Friday, 2 May 2014

Halali - Etosha

A quick check around the gardens produced very little so we went for breakfast and then after loading the luggage into the trailer set out on safari in a specially converted safari truck. At one stage we screeched to a halt when a male Lion was spotted quite close to the road, but he was just chilling in the shade and didn’t look like he was going to move for quite some time! A pair of Secretarybirds also were quite close and provided stunning views, and we finally caught up with Rufous-naped Lark as well. At lunchtime we headed to Mokuti Lodge, situated just outside the entrance gate and enjoyed yet more excellent food and a little siesta.

Another Black Rhino today....

These Beisa Oryx are so beautiful...

Great views of Secretarybird again today

After lunch and our first Banded Mongoose sighting we returned to Etosha, seeing a pair of Crested Francolins running down the road towards us, and drove to an area where there was water either side of the road - and the lake to our right was full of birds. Both flamingos were present in great numbers, and we also picked up South African Shelduck which was new for the trip. In fact there was quite a lot of waterfowl with Red-billed and Cape Teals also present, whilst Black-necked Grebes were bobbing around on the water. 

Blue Cranes - probably the most wanted bird at Etosha.

However, just then our attention was drawn to two distant shapes that appeared to be cranes, so we drove around and eventually found a pair of stunning Blue Cranes and settled down to watch them for a while. Whilst here we also picked up a few Kittlitz’s Plovers as well. Returning to the lake we drove around the side and found a few new trip birds: another South African Shelduck, Glossy Ibis, Black-tailed Godwit and Grey-headed Gull. But it was also just fun to see so many birds with flocks of shorebirds scattered along the water’s edge, Great White Pelicans on a sandbar, African Spoonbills were feeding actively, and 3 Lions were sleeping beside the water as well. 

Loved watching the Giraffes coming to drink at the waterhole

These Warthogs are for you Laurie..!

Then we drove to another waterhole where several Temminck’s Coursers were spotted in the grassland nearby, a few Red-capped Larks were feeding amongst the rocks, Emerald-spotted Wood-doves were coming down to drink and a fine male Eastern Paradise-Whydah flew in a few times.

Lilac-breasted Roller is very common here

Another sighting of Northern Black Korhaan
Southern Red-billed Hornbill - see the pale eye....?

Other birds seen today included Ostrich, Northern Black KorhaanCardinal Woodpecker, Damara Red-billed Hornbills, many Lilac-breasted Rollers, Crimson-breasted Shrike, and a Grey-headed Kingfisher beside the entrance to the park.

This Kori Bustard was so close to us...

Red-billed Spurfowl is rather common...

A dark sky threatens rain behind the Giraffes......

Red Hartebeast

Other mammal highlights included very close Giraffes, our first Steenbok for everyone, much better Rhino views, and we also spent some time admiring the herds of Springbok, Impala and Zebra as well.

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