Category Archives: Nature

Kingfisher Collection

Kingfishers are rare in the UK – I only saw my first Kingfisher back in the UK last summer.

Here in Tanzania they are much more common. Last week I saw a Woodland Kingfisher – thus completing the set of all those which can be seen in this part of Tanzania. All of these have been seen in our garden, apart from the Giant Kingfisher (seen in Kigoma) but resident here. However, not all of the photos were taken in the garden.

So here is the collection…..


Woodland Kingfisher


Grey-headed Kingfisher


Pygmy Kingfisher


Malachite Kingfisher


Pied Kingfisher


Giant Kingfisher

Purple Patches

All along our journey from Mwanza to the Usambara Mountains -the landscape remained arid and dusty; yellows and browns the predominant palette. However breaking up the colourscheme throughout, the Jacaranda trees providing eye catching purple patches across the plains, mountains and valleys of Northern Tanzania. In the Usambara they flower against a greener landscape. They herald the yet unseen rains and will continue to flower until Christmas before returning to their usual green for another year.

Weekly Photo Challenge: H2O (of Life)

We are approaching the end of the dry season here and have the odd storm – but water still remains scarce away from the Lake. This summer we have had constructed a bird bath, comprising a wheel hub, pole and some metal prongs it resembles a hat stand but the bin lid sitting upon the prongs reveals it’s true purpose. It took several weeks to attract it’s first customers but is now in use by birds of all sizes including the Yellow-billed Black Kites which swoop in for a drink.

Other birds include house sparrows, yellow-vented bulbuls, african thrushes and red-billed fire finches, a grey-headed kingfisher- all seeking H2O

Beautiful Bougainvillea

The rains are imminent – in fact three storms have come and gone – nothing on the scale that is to come, but a sign things are changing.

Even so the ground remains parched and yellow, dusty and dry – the exception being the Bougainvillea which is in bloom at this time and throughout the dryest time of the year and provides a welcome splash of colour to the garden.


Familiar Haunts: Swanholme & Hartsholme

Our time in England has been a time of reminiscing, firstly back in MK and now in Lincoln. These two places where I lived for 38 years in total, so familiar. As well as visiting old friends it has been a chance to revisit places – familiar haunts.

Swanholme & Hartsholme Lakes

Right on our doorstep in Lincoln is an area of woodland and gravel pit reservoirs.

Familiar Haunts: Whisby Nature Reserve

Our time in England has been a time of reminiscing, firstly back in MK and now in Lincoln. These two places where I lived for 38 years in total, so familiar. As well as visiting old friends it has been a chance to revisit places – familiar haunts.

Whisby Nature Reserve

An opportunity to catch up with family and visit Whisby Nature Reserve. A wetland reserve on the edge of Lincoln.


My First Kingfisher

Throughout our time in Tanzania we have seen hundreds of kingfishers Pied Kingfishers, Grey- Headed Kingfishers, Malachite Kingfishers even a Giant Kingfisher. 

However in Britain I have never seen a (Common) Kingfisher. For years I have looked along river banks hoping to spot that flash of blue and orange, but never a glimpse of this shy bird.

Until today that is… 🙂

It started at 5:30 – I’ve not been sleeping well having pulled a muscle in my shoulder. The sun was shining brightly which for me is taking along time to get used to (having lived with a constant 12 hour day these past two years). So I got up and dressed and headed out with my camera to get some early morning shots of Emberton Park – our home for the week. I headed for the lake and made for the bird hide. As I went I wondered whether it might be possible to see a kingfisher – but I had been to many such lakes and rivers over the years and never even seen flicker. 

I am a Christian  and as I walked I shot up an arrow prayer asking if just once I might be lucky. I don’t believe in a slot-machine God who does things to order, but I do believe in a God who cares and answers our prayers though not always in the way we expect – in the big things and in the little. This was most definitely in the little category. 

I sat there waiting patiently in the early morning light. Self doubt saying to me give up you’ve tried and failed many times, a little voice countering and saying be patient – twenty minutes and movement across my eyeline – in the light it was more black than anything but I followed it and carefully moved to the other side of the hide – there it was on a branch – fleetingly and before my camera could capture it, gone. 

My first kingfisher – amazed and thankful I nonetheless decided to wait on the little voice saying be patient. 

Ten minutes on and two flashes of blue zooming across the lake – still no picture.   I shot another prayer just asking for an opportunity to capture the bird. I positioned my camera towards the branches of a submerged bush and waited. Then finally a squeaky call and another bird flew into view. I got off two shots.  

I didn’t get a perfectly posed bird on a branch but God had answered again. He had answered in abundance but not the way I expected. I had seen no less than four kingfishers, having never seen a UK bird before. He will answer in the little things and in the big – if we ask and if we are patient and if we expect the unexpected.