, when I downloaded the photos, I found that they were Grey-breasted Spurfowl (Francolin) which are endemic to Northern Tanzania. In fact, in my Birds South of the Sahara guide, there is only a tiny red dot on the map. This is a dark brown spurfowl with broad chestnut streaks on back. They have grey-brown legs, an orange pink throat and a white moustchial stripe. They're uncommon and found in pairs or small groups.
The broad chestnut streaks are rather pale in the early morning sunlight but the orange-pink throat and white moustachial stripe are distinctive
This small flock of three Grey-breasted Francolin made up our second lifer for the day.
We drove on and saw and photographed many birds, not least a dabchick on its nest on the small dam. As we left the dam, I asked Grant to stop again as I'd seen a very small bird perched high up on a dead tree. I zoomed in and managed one photo before it flew off. Checking on the screen, I realized we just seen out third lifer!
A Straw-tailed Whydah!
I'm linking my post to Wild Bird Wednesday here.
I trust you're all having a great week.