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23 September 2009 @ 08:53 am
Birds at the Olduvai  
A stop at the Olduvai gorge on the way to the Serengeti meant that I could take some time away from the bumpy roads and chase around some birds instead. Oh, did I mention we actually went there to see the gorge (aka cradle of humanity!) itself? After a visit to the museum and staring down the gorge we actually had time to have a picnic lunch with tourist-friendly birds. The lunch included countless breaks to run behind every interesting species that caught the eye.

I downloaded some of the photographs yesterday but then I realized I had forgotten the names of the birds! We had decided to donate the mammals and birds guides to our guide/driver on the trip when we left Africa and I guess it has been long enough to forget the names of the birds that we identified. So, I had to run to some local bookstores in the night to find a field guide. Turns out no one stocks field guides for African wildlife in these parts and I thought I should give that used bookstore in Mountain View a shot. I had almost given up my search there when I found that they had a old old copy of a field guide (from early 1970s). The bad part about having such an old guide is that many species of birds are actually not even listed - and many of the missing species seem to be the ones that I have photographs off! Anyway, a combination of likely last names (like sparrow, weaver and so on) and the latest technology in web search, I think I've got all the birds identified. I know I could be way off with their IDs still though.

A Secretary Bird on the way to the Serengeti

Haze, dust, and midday heat

A Slate-colored Boubou

White-bellied Canary

Speckle-fronted Sparrow

Grey-headed Sparrow

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin

Rufous Chatterer

Vitelline Masked Weaver

Purple Grenadier

kejnkejn on September 23rd, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
i LOVE the speckle-fronted sparrows! too cute!! :)

and woah, that color on the purple grenadier!! :-O
Gopal Venkatesang13n on September 23rd, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
Amazing photos, especially I love the "Speckle-fronted Sparrow" capture.
Melkendokamel on September 23rd, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
Fantastic, as always - and OMG, the speckle-fronted sparrows! If that is not the cutest thing I've seen all week, I don't know what is. (;
Aparna: Myselfinspirethoughts on September 23rd, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)

Loved the sparrows...how cozy and warm!

For a person who had difficulty in identifying you have done a good job in putting the names together. Kudos! :)

Forgot to ask last time. Did you get to take a picture of the tsetse flies that attacked you? Ok..ok...dont hit me...I know they attacked, but was just curious if you took their pics form inside your vehicle. *giggles and smirks*
Yathinyathin on September 23rd, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
> who had difficulty in identifying you have done a good job in putting the names together

putting together names is simple, but they may not be right! ;)

And no pictures of the tsetse flies.
Aparna: Birdsinspirethoughts on September 24th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
Does not matter if you are right or not. The effort counts. :)
depontideponti on September 23rd, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
Those speckle-fronted sparrows...one seems to be marked W and another Y....wonder WhY....

how lovely that you went down into the gorge....it's so awe-inspiring to see those footprints...

And...I am not able to see the pic of the Purple Grenadier.
depontideponti on September 23rd, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
Those speckle-fronted sparrows...one is marked "W" and the other "Y"...I wonder WhY....

Whatever birds (and animals and others) I managed to photograph I have put up on two Flickr sites:






not a great list, but if anything there helps you....I'd be glad.

depontideponti on September 24th, 2009 01:58 am (UTC)
The Purple Grenadier looks rather similar to the Red-Headed Cordon Bleu:

Yathinyathin on September 24th, 2009 02:33 am (UTC)
Just another name perhaps?
dr_koolaimzzdakini_bones on September 24th, 2009 04:30 am (UTC)
The spekle fronted sparrows are awesome.
Such a good "life" shot!
Sharathsharathm on September 24th, 2009 05:02 am (UTC)
The Purple Grenadier looks like a bird which has just played holi... :)
amazing pics...
summer_jackelsummer_jackel on September 24th, 2009 05:28 am (UTC)
All of these are exquisite, but the sparrows one made my heart melt. Lucky you to get such a lovely shot of bird affection! I live with a couple of snuggly parrots, yet I can rarely capture their moments of intimacy on film. :)
Aragorn, Son of Arathorncode_martial on October 5th, 2009 08:06 am (UTC)
And I thought Olduvai was a fictional place from Doom III (movie)!