Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Birding weekend

As mentioned yesterday, Grant and I went onto the mine and into the surrounding bush several times over the weekend. We saw quite a number of birds which included three lifers.

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.
Spotted Thick-knee

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. 
 Grey-breasted Spurfowl

 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.  




  1. Beautiful birds that I've never seen before and delightful captures, Jo!! Thanks for sharing! I love the first Spotted Thick-knee! Never even heard of them before! Love learning something new! Hope your week is going well!

  2. Definitely a worthy birding day to see three lifers.

  3. Jo, what a haul for the day with so many fabulous birds.
    You know, I miss most not having someone at the wheel so I can photograph and concentrate on seeing what is around, or in general, someone to travel with.

  4. I love the Dikkop. Don't know why but its a very special bird. Maybe because you don't often see them.

  5. Jo, looks like a wonderful birding outing. Love the Thick-knee and the cute chick. Congrats on your lifers.

  6. Beautiful birds but the first one has an evil look ! I am still very busy with Claudie and sightseeing !

  7. That must have been an exciting weekend seeing all those new birds. Good shots too.

  8. Fabulous, Jo. I'm so impressed: three lifers in one day. But my favorite is the family in the first photos. The youngster is well camouflaged, and the parents don't go very far away from their little one.


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