Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bandjoun photos (and a couple from Bafia)

DISCLAIMER 1: the views expressed are my own and not of Peace Corps
DISCLAIMER 2: apologies for the poor photo quality - my good camera is back in the states!

I thought I would post a couple of photos from Bafia of a couple of very common birds, especially since I haven't seen them here in Bandjoun yet. The Mosque Swallow (at left) looks and behaves like a large pale Barn Swallow, though in flight they are bulky and have red rumps. In Bafia, they were often hanging around treetops and utility wires. Other aerial birds I saw in the residential quarter included the blue-and-white Ethiopian Swallows, long-tailed Palm Swifts, white-rumped Little Swifts and all-black Square-tailed Sawwings. Here in Bandjoun, I have seen Little Swifts and Ethiopian Swallows so far, and a possible Banded Martin back in early July.

The Speckled Mousebird deserves mention also: they are common in Bafia, but reaaally cute. They often hung upside-down from branches, and seemed to curl up together. The kids in my environmental club called it the sauve-souris. Usually they are in medium-sized trees and banana plants, though this particular one was sitting on the stone wall next to my host house family's house, which was lined with broken glass... ouch!

I also saw this species in South Africa, so it seems very common and wide-spread on the continent.

Fiscal ShrikeFiscal Shrikes seem to be fairly common here in Bandjoun. This species was the first that I saw when I arrived for site visit: there were two on the wires right in my yard when we pulled up! Later, I saw a pair feeding a baby opposite the Hotel de Ville, and I just found this one this morning in a tree next to the house. I also heard its call for the first time, and it was a bit harsher than I expected.

This is not a great angle, but essentially they are elegant, average-sized black and white shrikes.

Moving on, I am still amazed by how many birds here in Cameroon are incredibly colorful and/or have spectacular tails. Many of the male whydahs have these long trains while the females are usually drab and brown! The photo below is of a male Red-collared Widowbird (or whydah) which I saw for the first time in my yard just yesterday!

There seems to be a pair hanging around, since I noticed the female on the road this morning.Red-collared Widowbird This male was kind enough to pose for a bit here around 9am on the 21st of August.

That's all for now. Hasta luego (pardon... a tout a l'heure)!

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