Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Waterberg to Windhoek - The Finale.

We were up at daybreak and walking along a narrow trail below the escarpment until we reached an open area where the rocky hillside was visible above us. Within a couple of minutes everyone had their bins on a pair of Rockrunners creeping around the boulders and we were able to watch up to 3 different birds at leisure. 

One of the star birds of the tour - Rockrunner

This was one of the key targets of the entire trip and everyone really enjoyed nice views through the scope when one bird sat on a large boulder above us and sang back at the ipod. A Short-toed Rock-Thrush was also scoped, Scarlet-chested and White-bellied Sunbirds appeared, and a fine pair of Hartlaub’s Francolins gave much closer views than our previous sighting.

Hartlaub's Francolin

With our targets found quite quickly we decided to pack up and load the luggage into the trailer before going to breakfast, however our plans were somewhat disrupted when Charly heard and then called in a couple of Violet Wood-Hoopoes that Frank & Laurie had great views of. We then spent quite a while trying to relocate them but they never came in again despite calling back at us from the far side of some particularly dense thorn-brush. 

Golden-tailed Woodpecker

We searched the campsite for them but to no avail, although a Golden-tailed Woodpecker was really great, more Ruppell’s Parrots were seen, and we also had a pair of Verreaux’s Eagles flying over as well. As we left the area a Bateleur flew over, a Kalahari Scrub-robin popped up on a bush beside the minibus, and we found our only Lesser Striped Swallow of the tour as well.

Kalahari Scrub-robin

Ruppell's Parrot

Following another 4 hour drive we reached our hotel in Windhoek, literally dumping our bags into our rooms and then headed out on our final birding session of the trip at the nearby sewage works. It was very surprising to see such great habitat here with grass and reed fringed pools and plenty of tall trees, with many White-breasted Cormorants nesting. There were lots of birds here and it was great to pick up Hottentot Teal, African Darter, Reed Cormorant, Little Bittern, Green-backed Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Pin-tailed Whydah, and best of all some White-throated Swallows – all new birds for the trip.

There was also South African Shelduck, African Purple Gallinule, White-backed Mousebird, African Reed Warbler, and lots of Southern Red Bishops.

And that was it. We returned to Windhoek for our final dinner before having a short night’s sleep and then driving to the local airport where we flew back to the UK having seen 266 birds and 34 mammals.

This had been a wonderful tour, staying in very comfortable accommodation, amazing food, great scenery and fantastic wildlife. We had such an enjoyable time with a great, fun group. And many thanks to Charly for being such an exceptionally knowledgeable guide, being so passionate about his country and having an uncanny ability for being in the right place at the right time to get us so many close views of Namibia’s plentiful wildlife.

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