Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Tanzanian Bird-fest

Friday evening Rob and Grant wanted to discuss the arrangements for the pig-on-the-spit for Grant's birthday the next day.  Of course, any excuse to get together for a visit is good enough for expats so we asked Amanda, Andre, Thys and Marnitz to join us in our garden with Rob and Nsia.

It was already dark; the details for the birthday BBQ had been made; we'd all eaten our fill of the snacks I'd put out when Thys said he'd seen an owl flying into the tree above us. 

Now, I've been asked before what my favorite bird is; I have many; but my absolute special favorite is the owl.  And with all the birding photography I've done since arriving in East Africa two years ago, I have never managed to get an image of an owl. In Kenya, we regularly heard owls in our garden. One morning early Grant spotted one in baobab tree outside our bedroom window but try as I might, I couldn't get a photo.

This time however, Marnitz dashed into his cottage (which is in our back garden) and fetched his huge flashlight. He shone it upwards, picked up the owl, who looked down on all, and I managed to get several photos.  What is extra thrilling is that it was sitting in the tree overhanging our bedroom. So I have hopes of seeing it again some time! 
 A barn owl seen   in the tree above our garden on Friday evening

On Sunday morning Grant collected me from home and we did a turn through the mine. He thought he'd seen two eggs in the Dabchick's nest, the day before, and hoped I could help him confirm his findings! When we got there, though the Dabchick was sitting on the nest so of course we weren't able to see how many eggs it had.  
 Dabchick on its nest

While I photographed the Dabchick, a Malachite Kingfisher landed on a dry branch in my camera vision. This Kingfisher is always here but, as with the Dabchick, I never tire of photographing this brightly-colored bird. 
 A Malachite Kingfisher on a dried branch above the Dabchick in her nest

 Would you say the Malachite Kingfisher is worth photographing? 

I think eventually the Dabchick had had enough of us (or perhaps needed to stretch a leg?). It stood up in the nest, and with its back to us, pushed greenery and weeds over the egg/s. Then it hopped off into the water, turned once, and disappeared beneath the surface! It was time for us to leave...



For more bird posts, please visit Wild Bird Wednesday by clicking here
Please bear with me; I will continue with the Tanzanian Bird -fest in tomorrow's post.


  1. HI Jo, So glad you got to see the OWL... Gorgeous!!!!

    And you'll have to keep watching the Dabchick to see how many upcoming babies there will be!!!!!

    BUT--that Kingfisher is awesome... LOVE his vivid colors.


  2. I wish I had owls breeding somewhere close to me. I love seeing them

  3. JO, congrats on your owl sighting. Very cool owl too. I love the kingfisher and the Dabchick on the nest. Wonderful photos. Have a great day!

  4. Well is suppose you could photograph the kingfisher if you had run out of other things to do!! What a cracking bird.

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW.

    Stewart M - Melbourne

  5. Great look at the birds of your area. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  6. An owl so close to your house! That would have me excited!
    Beautiful Kingfisher. Hope the Dabchick has a successful brood.

    Nice post!

  7. Wow! It would be fun to go birding in many different countries. I'm still pretty new at bird photography, but I'm hooked!

  8. I love the blue on the head of the Malachite Kingfisher. It's quite striking.


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