• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Southern African Forum (1 Viewer)

Dave Kennedy

Well-known member
Victoria Falls, Xigera and Savuti

Right, then, here's a couple of Delta specials from Xigera. The first, the iconic Pel's Fishing Owl, was a complete charmer. This amazingly laid-back owl used to hang about right next to the jetty at Xigera Lodge, unfussed by the comings and goings of assorted tourists. Sadly, most of the tourists, thanks to endless TV shows featuring the words Death, Killer, Predator etc in their titles, were unaware of, and frankly uninterested in, the significance of this Delta special, seeking only the fanged, tusked and hairy. So sad....they miss so much of what is going on on the bush.

Bird number two is actually two birds, the first two pics being one sighting, and the third pic, where the bird has its back to the camera, another. What made these sightings special was the fact that I've been trying to see Western Banded Snake-eagles for years, and now two come along at once. But they were very welcome. Apologies for the picture quality - they were at the very limit of our telephoto capabilities from a bobbing boat.
Best wishes,
Dave
 

Attachments

  • 1 Pels-2.jpg
    1 Pels-2.jpg
    120.1 KB · Views: 59
  • 2 Pels-1.jpg
    2 Pels-1.jpg
    261 KB · Views: 49
  • 3 WBS-Eagle-1.jpg
    3 WBS-Eagle-1.jpg
    46 KB · Views: 49
  • 4 WBS-Eagle-2.jpg
    4 WBS-Eagle-2.jpg
    55.2 KB · Views: 44
  • 5 WBS-Eagle-3.jpg
    5 WBS-Eagle-3.jpg
    56.8 KB · Views: 46

Sal

Well-known member
Lovely Pels. I've only ever see one once over the far side of the Olifants river and I would so love to get a good close-up look; how lucky you were. The Western banded Snake-Eagle I've never seen. Its amazing that people coming to the delta would not be more responsive to the specials in the area; bird or not, the Pels Fishing Owl is pretty well-known as a must-see. And how could one not take an interest in such a charming specimen!
 

Dryocopus

Was Eagle before...still am in life!
Hey Corinna, good to hear from you. Finland and Norway sounds awesome. Have you written it up anywhere? Would love to take a look. yes, back, but still a bit chaotic as my sister arrived from England for a quick visit the second day after I got back. Will try and put something together next week.


hI Sal had some hassles with the size of my pics - so couldn't use my blog much - I have posted quite a lot of the photos and pics on my facebook site - do you use facebook?

I now have some software to reduce the size of my pics and the photos ! Once these are sorted I'll post onto my blog again!

Had a brilliant time. Will let you know more once the pics are sorted!:t:
 

Sal

Well-known member
hI Sal had some hassles with the size of my pics - so couldn't use my blog much - I have posted quite a lot of the photos and pics on my facebook site - do you use facebook?

I now have some software to reduce the size of my pics and the photos ! Once these are sorted I'll post onto my blog again!

Had a brilliant time. Will let you know more once the pics are sorted!:t:

Great. Look forward to it. I do use Facebook, yes.
 

Sal

Well-known member
But some of us who lurks around do not (at least yet) use it

Niels

LOL Neils. I only use it to keep in touch with niece and nephew who emigrated to the UK. Have no real idea what I'm doing there! We shall just have to wait for her blog . . . .
 

Dave Kennedy

Well-known member
Victoria Falls, Xigera and Savuti

Here’s a fascinating example from Savuti of interaction between vastly different species. The young elephant (first two pictures) had decided that we needed a telling-off, so he went into a dominance display which included sucking up trunkfuls of water and spraying them all over the bank. A Burchell’s Starling (third picture) flew in, and started picking up small objects from the wet ground. The elephant had been sucking up, amongst other things, tiny frogs from the water, which the starling was grabbing with alacrity. This raises the slightly tongue-in-cheek question of what percentage of elephant food intake is made up of unfortunate frogs. Thinking about it, there must be thousands of frogs and other small creatures which get sucked up by drinking elephants. Scope for a thesis, anyone?
Best wishes,
Dave
 

Attachments

  • ellie-1.jpg
    ellie-1.jpg
    188.5 KB · Views: 40
  • Ellie-2.jpg
    Ellie-2.jpg
    195.1 KB · Views: 47
  • Ellie-3.jpg
    Ellie-3.jpg
    223.2 KB · Views: 45

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Here’s a fascinating example from Savuti of interaction between vastly different species. The young elephant (first two pictures) had decided that we needed a telling-off, so he went into a dominance display which included sucking up trunkfuls of water and spraying them all over the bank. A Burchell’s Starling (third picture) flew in, and started picking up small objects from the wet ground. The elephant had been sucking up, amongst other things, tiny frogs from the water, which the starling was grabbing with alacrity. This raises the slightly tongue-in-cheek question of what percentage of elephant food intake is made up of unfortunate frogs. Thinking about it, there must be thousands of frogs and other small creatures which get sucked up by drinking elephants. Scope for a thesis, anyone?
Best wishes,
Dave

Might be an important source of some vitamins or specific amino acids that are sparse in typical elephant food ...

Niels
 

Sal

Well-known member
Here’s a fascinating example from Savuti of interaction between vastly different species. The young elephant (first two pictures) had decided that we needed a telling-off, so he went into a dominance display which included sucking up trunkfuls of water and spraying them all over the bank. A Burchell’s Starling (third picture) flew in, and started picking up small objects from the wet ground. The elephant had been sucking up, amongst other things, tiny frogs from the water, which the starling was grabbing with alacrity. This raises the slightly tongue-in-cheek question of what percentage of elephant food intake is made up of unfortunate frogs. Thinking about it, there must be thousands of frogs and other small creatures which get sucked up by drinking elephants. Scope for a thesis, anyone?
Best wishes,
Dave

Hmmmnnn, gives new meaning to the phrase "By dose is blocked" doesn't it? When we go to Kruger we get thatch nose from sleeping under the thatch. Wonder if elephants get hatch nose as all those little tadpoles hatch . . . . And those poor frogs, their lives truncated by a single swig! Seriously it has never occurred to me before that other life forms are drawn up with their water! Quite a fascinating thought. Maybe this refutes the suggestion that frogs are dying out because there is more pollution. They are not, after all, an indicator species for pollution, they are an indicator species for an increase in the number of elephants. Who knew? Thanks Dave!
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Maybe this refutes the suggestion that frogs are dying out because there is more pollution. They are not, after all, an indicator species for pollution, they are an indicator species for an increase in the number of elephants. Who knew? Thanks Dave!

I am not sure you can conclude that? Then the same should be the case for all small species of fish living in the same ponds, because they would also be sucked up by the elephants when drinking.

Niels
 

Sal

Well-known member
I am not sure you can conclude that? Then the same should be the case for all small species of fish living in the same ponds, because they would also be sucked up by the elephants when drinking.

Niels

Erm - this was all a bit tongue-in-cheek Niels, my bad sense of humour, sorry!
 

Dave Kennedy

Well-known member
Victoria Falls, Xigera and Savuti

Here, from Savuti, are five birds, the last four of which are specials for northern Botswana.
The first is a Hooded Vulture, typified by the fineness of bill which puts it at the bottom of the vulturine pecking order. You need big tough birds like Lappet-faced Vultures to open carcasses, and they are followed on a carcass by the group which includes White-backed, Cape, and White-headed vultures. Only after they and their mammalian equivalents have had their fill can the Hooded Vulture step in to use his delicate bill to tweak out any bits of meat left in hard-to-reach places. The poor Hooded Vulture may have to compete with jackals for the remnants of a carcass, so being a Hooded Vulture is no bed of roses. For what it's worth, we only saw three Hooded Vultures and one White-backed Vulture on the entire trip. Any comments?

Bird number 2, the Lesser Jacana, is relatively rare, and you have to work quite hard to find one. This one, on the Savuti River, is the only one we saw during this trip.

Number 3 is the African Pygmy Goose, which so they say, is really a duck. I wouldn't know where ducks stop and geese begin, because I believe that Egyptian Geese are also ducks. I have a love-hate relationship with these tiny guys, because they are inordinately shy and damned hard to spot among Nymphaea water lilies, the underwater seed-pods of which provide much of their food. Consequently, all I usually see of them is the white wing-bars on the backs of their wings as they leap into the air and fly away at great speed. This little group, unusually, did the exact opposite, flying in and landing in the Savuti River right in front of my daughters' tent.

Bird number 4 is Botswana's iconic francolin, the Red-billed Francolin. This one was enjoying an afternoon dustbath at the lodge.

Finally Number 5, is an obliging, if slightly out-of-focus, Barred Owlet. This is only the third we've found in 19 years of visiting northern Botswana, so we were delighted to find this one.

Best wishes,
Dave
 

Attachments

  • 6 Hooded-Vulture.jpg
    6 Hooded-Vulture.jpg
    78.1 KB · Views: 41
  • 7 Lesser-Jacana.jpg
    7 Lesser-Jacana.jpg
    212.7 KB · Views: 49
  • 8 Pygmy-Geese.jpg
    8 Pygmy-Geese.jpg
    128.1 KB · Views: 48
  • 9 Red-billed-Francolin-dust-bathing.jpg
    9 Red-billed-Francolin-dust-bathing.jpg
    301.1 KB · Views: 46
  • 10 Barred-Owlet.jpg
    10 Barred-Owlet.jpg
    136 KB · Views: 47
Last edited:

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Thanks for sharing Dave!

The Lesser Jacana: we have only three images in the gallery, all looking a bit different from your photo.
African Pygmy Goose: three images.
Red-billed Francolin: six images.
Barred Owlet: eight images.

at least the first couple would be very welcome additions to the gallery, and the last ones as well I believe.

Niels
 

Dave Kennedy

Well-known member
Thanks for sharing Dave!

The Lesser Jacana: we have only three images in the gallery, all looking a bit different from your photo.


Niels

Hi, Niels,
We thought at the time that this may have been a sub-adult. This was in April, so that would fit in well with the spring-summer breeding paterns of most birds. We had difficulty in finding illustrations of juvenile Lesser Jacanas, but the white belly and and grey bill are characteristic of the species.
Dave
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Hi, Niels,
We thought at the time that this may have been a sub-adult. This was in April, so that would fit in well with the spring-summer breeding paterns of most birds. We had difficulty in finding illustrations of juvenile Lesser Jacanas, but the white belly and and grey bill are characteristic of the species.
Dave

Thanks Dave,
I should have added that all three images in the gallery looks like they are of the same bird. Whatever that has for age, yours probably is different, and as I said, yours would be a very welcome addition to the gallery. It is a lot easier to find a single image in there than in a thread like this.

Niels
 

Dave Kennedy

Well-known member
Victoria Falls, Xigera and Savuti

Some birds from Xigera, including a couple of Delta specials........

The first photo shows a female Bennett's Woodpecker. I don't know if they are particularly frequent in the Delta, but we've seen a fair number there.

We thought that the second photo was just another Malachite Kingfisher, until we looked more closely. The bird has captured a Long Reed Frog Hyperolius nasutus, which suggests that this bird may be the similar, but much rarer, Malachite Kingfrogger. Perhaps some wise person out there can comment on this.

In third place comes a beautiful Slaty Egret, a true Delta special. As is sometimes the way of it, this was the very first bird we saw on landing at Xigera airstrip, having flown in to the Delta from Kasane, up on the Chobe River.

The fourth picture shows a pair of calling Swamp Boubous. The simultaneous male-female duet of Kitiki - krrrr Whooooooo epitomises the Delta, to which these birds are virtually restricted. There is nothing I like better than listening to that evocative call while enjoying a well-earned afternoon kip in the Delta.

Lastly there are White-backed Ducks in a waterlily-choked Delta lagoon. The white splodge at the base of the bill is an excellent field mark. The low-in-the-water swimming position and hump-backed appearance are also useful guides to identification.

Best wishes,
Dave
 

Attachments

  • Bennett's-Woodpecker.jpg
    Bennett's-Woodpecker.jpg
    284.1 KB · Views: 35
  • Malachite-Kingifisher.jpg
    Malachite-Kingifisher.jpg
    234.8 KB · Views: 46
  • Slaty-Egret.jpg
    Slaty-Egret.jpg
    287.9 KB · Views: 38
  • Swamp-Boubou.jpg
    Swamp-Boubou.jpg
    235.9 KB · Views: 38
  • White-backed-Duck.jpg
    White-backed-Duck.jpg
    284.7 KB · Views: 42

Sal

Well-known member
Have just been catching up Dave. You certainly had a wonderful trip and its great to see pics of birds that I've never actually seen . . . . Thanks for posting and thanks too for the useful info that goes along with the pics.
 

Dave Kennedy

Well-known member
Victoria Falls, Xigera and Savuti

SEX in SAVUTI!

Sometimes you just get lucky. One morning we had crossed to the southern shores of the Savuti River, where there was quite a well-developed wetland. The male half of a pair of Wattled Cranes, one of Southern Africa's most endangered species, was performing a courtship dance. He postured to show himself off to best advantage, and went into a routine which was repeated several times as we watched. He would pick up in his bill a great pile of dead vegetation, shake it, toss it in the air and attempt to catch it - not always successfully. This took place during a series of bounding leaps when he would spread his wings and sometimes - quite forcefully - kick his legs forward and up. We watched for a good twenty minutes, during which time she paid him apparently no attention whatsoever, a common failing, it would seem, among female birds in general. Neither we nor our guide had ever seen this before. I can only hope that with perseverance he prevailed, for the species needs as many young ones as it can get. The first three photographs show something of his efforts.

The 4th photograph shows a handsome Red-capped Lark, foraging across the short grass of Chobe Airstrip just south of Linyanti. Several of these, along with some Chestnut-backed Sparrow-larks, were taking advantage of this artificially-created habitat in the middle of mopane-terminalia woodland.

The Black Crake in Photo 5 was foraging in the waterside vegetation close to Savuti lodge. Common both there and in the Delta, they are more often heard than seen. All one usually sees is a quick flash of black as it scurries from one clump of reeds to the next.

Best wishes,
Dave
 

Attachments

  • 1 Wattled-Cranes.jpg
    1 Wattled-Cranes.jpg
    209 KB · Views: 41
  • 2 Wattled-Crane-display-2.jpg
    2 Wattled-Crane-display-2.jpg
    195 KB · Views: 52
  • 3 Wattled-crane-display-1.jpg
    3 Wattled-crane-display-1.jpg
    234.3 KB · Views: 42
  • 11 Red-capped-Lark.jpg
    11 Red-capped-Lark.jpg
    219 KB · Views: 42
  • Black-Crake.jpg
    Black-Crake.jpg
    175 KB · Views: 46

Sal

Well-known member
Amazing shots of the Wattled Crane display Dave. Great serendipity - you and the posturing Crane in the same place at the same time - what are the odds? Lovely pic of the Red-capped lark.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
Warning! This thread is more than 5 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top