Somewhere in northeastern Romania. Photo taken November 30, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Not sure. We're staying in Chisinau for a week or so.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Watching the Social Weavers. And other Namibian wildlife!

The social weavers?

Here in southern Africa, there is a type of bird called the social weaver. Or sociable weaver. We happened to be camped under a tree that contained a social weaver nest, so we spent a fair bit of time watching these interesting little birds go about their daily affairs!

First of all, if you are under a social weaver nest, you know it well before you get to the tree. The nest is HUGE.

You can see the huge nest in the tree above our table.

The nest of the social weaver is the largest of any bird in the world. A single structure can easily contain over 100 pairs of bird, plus their young ones!

A social weaver.

When we arrived at the campsite, we figured that it was an old abandoned nest because there weren't any birds around. However, I did point out to Ruth the amount of bird poop on the ground directly under the nest.

Sure enough, later that day they arrived. 

But, they're friendly little birds and we enjoyed watching their chatter. They definitely seem to have a social structure. Some were busy collecting twigs and grass for their structure, and it seemed like one was in charge of where they were placed. I guess he was the structural engineer!

We jokingly called their nest a "condominium". Watching these birds for a couple of hours (while having our "sundowners" (happy hour!), we have come to the conclusion that biologists haven't quite got these complex birds quite figured out!

Yesterday morning, we were on the trails again. This time, by 7:10am, and we only had a 10 km hike planned.

Wasn't long before we came across this fellow. This small agile antelope is called a klipspringer.

Look how he blends into his surroundings!

And speaking of that, we really didn't see much other wildlife. We did see lots of wildlife poop. But we think that many of the animals do so well at camouflage. Here's another example of that...

This is a toad grasshopper.

At first, I really did think this was some kind of toad! Only reason I noticed him at all was because he moved to get out of Ruth's way. He had jumped onto the side of a rock, and even when you knew he was there, you could hardly see him!

Here's Ruth, enjoying the desert.

This wall was built by the German military during the first world war. This part of Namibia was a German colony at the time.

Another view of the campground at Klein Aus Vista. Can you spot our white truck?

We were tired and in bed before 9:00pm last night. It seemed that the wind was picking up, and we've learned that one of the drawbacks of being in a tent is that if it's windy, it's not going to be a good night's sleep!


26 comments:

  1. I've been enjoying your pictures and updates on your time in Namibia. Looks like you all are enjoying your time there hiking and such. I am always surprised to see how much wildlife and birds are in the desert. Great pictures!

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    1. Thank you Randy, we are happy to hear that you are enjoying our adventures here. We are totally amazed at the amount of wildlife in the desert as well.

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  2. 1st off HAPPY BIRTHDAY Ruth....so is it a toad or a grasshopper?

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    1. Thank you Donna! It is a grasshopper that looks like a toad. We googled it, and found out that it is called a toad grasshopper.

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  3. Your picnic table under the nest? Probably not a great place to relax, with all those birds overhead, very interesting.

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    1. Kevin was only using the picnic table as a reference point, trust us the table was not "under" the tree. :)

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  4. I love those striped ears on the antelope. Hope your wind has died down.

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    1. So do we, they are just so adorable.

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  5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY RUTH :o) From Alexanne

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    1. Thank you Alexanne and we hope you had a great "twin" birthday too!

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  6. Happy birthday Ruth, enjoy your day down there in paradise,

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  7. You are doing really well in spotting the hidden wildlife and will no doubt find your eye gets even better over time. Hope Ruth has a lovely birthday. x

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    1. Thank you Glenn and Steve, I had a lovely birthday. Yes, it can be pretty hard to spot some of them. Who knows how many incredible things we have walked by without even noticing.

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  8. Happy Birthday Ruth, enjoy your day. Tony and Helen

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  9. Happy Birthday Ruth! Did Kevin cook supper?

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    1. Thank you Mom! Kevin cooked the meat on the braai (charcoal BBQ) and I looked after the rice and veggies. We will have lots of meals out next month to make up for cooking part of my birthday dinner.

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  10. Hey Ruth, I hope you had a great birthday! Namibia looks like my kind of place. I could be a desert rat there forever! So now that you've been there for a couple of weeks, what's it like to be in Africa?

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    1. Thank you Chris, I had a great birthday! I am sure you and Juan would love it here. Kevin has done the next post on our views so far.

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  11. happy birthday Ruth, Mexico is wating for you guys!

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    1. Thank you John! We are enjoying our time here but we are also missing Mexico.

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  12. Very interesting birds. Everything you see is so interesting. A trip to Africa is the best birthday present I've ever heard of. I know it is a happy one!

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    1. I find travelling to new places really opens up your eyes because everything is so different from home. We love the big animals but have had lots of enjoyment out of all the little ones, including birds and insects. Some have had us laughing.

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  13. Happy Birthday, Ruth. Still having lots of fun!

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