Saturday, June 14, 2014

Saturday Critters party with Eileen

Although I've posted extensively about the birds we've seen in our first few weeks back in Mwadui, I intentionally left out the [many] other creatures which we come across. I did post the Cobra vs Pied Crow encounter last week in blogger friend, Eileen's meme.

As always we see many little deer, who seem to survive being hunted for food here in Mwadui. The Dik-dik are very shy and very quick and we seem to have specially little families of these cute little antelope which we're blessed to see often.
Dik-dik poised on a bank ready for flight at the first sign of danger! 
Two dik-dik stop and look back towards us 

On our night drives we came across several dik-dik as well. This time they freeze in the light of our very powerful flashlight. An acquaintance with a large hunting concession in southern Tanzania gave us this torch after he'd seen us use the industrial mining torch. He says that this special flashlight does not harm the animals' eyes when directed on them.  Mmm,  this statement gave me food for thought; obviously this man has humane principles when taking overseas visitors to hunt on his land!
Dik-dik seen at night
 A Three-banded Plover seen in our hunting flashlight on the road
A little further along on the same night, we stopped for a rather large frog to cross the road in front of the vehicle
Early one evening Grant stopped at the explosives magazine where I took a photo of this bee-hive on the razor wire. These nests aren't permanent as it was gone when we passed there two days later 

At the same time we saw dozens of small frogs hopping across the road in front of the vehicle. I got out and managed to get photos of a few as they hopped to safety behind the wire!
 These were very small frogs

Although we had Emerald Spotted Doves in our valley garden within the Great Rift Valley, Kenya, we'd not seen this pretty bird here in Tanzania. Until last week...

 Emerald-spotted Dove 

One evening as we drove onto the airstrip, I noticed a movement on a pole near the road. Grant stopped and I took several photos of a small raptor enjoying its evening meal. The light was already fading and I was sorry when I downloaded the photos to see that they were not of a good quality.  However,for us it was a lifer.
Red-necked Falcon - a lifer 

We'd sent these photos to Jez for confirmation on my id that it was a Red-necked Falcon. I was rather touched when I saw he'd forwarded the photos to the bird boffins in Dar Es Salaam with the comment: "Some very good photos of Red-necked Falcon from Jo."

The Red-necked Falcon seemed to be devouring a rather substantial meal of snake

That same evening as we drove off the mine and into the bush, I spotted a large cat-shaped animal standing next to the road. Grant had already passed the spot, and although we reversed, the animal had been alerted and was slinking into the bush. I managed to get one photo of it.
 Banded Mongoose


And, on the home front?

Just before we went out on leave at the end of April, I posted how our Guest House askari, Mataluma told me that there was a very small bird roosting a tree down the road from our house. He lead me there, and when he pointed to the well-camouflaged bundi/owl, I couldn't believe that he'd discovered this bird. (In retrospect, I think he saw it flying in there one morning and had a look. Knowing that Bibi loves birds, he told me about it! )

 The tree in the foreground in which the African Scops-owl roosts every day
African Scops-Owl 

I found the following information on the habits of the African Scops-owl on Google. (I omitted the statement which says that the African Scops-owl is endemic to South Africa, for as can be seen, we have this little owl right here in our town in Northern Tanzania.

African Scops-Owl is a nocturnal species. During the day, it roosts on a branch and stands upright, long and slender, with erect ear-tufts, and closing its eyes to slits. It is very well camouflaged with its cryptic plumage when perched against the bark of a tree trunk.
It often returns on the same site each day for roosting, among tangled branches, or against a vertical branch where it is very difficult to see it.

At night, its head appears rounded, and the ear-tufts are tucked away.
It hunts primarily on small animals, diving from a low perch to scoop its food up from the ground.  

I'm linking my post to Saturday Critters Party with Eileen which you can visit by clicking here

I hope you're all having a really wonderful weekend.  


  1. Enjoyed all the critters today Jo. Those Dik Dik are especially cute. xx

  2. Jo, what a wonderful critter post.. I love all your birds and the frogs and Dik-dik are cute. The mongoose is a cool sighting..Awesome captures of the falcon and the owl. Thank you for linking up to the critter party. Have a happy weekend!

  3.!! The birds of course caught my attention and awe from the beginning.

    That hive is creepy. I wouldn't want to even get close to this as I'm allergic to bee stings.

    And the Dik-dik...cute as can be.

    You really should consider adding a link to this post on today's Bird D'Pot linking that opens new at NOON [Texas time zone]...the other birders would reel with such fantastic shares you have here Jo.

    The link to the blog site for bird photos is

    [at NOON]

  4. a wonderful selection of photos including the temporary bee colony.

  5. Lots of interesting critters. Cute deer, scary beehive. That falcon is amazing!

  6. Wonderful wildlife. I love the falcon and the owl. The did-diks are adorable as well.

  7. Fascinating animals, night drives in Africa are one of the most interesting things I made in my live.

  8. I have only seen dik-diks at the zoo. They are such cute little antelopes. Wonderful sightings of all these critters.

  9. Great pictures - I really like the owl.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  10. A couple of very nice snaps in this post. The dik dik, owl and feeding falcon. As for the bees, I would take a wide berth around them

  11. So many different animals in this post, each of them beautiful. I never saw a Dik Dik, so cute!


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