Archive for the ‘Benin wildlife’ Category

Filed Under (Benin wildlife, Malian culture) by Rob on 11-02-2011

Wow, we were just driving through Mali, minding our own business, when dozens of baboons ran across the road in front of the car, just like that!

What a surprise! Until they appeared I hadn’t even realized that Mali had any wild baboons, which further added to my astonishment at seeing around fifty at once. Here are a couple of them close up:

Looking at their long, dark noses and the large quantity of hair on their fronts, I’d say these were Guinea baboons but the olive baboon is also resident to this part of Mali. Oh, and here’s the photo you all really want to see:

Of course, this isn’t my first sighting of wild African animals; we saw elephants, lions, buffalo, hippos, a hyena, monkeys, crocodiles and baboons in the Pendjari National Park in Benin in 2005/6. Here’s my baboon photo from that time:

Baboon(click to enlarge)

And here’s the album of all the wild animals we saw there. But, in a way, we expected to see at least some wild animals there; after all, it was a national park. Today’s manifestation, however, was a big surprise, but a very pleasant one!

Filed Under (Benin wildlife, General) by Rob on 28-05-2008

Last night, between 9:00pm and goodness knows how late, I killed no fewer than EIGHT mosquitoes in my house! Here’s one of them:


Every year it’s the same – rainy season hits and the mosquito count quintuples, almost overnight (here’s last year’s post on the subject). This is largely because there is a lot of standing water, in which the wee beasties breed. I’m far from an expert on the subject, but here’s my understanding of the two main types of mosquito we have here:

Firstly, the smaller, brownish ones with bent rear legs (like the one above), called anopheles. Click here for a great site about the anopheles mosquito. This is the one that can give you malaria, but it’s only the females which do so. They tend to bite during the night hours and sometimes you don’t even notice you’ve been bitten (crafty blighters!)

Secondly, there are the larger, blackish mozzies with striped legs, which bite more during the day, but do not give you malaria. Instead, they can pass on dengue fever or yellow fever instead and their bites can be itchy. Nice! Just as well I am armed with my mosquito electrocuting racket at times such as these!

If anyone reading this knows more about mosquitoes than me (not difficult) then leave a comment to enrich our knowledge on the matter! If not, then you can also click here for information on bites you can get in Africa (aka fast food for insects).


Finally, don’t forget the Creepy Crawlies album in the Photo Gallery.

Filed Under (Benin wildlife, General) by Rob on 02-08-2007

Okay, it’s time for another bird quiz. A carved wooden elephant goes to the first person to reply with the correct name of this bird, which we see almost every day in Kara. If it helps, here are two chicks which fell out of the tree. They seem to have a lot to say!


Bye for now.

Filed Under (Benin wildlife, General) by Rob on 04-01-2007

Just a quick note: if you like birds, I’ve just added a few more to the ‘Birds of Benin and Togo’ album.

For example, here’s a malachite kingfisher we saw in the park:


and we saw plenty of these abyssinian rollers:
Abyssinian Roller

Finally, look at this funny bird – it’s called a hammerkop and has a hammer shaped head:

Plenty more on the gallery – just click on one of the above or on the ‘photos’ picture to the right, then click on ‘Rob Baker’s Photo Gallery’.

Bye for now!

Filed Under (Benin wildlife, General) by Rob on 16-10-2006

A few days ago, we noticed a pair of collared sunbirds in and around our front yard. What we didn’t know is that they were about to build a nest, just 1 foot from our lounge window!!

It’s been interesting to watch, as the female flies to and fro with bits of twigs, straw etc, the nest gradually taking form (meanwhile, the male seems to sit around on telephone lines watching!!!) Here are some shots we took. Unfortunately, as we have mosquito screening on all our windows, it’s hard to get a real crisp image, but these are the best shots so far:




For more info, visit the ‘Birds of Benin’ page by clicking on the title to the RHS of the site.


Filed Under (Benin wildlife, General) by Rob on 08-10-2006

…and win a Wycliffe polo shirt!

Yes, it’s competition time again! This time for a ‘Wycliffe Benin’ polo shirt (even nicer than the t-shirt!) Here’s the lovely Lois modelling one for you:



(NB Colour/size may vary)

An interesting birdie was in a tree just outside our house this evening, so I got the camera out and took a few pics:




I’ve looked it up and am confident I have the correct identification.

So, can you name the bird from these photos? I’ll give you a clue: it’s name is made up of three words with a hyphen somewhere in there! So, it would be fun to have lots of wild 3-word guesses, even if you haven’t a clue!

So, get guessing and let’s see what fun answers we can come up with.

PS (For the teachers/parents visiting) it’s not ‘roly-poly bird’ – I think Roald Dahl invented that one!!

Filed Under (Benin wildlife, General) by Rob on 28-09-2006

Hi again folks,

You may remember the two yellow birds which have been pecking at our windows of late (see post on 5th September). In case you don’t, here’s a different picture of one of them in the rain:


Now, I’ve had a look in the old birdie book and on the net, and am pretty sure it’s a yellow-fronted canary. Have a look at this link for plenty more shots on Google Images:

So, are we all agreed it’s a yellow-fronted canary? It’s certainly a yellow fronted something!!

Bye for now,


Filed Under (Benin wildlife, General) by Rob on 29-05-2006

Yes, the rain is coming down in Cotonou in bucket-loads! Great fun driving through all the puddles (just be careful not to splash anyone!!!)

The rain also means the temperature cools down a bit, so now it gets down to as cool as 24 degrees C (yes…I know… that’s a heatwave in Britain, but – hey – it’s all relative okay?!?) In March (probably the hottest month) it barely got below 30 degrees C, even at night – and that’s just too sticky for words! Here are the average temperatures for each month of the year, in case you’re interested!

And here’s a cool bar chart, which shows average temperatures and rainfall:

From this one, it looks like we’re due for a whole lot more of the wet stuff next month!!!

Caught in the rain without a brolly
(NB for Americans reading this, that means ‘umbrella’!)

Last Thursday, we had the day off, as it was Ascension Day. So, we decided to go for a walk in the forest. Now, there aren’t that many accessible forests nearby, but the Niaouli Research Centre near Allada is about 1 hour 20mins drive north of Cotonou. Here’s some info (in French – sorry if you don’t speak the lingo, but there are nice pictures!)

Great place for a walk and some interesting creatures. Seeing as we like moths now, here’s one we saw there (no prizes for identifying this one, Steve!)

Niaouli moth 1.jpg

So, we set off on our walk into the beautiful forest, stopping to look at a spider and some other bugs on the way.

Looking at bugs.jpg

A bit further on, we sat down in a clearing for our picnic of French bread, Pringles and bananas! Just then, the heavens opened and we were well and truly showered upon! We tried to shelter, but the trees are not that thick, so we still got soaked. In the end, we decided to just run for it (seeing as you can’t get any more wet than totally saturated!)

Eventually, we found the viewpoint and were able to shelter under there (and wring out our clothes – there was nobody about!) Here’s the old viewpoint, taken from the top of the newer one. Great views over the vast canopy of green:

Forest viewpoint.jpg

So, the moral of the story is: take waterproofs with you if you go out for a walk during rainy season! Here are our three near the end of the walk (looking more like drowned rats!)

Drowned rats!.jpg

Other News…

Our colds and coughs have all but cleared up (it was Rob’s first cold in two years, which is good, considering he used to have about 3 a year in the UK).

At school, it’s International Day soon and the classes are busy learning international songs for the presentation. The school Samba Band is sure to be taking part, but we’re also doing songs in Spanish, Italian, German and (hopefully) a few national anthems. Last week, Rob’s class were trying to learn the Indian National Anthem, which begins:
“Jana gana mana adhinayaka jaya he…”

Tricky stuff, but fun trying!


Rob is planning to record another local choir soon and start working with yet another. The cassettes of the Aja choir have now been duplicated and sent to the village, so let’s hope that makes a big difference in their lives.

Summer Party is now on 12th August at our house in Ampthill, so we hope you can come.

Thanks for visiting!

Please leave a comment if you have time.

Rob et al

Filed Under (Benin wildlife, General) by Rob on 04-05-2006

Hi there

Have a butchers at this photo and see if you can work out who or what it is…

Who is it.jpg

Send us a reply with your ideas. The first correct answer will receive a ‘Wycliffe Benin’ t-shirt!!!

Now other info…

On the way back from Azove, we stopped off in Possotome, on the banks of Lake Aheme. First time we’d been and it was very pleasant. However, we took a slightly wrong turn near the village and ended up wending our way down this road:

Road to Possotome.jpg

There’s a sort of hotel/mini-Butlins there (chalets & restaurant, but definitely no monorail!!!) and the whole place looks out over the lake and has a ‘beach’ (of sand which was clearly delivered there!) Here’s Micah on said plage:

Micah on beach.jpg

To try and keep/get fit, Rob has taken up tennis, which he is enjoying (in spite of the heat!) Here are a couple of shots of him in ‘full swing’:

Rob playing tennis 1.jpg

Rob playing tennis 2.jpg

“Not sure I actually hit that second one” says Rob

Other news…

Mads has been off school the last couple of days, with a wheezy chest and coughing. She went to the doctor’s today and she put her on a nebulizer for 20 minutes, which seems to have done her the power of good.

Lois is busy organizing the school Summer Fayre, which takes place in a couple of weeks.

Micah goes round to play with his Dutch friend, Marijn, at least a couple of evenings a week, which he really enjoys (and they are both as talkative as each other, which is good too!)

Ruth is still enjoying ballet. On Monday, we had an SIL get-together, where an Irish short-termer did some Irish dancing. Ruth was so interested that the girl concerned lent Ruth the shoes for a couple of days (although they were a tad big for her, she had fun making a lot of noise with them!)

Thanks for visiting. I’ve added a couple of photos to the Azove info below too.

Thanks for all the comments we’ve received – they are much appreciated.