Thursday, April 24, 2014

Last birding in April - continued

Passionate cat-lover and avid birder! Photo Credit: Michael Askari

Continuing on the "last" birding in April, before the Easter weekend, as we stopped at the explosives magazine, we saw the Dabchick on the dam below. I zoomed in and was very excited to see two chicks on the adult's back. We'd been watching "this space" for the past three weeks and always only saw one Dabchick in front of the reeds. At times I could hear the call of another Dabchick from within the reeds, so obviously their nest was much more concealed than last year when we could see the eggs while the adult had jumped off into the water.

Dabchick (Little Grebe) with two chicks on its back
 Isn't it lovely to hitch a ride on mama or dad's bacK?
We traveled along our normal route and at times I would call to Grant to stop and at others, Kevin would ask him to stop. We'd jump out, Kevin with binoculars in hand and me focusing my camera on some bird in a nearby bush or atop a tree.

At one stage while we were busy, Grant had spotted a large bird on top of an acacia in the middle distance. We jumped back into the vehicle and Grant drove to just below the tree. We were all amply rewarded when a raptor, no less than a Black-chested Snake Eagle posed for ever so long while the men got a good look at it and I managed  several good photos.
 Black-chested Snake Eagle 

As I was focusing on the bird above, I could hear one of the iconic African sounds; the warbling, hollow call of the White-browed Coucal. I swung around on the running board from where I'd been photographing the Snake-eagle and almost fell off my perch. Within a mere arm's length of me was the Coucal. I took several photos of this bird which was not the one making the call. When I downloaded the photos at home, I saw why the bird had been silent. It had its meal firmly clamped in its beak!
A White-browed Coucal with a frog clamped firmly in its beak! 

While I was taking these photos, I noticed the light glare and almost deleted it on the camera. Thank goodness I didn't! 

Finally I left the coucal in peace to enjoy its hard-won meal 
A few meters along the road, and we spotted the coucal which I had first heard. It was sitting quite prominently displayed on top of a bush and calling! 
 I loved the way the White-browed Coucal puffed its chest when calling

Just around the next corner we spotted another coucal, which was also very visible which allowed me to take photos! 
And as if to give us a full show for the day, we stopped next to bush in which a coucal was sitting quietly. (Coucals are normally elusive and secretive birds and most difficult to photograph!) 
 White-browed Coucal in full view of excited birders! 

Although we'd seen many other birds, we said that this specific bird outing could be dubbed: Coucal Day! 
 Mwadui Birders: Grant and Kevin
Mwadui Birders: Jo and Kevin
I'm linking this post to Wild Bird Wednesday which you can access by clicking here
I'm off to pottery this morning to collect my baked ceramics. Then I need to start packing and preparing for our departure from camp at midday on Friday.  
I hope you're all having a great week.



  1. Dear Jo, you are an avid birder! LOL Moreover, Tanzania (and previously Kenya) have so many varieties of birds for you to view and enjoy and for us to enjoy vicariously. Young Kevin must have had a fun time too. He looks very happy. I especially like seeing the chicks on top of the Dabchick.

    Enjoy the rest of your day.

  2. You look great, Jo.. Glad you are feeling better.. I know that the birding cheers you up!!!!! My fav today is the white-browed Coucal... Beautiful!!!!! And I love the Daddy carrying his chicks on his back. Neat.

  3. I sure had a difficult time photographing the Burchell's Coucal. Really great shots, especially with the dinner frog.

  4. Hello Jo, I love the photos of you, Kevin and Grant. And the birds are awesome, great sightings. The Eagle and Coucal are wonderful birds. And I love the cute Dabchicks. Awesome series of photos. Have a happy day!

  5. We've had Burchell's Coucal nest close to our house somewhere every year and I love to hear them call in the morning. One afternoon I got home and the coucal was sitting on the front lawn eating a pigeon chick. What a sighting!

  6. I always enjoy all the photos you share but much more the knowledge you have about so many creatures especially the birds. Be safe out there sister Jo. And God bless.

  7. Fabulous photos, Jo, but of course no snake-eagles or coucals can compete with the baby dabchicks on their parent's back! (Would they be called dabchick chicks?)
    I love them. And you know I love you, too, and always enjoy seeing photos of you.
    Luv, K

  8. The Drab chicks are so cute on the mommy's back

  9. You must have eyes all around your head to see all these birds ! I love the duck mum with her baby on the back !

  10. Fabulous photos. The Coucal is a beautiful bird.

  11. Great set of pictures - we have a coucal species in Australia, but it does not get as far south as Melbourne - shame really!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne


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