Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Prolific birding alongside mining operations

As I mentioned yesterday, even though there is much activity, grinding, digging, vibrations and vehicles rolling around the mine site 24 hours a day, we have not previously come across such diverse birding opportunities as here in Mwadui.  

On Sunday morning, after we'd been down in the pit (and I'd photographed the excavator at work), Grant drove up onto the tailings dam. There he met Production Manager, Thys coming from the other direction. They stopped the vehicles alongside each other and while they talked shop, I got out. I walked to the rear of the vehicle where I'd seen a raptor eating a likkewaan/monitor lizard which it and another eagle had killed the day before. (Grant and Thys had seen the kill)
The time was 6.40am.

 A raptor (as yet unidentified) enjoys the last of the previous day's kill

Another raptor (also unidentified) sat in a small thorn tree nearby, obviously replete

That night after pit inspection, we headed for the bush and once again weren't disappointed at the many small creatures, reptiles and birds we saw. (more about these tomorrow!) As Grant turned off onto a side road, I called to him to stopped. In front of the vehicle was a Spotted Thick-knee with something dangling from it's beak. I got several photos and when I downloaded them, I saw dinner had been a worm.




These birds and dozens of others which I've posted about and will still post about, are living proof that birding and wildlife is thriving alongside the mining operations. 

I hope you're all having a wonderful week.


  1. Great sightings and captures, even the shadows are good. Not often we get to see wildlife eating.

  2. Beautiful photo of the eagle.

  3. What a beautiful eagle Jo. Odd that the wild life get used to machinery noise and keep on doing what they do. Love the way you captured the Spotted Thick-knee with it's, not only a worm but that shadow as well.

  4. Jo, you really are fortunate to have so much bird life around there. The raptor is beautiful.

    I'm off to Tourism Indaba in Durban tomorrow morning and only return next Wednesday. Hard work and lots of fun ahead. Enjoy the rest of your week and the coming weekend.

  5. Cool birds, Jo! I would have thought the mining operation would scare them away. The first raptor looks like an eagle. The Spotted thick knee is cute. Great sightings and photos.

  6. Great meal time shots, Jo! Your post reminds me of when environmentalists here in CA were up in arms about the logging industry destroying the habitat of the spotted owl and then a spotted owl and its nest were found in a KMart (a department store) sign. It turned out that the spotted owls were being eaten by other owls and that was why their numbers were diminishing, not because of the harvesting of trees for lumber.

  7. I may have left this comment already, so just delete it if it's a repeat. I love the meal-time photos of the birds. Your post reminded me of the controversy between the radical environmentalists and the loggers here in CA. The environmentalists claimed that the decrease in number of spotted owls was due to the loggers destroying their habitat. Then someone saw and photographed a spotted owl in its nest in a tall KMart (department store) sign, thus proving that they did not require a tree to nest in. It turned out that the decrease in the spotted owl population was due to other owls eating them, not due to loggers cutting down trees in a responsible manner for lumber.


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