The Stakeout


Primates have always been my favorite group of animals. Once upon a time, I thought my career would be devoted to primate behavior and conservation. So, as soon as Laly mentioned that there are some bushbabies that hang out near the dorm I am staying in, it became my mission to see one. And once I saw one, it became my mission to photograph one. I realized over the last couple of days that one of them has a little routine, appearing at around the same time. So tonight, I staged a stakeout.

I arrived early. It was very cloudy today and I thought maybe they would appear a bit earlier given the reduced light. I wanted to read for a bit before dinner anyway, so I decided just to read outside the dorm and keep watch. I read for quite a while and then it occurred to me just how incredibly quiet it is here. No talking, no music, no familiar humming of appliances or distant drone of cars on a highway. Just the gentle rustle of the leaves and the calls of the birds as they settle in for the night. It was growing darker so I pulled my camera out and chose the right settings for the dusk photoshoot. I waited a bit longer and thought perhaps I scared it away. Perhaps it saw me waiting and decided not to venture down that path tonight.


Just as I was about to give up, I heard the familiar “swoosh” behind me. Ah ha! Sure enough, it had just arrived – but tonight, not one, but two bushbabies! I snuck in for a closer look in the fading light and started snapping away. I worried that perhaps the flash might prove to be a little much for them as their eyes are huge, but the contrary seemed to be true. The more pictures I took, the more they looked at me. I ended up sitting on the ground under the tree and they got curious enough to come down the trunk. One actually jumped down on the ground a few feet behind me and jumped onto the posts supporting the dorm porch! You can see the results of my efforts here – nothing spectacular but a good start. I am particularly pleased with the color photo because I was basically shooting blind at that point. It was really dark, the camera was still set on manual focus, and I wasn’t even sure where they were anymore. Sheer luck! So, now I know they are not afraid of or bothered by the flash – great news for me…more pictures with less guilt! Stay tuned for Stakeout Mbili!

3 thoughts on “The Stakeout

  1. I had heard about these bushbabies from Jennifer Chin’s writings, as well. The photos are great–you’ll have to continue to educate us about what they do and what you see. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Very cool! I found a storybook all about bushbaby at the thrift store down the street. Perfect day to pull it out for the kids. 🙂

  3. Hurrah for pictures! IThey are so cute – I’d like a Bush Baby! I suppose stuffing one in your suitcase and bringing it home would be frowned upon? Just as well…. Samba and Sambuca would probably be unenthusiastic…. 😉

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