Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Last birding in Mwadui

This is the last post about our birding in Mwadui. It was actually the very last day we were in Mwadui - Grant had handed over to the new Contracts Manager, and came home. We got into the car and went out to the bush, birding...

The first bird we saw was a Steel Blue Whydah. It wasn't a lifer as we'd seen it the year before. But boy, it was special! 

Steel blue Whydah
I couldn't avoid the blade of grass between my camera and the Steel Blue Whydah

Eventually the bird flew up into a tree and I managed a better photo! 
Southern Red Bishop
Grey-headed Kingfisher
Laughing Dove
Blue-capped Cordon-bleu (Male) 

While watching and photographing the Cordon-Bleu above, I heard a constant tap-tap-tapping. Focusing on the direction of the sound, I saw a woodpecker hard at work. 
Cardinal Woodpecker
Several blurry photos later (because of the rapid movement of the woodpecker's head against the tree trunk) I managed a beautifully clear shot
We were thrilled to have a last look at the Variable Sunbird

A Spurwing Goose perched high up in a dead tree bids us a final farewell! 

Just further along the road we stopped to view a pretty LBJ (Little Brown Job) singing lustily in a tree nearby. 

...perhaps Rattling Cisticola

On the way back to the mine, we stopped to watch and listen to an LBJ perched high on a branch near the road. 
A Rattling Cisticola

As we approached the airstrip, Grant pointed to a large bird on the side of the road. It was a Bateleur and it was eating something. Although I took several photos, we never established what its meal was. 
Bateleur (Male) enjoying his dinner
And then he was off! 

Driving along the mine haul road, I noticed a raptor on a slag heap eating something. Grant stopped and I took several photos. I'm sorry about the quality;  I have no explanation or excuse...
Yellow-billed Kite eating a feathery meal - probably a juvenile waterbird
Here it looks like a bird's claw in the kite's mouth

As we drove through the boom gate and back home for the last time (after birding!)
we spotted the resident Heron

I'm linking my post to Wild Bird Wednesday which you can access here

One of the first things I had to get used to when we moved to Tanzania in 2012 - apart from the horrors of being thrown into the deep-end to manage the expat Guest House - was that we'd never see beautiful birds such as we'd had in Kenya. Two months later, friend Wessel took us into the bush one Sunday afternoon. I had my camera with me and I remember almost pouncing on a d'Arnaud's Barbet to take a photo. 

And the rest is history...

Bird for bird and critter for critter, we saw more bird-and wildlife in Mwadui, on the mine and in the surrounding bush than we'd seen in Kenya or South Africa. 

As this post is aired, Grant and I will be on our bike and doing  tour to the Cape. Rina is looking after the house and of course, five cats and two doggies. 

Happy Wednesday to you all! 

I'm speechless !

I'm linking my post to Wordless Wednesday here

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Family fun

On our first full weekend home, John, Debbie and children passed through Marquard and stopped off overnight with us. They were on their way from their home in the Drakensberg to Mozambique where John works at sea, while Debbie and children stay in Beira. 

We collected Grant's mum from the Retirement center and brought her home to have lunch. Angus and Amanda and children also arrived - from next door - for lunch.
John travels from Kwa - Zulu Natal to Mozambique in a Landcruiser loaded to the hilt with canoe, fuel, luggage and children
Joel tells his aunt Debbie a long story...
Seven of our nine precious grandchildren eating peanut butter sandwiches and sipping sodas

Joel holds court with his cousins while Abby and Bethany enjoy quality girl time

I'd partly roasted a lamb rib in the oven which Angus later grilled to brown, crispy perfection over the coals. Rina and I made rice, roast potatoes and vegetables to go with the meat. 

The seven older grandchildren enjoying Gran's Sunday lunch

Of course, Granny Jo had to gather everyone around for a family photo. What a task! As soon as you say Group Photo to my family, everyone seems to have something else to do. Eventually we had all sitting or standing in a group and Rina took several photos. 
Grant, me, our children and grandchildren with MIL, Pam in the center

John and family left for Mozambique before daybreak on Monday. It's amazing how they corral the children into different parts/seats in the vehicle. And how good the children are! 

A few days later, Grant made his special curry chicken recipe which we carried over to Angus' house next door. 
Abby (3 next week) and her littlest brother, Liam
While I cuddled Liam (no photo!) the children crowded around Rina
Often during the week, Liesbet brings the children over for a visit. Here all three enjoy refreshments on Granny's patio

Grant did some running repairs on Joel's aeroplane while Joel watches from his perch on the stool. Abby's interest waned after a few minutes and she returned to us ladies sitting under the awning

On Friday night I invited Angus, Amanda and children over for cooked dinner. Rina and I made a shepherds pie, rice and vegetables which we served on the patio. 
Joel watches his little brother, Liam - five weeks old- 
as Rina chucks him under the chin
He even turned and smiled at his granny!
The children are kept occupied with electronic games and videos 
Joel, enthralled in the adventure game on his screen

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday which you can see here

Monday, February 23, 2015

Last days in Tanzania

I keep meaning to post about the last days we had in Tanzania. 

So here it is..

The Wednesday before we left, I walked with my friends for the last time. When we approached my house, I'd asked Michael to fetch my camera from my desk and to take photos of us. 
Moi, Marita and Tilla
Me and Tilla
Marita and me

Marita and I started walking together on 12 October, 2013. We eventually increased our distance from 5km a day to 8.5km. And we talked about everything under the sun while walking! Tilla had walked with us until she had to go out to SA for an operation on her hand. This particular day she joined us for the last time. 

I've already posted about the very precious farewell the Client gave us the night before we left Mwadui. Marita was en route from SA and in Dar when she heard we were leaving. She immediately bought me a pair of ethnic pictures, framed and glassed. When she presented them to me, she said she knew I'd already packed my suitcase and it was full to bursting. So she said I'd have to carry them in the gift bag. 

Which I did...
One of the beautiful pictures which Marita chose for our farewell gift. I carried then across Tanzania all the way home to Marquard in the bag visible in the photo
Reading a message from my friend, Amanda who was out on leave at the time
Grant was presented with a personalized bottle of wine with a WDL label. Looking at the funny  expression on my face you'd never guess that I'm actually tee-total! 

My sweet friend, Tilla and I share a last joke 
A photo of  the four "oldies" on site: Grant and Wessel with me and Tilla

The next morning early we departed by car from Mwadui for the last time. Our driver, William dropped us off at the Mwanza airport; we boarded the plane for Dar and by mid-morning we were in the city. Our driver, Mohamed collected us from the airport and drove us to the New Africa Hotel. We'd last stayed at this hotel on 1 February 2012, when we flew in from Nairobi, for Grant to start his contract with the new company. We'd come a full circle! 

The view from our hotel room was over the Dar harbor

We also had a view over a church. That Saturday we witnessed a wedding that had already taken place. The wedding entourage was waiting in the shade of a large tree for the bridal car to arrive
Finally the car arrived and the bride and groom climbed in and pulled off 

We watched enthralled as the cars left the church yard to another venue where the reception was obviously being held. While we watched, we saw another wedding entourage arriving at the church, complete with a priest (a woman at that) at the head of the procession. 
A second wedding procession appeared in the church yard as we watched the first one departing! 
Guests arriving for the second wedding (the garbage and cleaning materials at the church entrance, were eventually taken away!) 
Finally that wedding was over and the group posed on the steps for photos!
As this wedding group dispersed, I focused on the harbor and ships again