Wednesday, April 2, 2014

End of March birding

As mentioned on Monday we had a wonderful weekend of birding. Not only did we go out twice as usual, but THREE times over the two days.

But before I post about our outing/s and the lifer, I would like to post my bloom for the day. This is in solidarity with my blogger friend, Lori, from Western New York State, against the harsh winter they've had to endure!

Here in East Africa, Tanzania, we've had an incredibly wet season this year and by the time I'd get outside to photograph the flowers on the shrubs, they've been decimated by the force of the water! However, at the club on Saturday night, I managed to find flowers in a sheltered place,  so here goes...

Leaving the mine road on Saturday, we never saw anything spectacular until we stopped at the explosives magazine to view the sunbirds which are always prolific there.

Beautiful Sunbird
Beautiful Sunbird (Female) 

Leaving the explosives magazine, I spotted a cuckoo on a shrub right next to the road. I called for Grant to stop (and reverse, as we'd already gone some way) which caused the bird to fly off.  Grant had fortunately followed its flight, so could point it out to me so I could snap it. It was a cuckoo I have posted here before but once I downloaded it, we realized that it was the female of the species.
Diderick Cuckoo (Female)

Just before leaving the road proper and entering the bush road, we stopped for me to photograph a bird which is very obliging towards photographers.
 Lilac-breasted Roller

And along the bush road, we stopped again for another bird  which also obliges the photographer by sitting quietly for ages while you click away.
Woodland Kingfisher

The Woodland Kingfisher's call is also iconic to my garden in Mwadui. While I'm writing this post on Tuesday night, I can hear it calling from a nearby tree just beyond my office window - a loud piercing: "chip cherrrrr" descending. 

Back in the bush on Saturday, as we looked up from these sightings, we saw a large black and white raptor on the top of a tree in the middle distance. I took several photos and once we'd downloaded these, we had to ask Jez for his valued input.  It was a new bird for us, therefore a lifer!
 African Hawk-Eagle - a lifer 

After this exciting sighting, we rounded the corner and immediately looked up to where we normally find hornbills. And we weren't disappointed! Although the hornbills were ones we'd seen before, after spotting and photographing the African Grey Hornbill, just afterwards we spotted and yes, photographed a pair of Von Der Decken's Hornbills. A few weeks ago, we managed to get very indistinct photos of these birds but this time, they posed while I took enough photos to satisfy us!
African Grey Hornbill
 Von Der Decken's Hornbill
Von Der Decken's Hornbill (Female)
Von Der Decken's Hornbill (Pair) 

And then, riding along the quieter part of the bush road, Grant suddenly stopped and pointed a pair of birds walking along in front of our vehicle. He stopped, I opened the door and while standing on the running board, with my camera resting on the roof, I snapped away happily.

Once we'd downloaded the photos onto my computer, and checked in our bird book, we identified these birds as Black-faced Sandgrouse - another lifer for us!

Although we'd already identified these Sandgrouse, Grant sent a couple of photos to Jez . He replied greatly excited that these were indeed Black-faced Sandgrouse and as the Dar Es Salaam Birding fraternity were thrilled about our sightings, could we please send them co-ordinates and dates.
  Black-faced Sandgrouse
Black-faced Sandgrouse (Female)

 The Black-faced Sandgrouse is endemic to North East Africa. The male has a distinctive face pattern, black-and-white breast bands, and a black belly with a pale vent. The female has a plain face and a distinctive broad white breast band. Although my photo of the male doesn't show his pale vent, it is possible to see the white breast band on the female. 

Driving home along the haul road, Grant stopped again when he spotted a bird huddled on the ground below his window. I took several photos and as the only inkling we had was that it was a type of martin, we sent it off to Jez for identification. He returned with: Brown-throated (Plain) Martin. Another lifer for us! 
Brown-throated (Plain) Martin - a lifer

Although I'd said earlier this week that we saw one lifer, once I started posting about our sightings, I realized we saw several: three in total. 

As I have posted about only one of the birding days here, I have decided to do a second post under tomorrow's date. 

I am linking this post to Wild Bird Wednesday which is hosted by Stewart Monckton whose blog you can access by clicking here

I hope you're all having a really great week.



  1. Thanks for the flowers! What a beautiful collection of photos!

  2. I really need to find myself a nice little birding spot like you have

  3. Fabulous birds you have sighted. I like the kingfisher best.

  4. Congrats on the hawk! He's gorgeous! I love the Sunbird and Roller, too. I've never heard of either of them.

  5. Sooo beautiful!!! And these brighten my day! Thank you sister for always encouraging me...especially at the low times...Actually, I'm grateful that because of the Lord, there is really no low...knowing He is faithful...I'm actually enjoying my time with my family though my knee is swollen and stiff. And that, I'm grateful...He strengthens me to always accomplish chores...Slow but able to finish tasks...I'm contented...Take care and hope you will stumble upon more of His creations that we truly enjoy as you share your adventures with us. Thank you and God bless.

  6. Such pretty birds there!

  7. Beautiful birds all of them!

  8. Fabulous post with wonderful series of bird shots.

  9. Wow JO, fantastic birds. Each one is just awesome.. The pair of Hornbills is really cool. I would love to see them someday, along with all the others you posted. Great outing and photos too. Congrats on your lifers..

  10. Congratulations with the lifers. The Lilac Breasted Roller would be in my top ten birds of the world, I have been fortunate to see them in Kruger Park. The Hornbills are certainly a beast of a bird. Loved this post, thank you.

  11. Wow! I love the bird photos. Congrats on finding a lifer!

  12. Beautiful birds you have seen.

  13. Thats it! I'm booking a flight. Please collect me from the airport!

    What a set of birds!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  14. I love seeing all of the unusual birds and flowers. You live in a magnificent place!


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