201007-p1190629

On a recent ride in the Zinder bush, close to the aid field, I stumbled upon a large bird of prey. He sat in full solitude, as if he had no worries in the world, looking out over the huge expanse of untouched land.

201007-p1190633

I decided to take my chances and ride up to him, while stopping regularly to take a picture, in case he found my company disturbing and flew away. As I was on horseback however, he did not seem to mind my presence, and allowed both Sheba and myself to approach him considerably.

201007-p1190640

Not knowing what kind of raptor it was, I asked blogging friend Wren, author of Wrenaissance Reflections, one of my favourite nature blogs, if she knew someone who could help me identify it. She passed me over to her friend Jochen of Bell Tower Birding who immediately identified the bird as a Black Kite [Milvus migrans].

201007-p1190646

I could never have identified the bird without Jochen’s help, and his insight into the world of birds caught my attention to the fullest. If I thought identifying raptors was tricky before; I did not take into account that different subspecies have variations in colour and that many raptors change looks as they mature. According to Jochen, the bird I encountered seemed to be a juvenile, probably in its second calender year. Amongst the sub-species occurring in Niger, it looked most like a Yellow-billed Kite [Milvus parasiticus / aegyptius].

201007-p1190650

I fell in love with the young kite as he allowed me to approach him (I was only a few meters away) and to enjoy its beauty.

201007-p1190651

Then, when I was getting ready to move on, he flew away too.

201007-p1190652

I watched him sail through the air as he ventured off to a new look-out place.

201007-p1190656

There are few things I appreciate as much as watching wildlife go about their daily lives  in their natural habitat, and I am fortunate to be enjoying it in my own little corner of the world.

I hope you enjoyed it too!

To see what goes on in other corners of the world, visit My world!