Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Discover the ZEISS Digital Nature Hub

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Botswana 2015

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
Old Thursday 12th March 2015, 14:50   #1
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
Botswana 2015

This is my first trip to botswana. I arrived at Kasane Airport on the 11th February from Johannesburg with my wife Susan. The idea was that we would spend three days doing touristy things and Susan would carry on to Cape Town, leaving me with a week to do some serious birding.
I will put all new species (birds I had nor seen in the Western cape or on last year's trip to Kruger National Park) in Bold letters.
many of these lifers were common, so I won't repeat them on other outings.
i don't consider myself an expert birder, so the purpose of this thread is to give info to anyone thinking of visiting Northern botswana, as well as to keep a record for myself.

After unpacking, I took my bins down to the jetty.
The first bird I saw was a Thick Billed Weaver building a nest. I also saw Spectacled weaver, Little Bee Eater, Tawny Flanked Prinia, Red Billed Quelia, Laughing Dove, White Browed Robin Chat, Village Weaver and Southern Grey Headed Sparrow.

If anyone can tell me how to down-size my photos for attachment purposes, I would be very grateful.

Padraig
__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 12th March 2015, 15:26   #2
Jon Turner
Registered User
 
Jon Turner's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Devon, England
Posts: 4,410
Keep the posts coming, we're booked for September!
__________________
Jon
Jon Turner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 12th March 2015, 17:25   #3
sidwemn
Registered User
 
sidwemn's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Middlesbrough
Posts: 381
looking forward to this, was there last September, awsome country, though hard work when self driving. Kasane and the Chobe River is definitely one of the great areas in Africa

Cheers
Martyn
sidwemn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 13th March 2015, 12:39   #4
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
Thanks for your encouragement Jon and Martyn.
On the 12th February we had arranged a trip to Victoria Falls. We were dropped at the border with Zimbabwe by a driver from the Old House, had visas purchased on the Botswana side, strolled over to Zim and were driven on by a Zim driver. Most of the trip was through the National Park: no people, we saw our first elephant of the trip.
The Falls were as impressive as I had expected. At the end we watched bungi-jumpers dropping below the bridge spanning the Zambesi between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
My first new species was Trumpeter Hornbill, 4 birds in a tree overhead.
Other birds knocking about included Dark Capped (Black-Eyed) Bulbul, Amethyst Sunbird, African Paradise Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher.
Then I came upon a patch with lots of different birds: Grey-Backed Cameroptera (a common enough species, I saw a couple more on this trip),Yellow Bellied Greenbul ( saw one or two more of these), Jacobin's Cuckoo, Red-winged Starling.
On the trip back to Kasane I saw Carmine Bee-Eater (common enough), Lilac Breasted Roller (likewise), Cattle Egret, Helmeted Guineafowl, Red Billed Wood Hoopoe.
The evening was spent dining at the Old House, watching South African rugby on the tell and watching the beautiful tropical sunset over the Chobe River, with Namibia across the other side.
__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 13th March 2015, 13:09   #5
dandsblair
David and Sarah
 
dandsblair's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: lancashire
Posts: 1,630
if you have Canon DPP

Quote:
Originally Posted by Padraig View Post

If anyone can tell me how to down-size my photos for attachment purposes, I would be very grateful.

Padraig
Lots of packages have batch processing, but I use DPP which comes with all Canon cameras. I just get photos I want to attach to thread in a folder, select batch process and convert them to Jpg with 8 quality and resize around 1300 width (keep ratio) this give files less than max size of Ok quality all saved in a new folder. I then just select a few each day to attach. Results are on my Ghana thread, I could do each individually as I process them but some times it may be weeks before I've processed all the best shots this gives me something I can use quickly.
Hope this helps

And look forward to seeing the report

David
__________________
Life List - David 5250 - Sarah 5207 Last bird David Sinai Rosefinch Sarah - Sinai Rosefinch
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/
dandsblair is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 13th March 2015, 13:21   #6
Jon Turner
Registered User
 
Jon Turner's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Devon, England
Posts: 4,410
Good news about the visas at Victoria Falls - how much? Carmine Bee-eater is number one required in Africa!
__________________
Jon
Jon Turner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 13th March 2015, 17:50   #7
sidwemn
Registered User
 
sidwemn's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Middlesbrough
Posts: 381
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Turner View Post
Carmine Bee-eater is number one required in Africa!
Jon,

quite common in September!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Carmine-Bee-eaters-10.1.jpg
Views:	105
Size:	296.6 KB
ID:	535777  
sidwemn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 13th March 2015, 19:35   #8
Jon Turner
Registered User
 
Jon Turner's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Devon, England
Posts: 4,410
Quote:
Originally Posted by sidwemn View Post
Jon,

quite common in September!
That'll do nicely! Thanks for posting.
__________________
Jon
Jon Turner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 14th March 2015, 17:49   #9
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
Jon, we paid the Old House to organise the drive to Vic Falls and arrange the visa, so I'm not sure what the visa cost. Not much, I think. Carmine Bee-Eaters are a certainty, you'll be glad to hear.

The following day I looked at birds in the garden close to the jetty.
There were Wire-tailed Swallows perched on the parked boats.
Swamp Boubou was a common bird and I learned to identify their call.
I saw what I thought was an African Reed Warbler and definitely identified Icterine Warbler. Another common bird I saw was Collared Palm Thrush and the ubiquitous Fork-tailed Drongo, and African Darter.
On the flowers by the restaurant was a brilliant male Copper Sunbird with the sun bringing out irridescent yellow in its plumage. I was pleased to find this, a bird confined to this area.
Out the front there were Red Billed Firefinch, [b]Brown Firefinch[b], another bird of this area, and Blue Waxbill, all these little birds enjoying the effect of a sprinkler on the surrounding clay. I also saw a Grey Hornbill.

In the afternoon we were down to do a boat trip into Chobe National Park. The fee for Park entry was included in the price.
__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 16th March 2015, 16:37   #10
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
I forgot to mentioned that among the small birds at the front of the Old House was a Northern Grey Headed Sparrow: its large beak and white patch on its throat were diagnostic. This is a species that is confined to a few spots around the Chobe and Zambezi rivers, so I was pleased to see it.

We set off on our river safari: Susan and I, 4 Brazilians and the local guide called Sox.
The first bird, perched on a tree close to the water was a Black Crowned Night Heron. Also perched close to the surface were Pied , Brown Hooded Kingfishers, and Reed Cormorant.
Open Billed Stork was my first lifer of the cruise, a common bird on the river.
Whiskered Terns turned and twisted in the middle of the river.
Yellow Billed Egret was a species I finally got to see. There were majestic African Fish Eagle dotted along on the tress or down by the water. African Jacana, a common bird, was another I finally caught up with.
I got my first Blue Cheeked Bee-Eater, another common bird here.
A solitary Zitting Cisticola (Fan Tailed Warbler) lived up to its name by zitting up and down.
There were crocodiles in the water close to the shore looking menacing with their snouts and eyes just above the surface.
An Emerald Spotted Wood-Dove was feeding close to the water when a large croc launched itself out of the water with its gaping mouth. The Dove reacted just in time and flew up. It landed about 20 feet away as nothing had happened and the croc slipped back into the water. That's Nature for you, always something trying to gobble up something else!

The trees gave away to grass on the shore. There were elephants higher up the bank and hippos closer down by the water. One had a Cattle Egret on it's back. Another had a Yellow Billed Oxpecker.
There were Squacco Herons and Great White Egrets standing about or feeding.
A flock of 15 White Faced Duck stood a couple of hundred yards from the water. I saw 12 of these birds 2 week's later at Strandfonteign in Cape Town 2 weeks later, but for te moment I ejoyed seeing them for the first time.
I also saw my first Black Heron and Green Winged Heron.
a White Crowned Lapwing, walked along by the water and 2 Long Toed Lapwing strode about.
I had now seen 4 new species in the space of a couple of minutes and hardly had time to appreciate a Hammerkop flying directly overhead.
A Common Sandpiper bobbed up and down. Scattered around were Egyptian Geese, Little Egrets and Sacred Ibis.One or two Cape Wagtails also bobbed their tails.
Sox now drove the boat over to the Namibian side of the river where a herd of elephants was preparing to head towards the water. We parked alongside their entry point and watched spellbound as the lead elephant (female) waded in followed by a baby. There was another baby further back the chain as they slowly immersed themselves and started to swim. The babies held their tiny trunks onto the backside of the elephant in front and were closely followed by an adult behind. The party broke off swimming towards the far bank to allow for a bit of play in the water, the babies being surrounded and touched by various teenagers and adults before they got into formation again and carried swimming. At the far side, the younger males flapped their ears and made mock attacks at nobody in particular, as the more sensible adults sauntered along the bank and up towards the trees.
They were done with drinking and bathing for the day and were now set to spend the night feeding on the trees. Elephants seem to need little or no sleep.

There were falcon shaped birds. Sox could not identify them,nor could I. I got good pictures of about 5 of them roosting on some reeds. It turns out they were (Western)Red Footed Falcons.
A pair of Pygmy Geese flew by.
The sun was now heading towards the horizon behind some trees. We watched as the orange turned to red and the sun became a huge orb as it disappeared slowly over the edge. Always a magical moment in the tropics.

We headed back to the restaurant to socialise with the Brazilians with Steak and Chips and wine, after a wonderful day.
I had seen 18 new species in the course of the day, another good reason to feel satisfied.
__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 17th March 2015, 14:59   #11
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
Here are some photos:
Thick Billed Weaver
White Crowned Robin chat
Trumpeter Hornbill
White Crowned Night Heron
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Thick Billed Weaver.jpg
Views:	74
Size:	10.7 KB
ID:	536229  Click image for larger version

Name:	White  Browed Robin Chat.jpg
Views:	76
Size:	8.9 KB
ID:	536233  Click image for larger version

Name:	Trumpeter Hornbil.jpg
Views:	72
Size:	13.9 KB
ID:	536234  Click image for larger version

Name:	White Crowned Night Heron.jpg
Views:	75
Size:	12.9 KB
ID:	536235  
__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 17th March 2015, 20:13   #12
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
On the 14th January we went for a drive safari with the same people as on the river cruise of the day before. We drove along a sandy road through the wooded park, with a local teak trees (no higher than 20ft tall) on either side.
Red Billed Francolin was the first bird seen. A solitary Marico Flycatcher perched on a bush. Also seen were Village Indigobird and Red Backed Shrike.
Waders we had seen yesterday but couldn't identify turned out on closer inspection to be Ruff (1 bird) with about 10 Reeves.
We reached the edge of the grassy bank of the river and saw Knob Billed Duck (common). Bataleurs floated by on their very boyant wings. In the bushes Arrow-marked Babblers made a noisy racket.
Namaqua Dove, Red Billed Teal, Red Billed Hornbill, Grey Hornbill, Wood Sandpiper, Broad Billed Roller and Lilac Breasted Roller were all about.
We stopped for refreshments and I checked out the nearby trees. There was a Grey Winged Cameroptera overhead; also Dark Eared Glossy Starlings and Wattled Starlings.
Driving on, I spotted a Sabota Lark and my first Tawny Eagle.

By late afternoon, we had returned to the river, where there were giraffes and hundreds of elephants (Chobe has one of the highest numbers of elephants anywhere on earth).
We drove inland again in search of Lions. I kept my eye out also for Kori Bustard, a bird I had failed to see in Kruger NP a year ago.
A solitary Red Footed Falcon was perched right beside the road.
After a fruitless long drive looking for Lions I shouted out to Sox 'stop, Kori's Bustard!'
A solitary bird was close to the road and slowly made its way alongside us and off into the bush. This was an exciting moment for me as I alternated between looking at it through the bins and taking photos, as it glided along majestically on foot out of view. These birds are huge!
Back down by the river again a Long Tailed Paradise Wydah perched atop a tree with its long tail streaming in the breeze.
Other birds ticked for the trip included Grey Heron, Red Billed Firefinch, African Marsh Harrier, Red Faced Mousebird, Red Billed Oxpecker, White Backed Vulture,Black Backed Puffback.
I also saw a solitary Yellow Wagtail as well as African Pied Wagtail.

On the way home we carried on looking in vain for Lion as a thunder storm finally broke and torrential rain bucketed down with constant lightening.
It felt very exhilarating. Despite the disappointment of not seeing any big cats I had the consolation of finally catching up with Kori's Bustard.
__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 18th March 2015, 09:56   #13
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
Pictures from Chobe River:
White Crowned Lapwing
African Darter
African Openbill
Heading for a swim
Sunset
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	White Crowned Lapwing.jpg
Views:	47
Size:	15.1 KB
ID:	536364  Click image for larger version

Name:	African Darter.jpg
Views:	63
Size:	12.8 KB
ID:	536365  Click image for larger version

Name:	African Openbill.jpg
Views:	54
Size:	7.1 KB
ID:	536366  Click image for larger version

Name:	Elephants.jpg
Views:	43
Size:	9.8 KB
ID:	536367  Click image for larger version

Name:	Sunset.jpg
Views:	60
Size:	9.3 KB
ID:	536368  

__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 18th March 2015, 10:13   #14
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
Drive Safari:
Little Bee-Eater, Village Indigobird, African Fish Eagle, Giraffe with Impala,
Tawny Eagle
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Little Bee-Eater.jpg
Views:	68
Size:	16.4 KB
ID:	536370  Click image for larger version

Name:	Village Firefinch.jpg
Views:	66
Size:	14.8 KB
ID:	536371  Click image for larger version

Name:	African Fish Eagle.jpg
Views:	56
Size:	11.1 KB
ID:	536372  Click image for larger version

Name:	Giraffe:impala.jpg
Views:	54
Size:	12.6 KB
ID:	536373  Click image for larger version

Name:	Tawny Eagle.jpg
Views:	70
Size:	7.9 KB
ID:	536374  

__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 18th March 2015, 10:26   #15
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
5 more pics:
Chobe mammals, Kori Bustard,Long Tailed Paradise Wydah, Western Red Footed Falcon, African Pied Wagtail.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Giraffes.jpg
Views:	69
Size:	9.7 KB
ID:	536375  Click image for larger version

Name:	Kori Bustard.jpg
Views:	66
Size:	10.5 KB
ID:	536376  Click image for larger version

Name:	Long Tailed Paradise Wydah.jpg
Views:	44
Size:	6.7 KB
ID:	536377  Click image for larger version

Name:	Western Red Footed Falcon.jpg
Views:	70
Size:	8.4 KB
ID:	536378  Click image for larger version

Name:	African Pied Wagtail.jpg
Views:	66
Size:	12.6 KB
ID:	536380  

__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 18th March 2015, 11:03   #16
Merlin
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Bristol and Staffordshire
Posts: 1,386
Hi Jon
We went in 08 via Zambia and paid 75 each in cash at Livingstone Airport to get into Zambia, after seven days we went on to Botswana for ten days, Namibia for three and then returned the same way and had to pay another 75 each to get back into Zambia just to drive to Livingstone Airport for our onward flight to J'oburg and then Cape Town.
(If you had an Irish passport you didn't pay anything)

Lots of Carmines on the Chobe, huge breeding colony on the Namibia side.

Despite everything it was an amazing trip with great birds and great people and I go again tomorrow (if I could afford it?

best regards

Merlin
Merlin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 18th March 2015, 16:43   #17
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
The following day Susan left for Cape Town.
I kept checking the garden at the Old house for any new species.
I saw a single Collared Sunbird and Jameson's Firefinch.
In the evening I was looking out for Bat Hawk but saw instead a male Orange breasted Bush-Shrike brilliantly lit up by the descending sun.
I had arranged to meet Phil Zappala, director of Safari & Guide Services Ltd to look for 'night birds'.
I thought this might involve looking for owls at dusk and I was wondering why Phil was so relaxed as dusk seemed to be turning into night. It turned out that he had a powerful torch hooked up to his 4 by 4 battery and we were really going to look for night birds, not just dusk birds.
The first bird we saw on the road as we drove out of Kasane was a Verreaux's (Giant) Eagle Owl. It flew into an overhanging tree and we got good views, taking care not to shine the powerful light onto it's eyes.
We drove out towards the thornfeldt bush. At the local sewage works we saw White Crowned Night Heron with a toad in it's beak. In the bush itself there were various animals looming about in the dark: elephants and giraffes.
We had our headlights off.
There was a small pack of Jackal (Black Backed) staring very nervously at some bushes and we wondered if the might be a Leopard there. However, a group of Impala seemed too relaxed. I saw my first ever Hyena, a solitary animal. There were Genets and Scrub Hare as well.
We were right at the border with Zimbabwe and it was nice to think that all the animals were free to wander into the adjacent Zimbabwe National Park- in effect Chobe NP and Zim NP a one connected zone.
A Three Banded Plover stayed rooted to the ground as we almost drove over it. I could see the bands on its head and neck (but not breast) before it eventually flew off. Other waders to be seen were Three Banded Plover, Blacksmith Plover and Common Sandpiper.
On the way home we saw 3 Spotted Eagle Owls in three overhanging trees. We had hoped for Wood Owl (Phil usually saw them in the trees where the eagle Owls were now roosting), but none to be seen on this occasion.
As a consolation, the next tree had a White Faced Scop's Owl

Phil hung out a luminescent light over the side as we drove along a sandy road. This light showed up the luminescence of small scorpions. Not a good idea to walk on this sandy road with flip-flops on after dark!


It was the first time I had experienced being out amongst wild animals in Africa with only the starlight and Phil's torch to guide us.The big herbivores (elephant/ giraffes) never seem to sleep. The Impala don't either as they keep a constant eye out for Lions and Leopards. Apparent Impala's eyesight is poor compared to the big cats, so they have to be constantly alert.
On the way into town we saw the other Jackal species, Side-Striped.
Despite dipping the Wood Owl, I had seen 2 new species of owl and my first Courser.
A very satisfying trip, I was tucked up in bed before mid-night.
__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 18th March 2015, 19:17   #18
Jon Turner
Registered User
 
Jon Turner's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Devon, England
Posts: 4,410
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin View Post
Hi Jon
We went in 08 via Zambia and paid 75 each in cash at Livingstone Airport to get into Zambia, after seven days we went on to Botswana for ten days, Namibia for three and then returned the same way and had to pay another 75 each to get back into Zambia just to drive to Livingstone Airport for our onward flight to J'oburg and then Cape Town.
(If you had an Irish passport you didn't pay anything)

Lots of Carmines on the Chobe, huge breeding colony on the Namibia side.

Despite everything it was an amazing trip with great birds and great people and I go again tomorrow (if I could afford it?

best regards

Merlin
Thanks for that Merlin. Food for thought.

I like the idea of a night drive Padraig!
__________________
Jon
Jon Turner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 19th March 2015, 21:39   #19
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
On Monday 16th I took possession of a hired car and headed off to the Okavango Panhandle (as opposed to delta), specifically to Drotsky's Cabins.
I got the idea of Drotsky's from reading trip reports by others on BF. The main reason for going?...to see Pel's Owl if I could.
The quickest way there is through the Caprivi strip of Namibia.
The first part of the drive is to Ngoma gate on a tarred road through Chobe.
For those interested in doing this trip, one thing to realise is that heading to that part of Botswana via Namibia involves 8 border stops: 2 at Ngoma gate and 2 at the other end and the same coming back. Then there are stops for entering National Parks, stops for dis-infection against Foot and Mouth disease, stops for Ebola questionnaires and finally a stop at Katima Murillo in Caprivi to pay road tax.
Lots of paper filling, I certainly knew the car's registration off pat by the end and my passport filled up with stamps.
The trip took between 6 and 7 hours and it was a big relief to finaly drive up the long sandy road to Drotsky's. I booked into the camping section which was about half a mile from the main reception.
The whole area is covered in mature riverine forest, with Nyala deer walking freely about.
My only birds for the day were Magpie Shrike in Kasane, a juvenile Bataleur along the way and Hartlaub's Babbler in the grounds of Drotsky's.
I pitched my 1 man tent and slept on the hard ground, wondering what bird-life awaited me in the morning.
__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 20th March 2015, 21:59   #20
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
The next day I had a boat trip booked and we headed upriver from Drotsky's Cabins on the Okavango River.
Typical birds included Pied Kingfisher, African Jacana, Darter, Reed Cormorant.
I spotted and managed to identify my first ever Klaas's Cuckoo in the papyrus plants which formed the opposite bank.
Little, Blue Cheeked and Whitefronted Bee-Eaters dotted the reeds.
Water Thicknee, Cape Glossy Starling, Brown Throated Sand Martins, Wire Tailed and Lesser Striped Swallows.
I saw my first African Golden Oriole before the boat- man stopped in front of a large tree and uttered the words I wanted to hear 'there's the owl'. High up in the shade there was indeed a motionless Pel's Fishing Owl, the bird I most wanted to see.
After spending a while trying to get decent photos (not easy), we carried on up stream.
Grey Hornbill, Hammerkop, Pygmy Geese, Purple and Goliath Heron flew about the place.
Again, the boat-man stopped in front of a low bush (he'd obviously done this before) and pointed out a hard to see bird,
a White Backed Night Heron before we turned back.
On the way home we saw Red Bishop, Violet Backed Starlings, African Green Pigeon, Namaqua Dove and Blacksmith Plover. We stopped at the Pel's Owl again so I could sink in this wonderful bird.

Back on land, the boat-man (I've forgotten his name now) took me to a tree where he thought there might be another bird I wanted to see. Success, there was a pair of Wood Owl, the bird I'd missed on the night trip.
I spent the rest of the afternoon staying out of the heat of the sun and enjoying birds like Hartlaub's Babbler, Orange Breasted Shrike, Yellow Breasted Apalis, Blue Waxwing, African Golden Oriole, Marsh Boubou and Palm Collared Thrush.


Photos: African Jacana, White Fronted Bee-Eater, Malachite Kingfisher, Pel's Fishing Owl, White Backed Night Heron.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Jacana.jpg
Views:	57
Size:	10.2 KB
ID:	536752  Click image for larger version

Name:	White Fronted Bee Eater.jpg
Views:	68
Size:	10.2 KB
ID:	536753  Click image for larger version

Name:	Malachite Kingfisher.jpg
Views:	64
Size:	14.9 KB
ID:	536754  Click image for larger version

Name:	Pel's Fishing Owl.jpg
Views:	81
Size:	12.8 KB
ID:	536755  Click image for larger version

Name:	White Backed Heron.jpg
Views:	52
Size:	12.3 KB
ID:	536756  

__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 23rd March 2015, 10:50   #21
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
18.2.15
I spent the day exploring the riverine trees at Drotsky's Cabins and ouside the perimeter.
Birds seen:
Broad Billed Roller, Magpie Shrike, Spotted Flycatcher, White Browed Sparrow Weaver, Willow Warbler, Green Winged Pytilia, Dusky Indigobird, Marico Sunbird, Green backed Heron, Black Crake, Giant Kingfisher, Meve's Starling, Red Billed Francolin and Southern Brown Throated Weaver.
That evening I met a couple who were back from the eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe with lots of interesting stories of the birds they saw there.
I made an arrangement to met them at sun-rise to try and entice a certain bird from the papyrus beds.

At sun-up we sat on a bank of a narrow stream with papyrus on the other side and played a birdsong app (with speakers) of a Greater Samp Warbler. We could see a bird approaching us but only got the flimsiest of views.
In the meanwhile, a Chirping Cisticola began to call and we played that all back. The bird came right into the open in front of us and stayed there for a couple of minutes.
We tried the Swamp Warbler call again, and again the bird came towards us. This time we got two glimpses of the bird in the open, lasting 5 seconds each, before it retreated into the papyrus bed for the last time. 5 seconds can appear like a long time when it comes to warblers.
These were 2 birds I would never have seen on my own, and I was grateful to the couple for sharing it with me.
I also spotted a Crested Barbet overhead in the trees.

Although I was booked into Drotsky's for 4 nights, I decided to leave a day early to get back to Kasane where more birds awaited to be seen.
I thoroughly enjoyed exploring Drotsky's and hanging out with staff especially in the shade in the hot afternoons.

That evening, after a 6 hour drive, I headed to Mowana Lodge, downstream from Kasane and headed towards the Chobe rapids in search of Rock Pratincoles.
The evening was still hot, mosquitos were biting and acacia thorns scratched me as I tried to get downstream while there was still light.
I avoided standing by he river's edge as I had heard some gorey stories of crocodile attacks; there were hippos grunting in the river and I was on the lookout for any that emerged from the water at dusk.
Overall, the experience was slightly nerve-racking and I also failed to see the Pratincoles.
By way of compensation, I saw my first Copper Tailed Coucal.
Other birds I saw were Goliath, Greenbacked Herons, Black and Yellow Billed Egrets.
Back at Mowana Lodge there is a huge Boabab tree (Mowana) which is reportedly 800 years old. There were about 20 Trumpeter Hornbills roosting in the neighbouring trees just outside tourist's windows.
Not a bad sight for those who were paying a princely amount in US dollars to stay there.
Meanwhile I returned to my 10 a night campsite at Chobe Safari Lodge.
More birding tomorrow.
__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 23rd March 2015, 15:39   #22
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
photos:
Wire Tailed Swallows, Meve's Starling, Magpie Shrike
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Wire Tailed Swallow.jpg
Views:	57
Size:	5.7 KB
ID:	537106  Click image for larger version

Name:	Meve's Starling.jpg
Views:	64
Size:	8.6 KB
ID:	537107  Click image for larger version

Name:	Magpie Shrike.jpg
Views:	61
Size:	7.6 KB
ID:	537108  
__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 23rd March 2015, 21:59   #23
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Turner View Post
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.

19.2.15
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.
__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 25th March 2015, 16:31   #24
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
20.3.15
The 2 birders, Phil Zappala and Tim decided to take to take me to the Puku Flats, a grassy area by the river in Chobe National Park.
We started off at 5.45 and soon were queuing up at the entrance to the National Park with about 5 safari vehicles.
The first bird on Puku flats was a Luapala (Blackbacked) Cisticola.
Another new species for me was Rufous Naped Lark, which we saw a few times.
We were driving through grass that was up to a metre high. There were lots of African Stonechats. A Crake species flew up but it was impossible to say what it was (maybe Corn Crake or Spotted Crake).
Then a Small (Kurricane) Buttonquail flew up, a very small bird indeed.

We went on foot and saw a few Rosy- Throated Longclaw flying up with their pink throats lit up by the sun.
In the distance we could make out Black Coucal flying, but unfortunately couldn't get close.
Two African Wattled Lapwings flew away from a pool and later flew back in our direction. I didn't get to see them on the ground unfortunately.
A Lesser Kestrel was another new species,flying and later as we were leaving the Puku Flats a Black Kite circled overhead.
__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 27th March 2015, 16:02   #25
Padraig
Registered User
 
Padraig's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 673
20.2.15 Cont.
Still in the 4 by 4 with Phil Zappala and Tim, we did a trip through the teak woodland.
The first notable bird was a Kori's Bustard, the second of my trip. A Bradfield's Hornbill flew between trees beside the road. I also got to see an adult Shikra, also my second on on this trip.

There was a Gabar Goshawk in a tree near a pool of water. I wanted to get out of the vehicle to get a better look. There were 2 elephants on the far side of the pool but they looked relaxed. Just then a buffalo walked by the vehicle, made for the water and lay down. Maybe walking hadn't been such a good idea after all!
There were solar panels beside the pool to pump up water. I was told that in the dry season, this can pump enough water to cater for giraffes or buffalo but not enough for elephants , who have to go down to the river to satisfy their thirst.

Driving around, we got the following:
Brown Crowned Tcahagra, White Crested Helmet Shrike, a cuckoo species (unable to say whether it was Common (European) or African);
White Headed Vulture, African Harrier Hawk (Gymnogene), Tawny Eagle, juvenile Bataleur, Long Toed Plover, Shelley's Francolin.
That was it for the morning drive.

In the afternoon I drove myself out the road towards Zimbabwe to search for a Long Crested Eagle which tends to feed by some road-side telegraph poles after 5pm.
The bird was not there so I went down to the river. There I found a Green Sandpiper. I was told that there was a single bird which was seen at the local sewage works. This must have been the same bird, now down by the river.
I refused to give up on the eagle and eventually I saw it flying in the distance. Then finally, towards sunset, I finally got it landed on a telegraph pole. My first ever Long Crested Eagle.
I headed to Mowana Lodge for a final look for Bat Hawk but again was unlucky.
I also hoped to see Retz's Helmet Shrike there but I spent too long looking for the Eagle and had missed the light. My last chance for both species was gone.
__________________
The only thing I know is that a man gets the dog that he deserves in life.
Padraig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
May 2015 trip to Menorca changed to October 2015 this year Peewit Spain including the Canary & Balearic Isles 6 Tuesday 17th March 2015 15:40
Two from Botswana Birdfossil Bird Identification Q&A 6 Monday 7th October 2013 19:04
LBJ Botswana for ID Please C Chad Bird Identification Q&A 12 Wednesday 14th August 2013 20:15
Botswana bird gerdahh Bird Identification Q&A 6 Saturday 24th September 2011 18:17
Two more from Botswana Joern Lehmhus Bird Identification Q&A 2 Wednesday 26th January 2011 20:49

{googleads}

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.25927401 seconds with 40 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 03:53.