Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wild at night in the bush!

On Monday 10th March, Grant and I went on a night drive for the first time again this year. It was great and although we didn't see a great deal of animals or night birds, we saw enough. 

With a new camera whose settings I still haven't mastered 100%, I struggled to get clear photos of the night jars. Of course, we also struggled to identify these nocturnal aerial feeders once I'd downloaded the photos onto my computer. 

The first birds we came across were a pair of Three-banded (Heuglin's) coursers.
Three-Banded (Heuglin's) Courser, our first birds spotted on our first night drive this year! 

As we rounded the explosives magazine, the first night jar flew up in front of the vehicle. Grant crept along slowly and soon our headlights picked up a huddle in the road ahead. He shone the large torch we use, and I managed several photos. 
 Square-tailed (Mozambique) Night Jar
 Riding through the African bush at night, on the lookout for night birds and other creatures: nothing to beat it! 

In the grass running alongside the road, I spotted a pair of red eyes. Grant stopped and shone his torch while I focused and clicked away. We took a few photos and then left this soft-looking little guy in peace! 
African Hare

Last year, at the edge of this haul road,  we'd followed the progress of a family of Spotted Thick-knee: Mom, Dad and youngster. We were interested to see if we'd see Thick-knee here again this night.
The haul road lit by the vehicle's headlights

But although we saw birds crouching in the sand ahead, by the time we got nearer, they flew up into the dark sky. Then just around the corner on the bush road, Grant stopped when I pointed to eyes in the grass. 
Spotted Thick-knee

And I was thrilled when I saw (don't want to say "spotted" LOL) a second Spotted Thick-knee much further up on a bushy bank and managed to get these clear images of it! 

I'm linking to Eileen's Saturday Critter's Party which you can access by clicking here

I hope you're all having a great Saturday.


  1. Your spotted thick knee looks a lot like our bush stone curlew here in Australia. They are nocturnal too and have a curdling wail of a cry. In some places I have seen dozens and dozens together. And in the daytime they crouch low to the ground for camouflage.

  2. How romantic a night drive !

  3. HI What a wonderful adventure and you did manage to find a good number of birds and photograph them. Well done. Have a great weekend.

  4. Oh my gosh, these night photos are incredible!!!

  5. Fun to see these birds, unknown to me up until now :)

  6. Super getting to do a night photo shoot! We have seen what we call night-hawks that look a lot like the nightjar you show.

  7. I've never thought of going bird-spotting at night. I wonder if we have any to see here.
    Enjoyed your photos, however, Jo. Rather like riding along with you and Grant.
    Luv, K

  8. One thing I miss staying in SA parks is seeing the night life. I just never think to sign up for a night drive and wish we could just go ourselves. New camera is working great.

  9. Hi, Jo! I would love to see the NightJar. They are cool birds, great sightings. And the Thick-knee is a cutie. Awesome photo and thank you for linking up with Saturday's Critters.. Have a happy weekend!

  10. Awesome shots! I seldom go out with my camera after dark.

  11. Terrific shots from your night of birding.

  12. I love the call of both the dikkop and the nightjar


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