Naytcha! Wit’ boids and everytin’!

The students are still on strike, leaving me with a lot of time on my hands. So this morning after breakfast I decided to go spend some time in the park. I found a quiet place to sit and read my book, and after a half an hour or so, a whole bunch of wildlife dropped by. Luckily, I had my camera.

These guys are Abyssinian Grey Hornbills, I think. They reminded me of the advisor bird, Zazu, in The Lion King. They had the same patches on their wings and I believe they are the same species as depicted in the film:

Zazu 1

Zazu 3

Zazu 2

They were fearless and easy to photograph. They would have climbed right up in my lap and looked in my bag to see if I had any food if I had let them, I think. They were also squawking and carrying on like mad.

I also saw quite a flock of these guys, who appear to be long-tailed glossy sparrows, according to Wikipedia:

Blue 1

Blue 3

The females don’t have the long tails. When they are flying, there is a beautiful sheen to their feathers, though I couldn’t catch it with my cheap little camera. Still, pretty critters.

These guys took a long time to come out and I didn’t get a really good picture:

LBJ 1

I don’t have any idea what he is. He was very shy.

And finally, there was Timon – not really a meerkat, but a striped ground squirrel:

Timon 1

Also very shy.

The darn student strike is starting to get to me. I spent a week or so getting ready for the other class they are going to assign me. I could have been working on my next Clackamas class except for that damn robbery they had there. So what’s a guy to do? One of my advisors at Johns Hopkins, Philip Curtin, one of a couple of scholars who really invented African studies as a separate discipline in American academia, turned to nature photography after he retired from active teaching.

There is a big nature reserve about 25 km outside of town to the east. If classes are still cancelled next week, I’ll see about a taxi ride out there. I’ll wear my boots this time, though – I managed to get a nice big thorn in my foot and it still hurts.

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