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Posts Tagged ‘African blue flycatcher’

Double-toothed barbet, yet another of Africa's flamboyant birds. -- Wikipedia photo

“Don’t be over self-confident with your first impressions of people.” – Chinese proverb

African Safari: Bird-Watching Guard

Before Dave Richards had left us after lunch, he introduced us to David, the tall, muscular guard who had been the one to walk Kim and I from the lodge compound down to the river for our game drives.

“He’s a birder,” Dave said, causing me to finally notice the pair of binoculars around his neck. “If you see that barbet again,” he told Dave, “tell Pat here.”

David, who had been quiet and stoic during our walks, smiled and promised to come get me if he saw it. Later, as Kim and I were watching a large elephant on the outer edge of our marsh, he did just that.

It was a double-toothed barbet that had built a nest near one of the tents. It was shy, but finally I got half a decent look at it. Enough to see why it was so named. Its bill has two jagged points.

Elephant watching was always fun. Note the giraffe in the background behind this one. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

David was more talkative with us after that, stopping along the way to point out a bird for me, and discussing other wildlife habits with Kim She particularly wanted to know how often hippos visited our tent area.

I didn’t hear the answer because I had come across a little blue and white bird perched beside the trail, and I was madly flipping through Dave’s book to identify it. It kind of looked like a mountain blue bird. I finally saw that it was an African blue flycatcher.

Meanwhile, as some days we made three trips back and forth across the river (before breakfast, after breakfast, and after lunch game drives with Joseph), we slowly got to know David a little better.

African blue flycatcher

For having such a tough-looking exterior, I found him to be a gentle soul. It gave me pause to wonder why my first impression of him had misidentified his nature so much that I had totally missed seeing the binoculars hanging around his neck.

It seems I needed to try harder not to let outer appearances play mind games with reality. Africa was teaching me a lot.

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