Originally Posted by Jon Turner
Good news about the visas at Victoria Falls - how much? Carmine Bee-eater is number one required in Africa!
Jon,, Susan , my other half says the visa cost $33 (US dollars..the currency they use most in Zimbabwe as they have lost their own currency). Not cheap for an afternoon there. If you were to go through the Caprivi strip like I did, there is no visa necessary for Namibia.
The next day I was picked up by Phil Zappala of Safari and Guide Services (www.sgsafrica.com
He reckoned that there were still Rock Pratincoles near the Chobe rapids (Sasol reckons they are only present July to January), so we headed back to Mowana Lodge and went downstream in search
We found 8 Rock Pratincoles
sitting on a flat rock, a good bit upstream from the rapids. They were silhouetted by the glare of the sun and I had to go downstream to see their markings. Success! Time to explore the grounds of Mowana Lodge.
Phil knew there was a Barn Owl
which roosts in the upper timbers of the Lodge and right enough there was one looking right down at us.
Over by the start of the golf course we found a Bearded Scrub Robin
, with very handsome markings. Another new species for me was Golden Weaver
Other birds we saw included Green winged Pytilia, Red Faced Mousebird , Village Indigobird and Palm Swift.
We heard an African Goshawk calling in a tree and went to check it out. This turned out to be a lucky break because there was a Schalow's Turaco
foraging around in the top of the same tree as the Goshawk. Seen from below it wasn't possible to see the entire bird through the leaves but it kept moving around and looking down at us so fortunately I got to see all the different parts, including the white spots dancing around on the extremely long crest.
This was not a bird I had expected to see. Again, Sasol states that it appears in 'riparian forest along the Zambezi River west of Victoria Falls, in Zimbabwe, and into the eastern Caprivi'...no mention of the Chobe.
Phil was very pleased that we had managed to see one and I was very impressed too.
That afternoon, a friend of Phil's called Tim picked me up for a trip. We went out towards the sewage works. Birds were few and far between but we saw a European Roller, circling Marabou Storks and my first Levaillant Cuckoo
We went down to the Chobe River, a good bit down- stream from Mowana Lodge. Again birds were hard to locate but we saw a Slaty Egret
flying overhead. Its yellow legs were enough to see that it wasn't a Black Egret.
We looked hard for a Long Crested Eagle which likes to settle on telegraph poles in the late afternoon but it never showed up.
We then tried Mowana Lodge again. There was a juvenile hawk feeding on a lizard on the lawn and , after consulting the book we ID'ed it as a Shikra
We headed downstream looking for the Rock Pratincoles but they had left the rock where I saw them in the morning.
Then Tim spotted a Half Collared Kingfisher
, a bird I had dipped in the Western Cape. It sat for a long time giving good views.
Other birds we spotted included Little Rush Warbler (African Sedge Warbler) and Red Faced Mouse Bird.
This was a very satisfying day, being with birders who really know their stuff and seeing some local 'endemics' as well as birds I had hoped to see on previous trips.