Friday, 26 December 2014

Bishangari Lodge

A very enjoyable day was spent birding the forested trails of Bishangari Eco-Lodge. I was lucky to get a view of a singing Red-capped Robin-Chat as I left my bungalow in the grounds to meet the rest of the group for our dawn meet-up. Once we had all assembled, and right on time the first of several Yellow-fronted Parrots flew into the trees at the edge of the lake and looked superb in the scope. Out on the lake our first Gull-billed Tern was nice, but a flyby from what looked like a Baltic Gull was pretty good too.

Following a decent breakfast with the best porridge so far we walked the trails and our route this morning gave us Tambourine Dove, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, excellent views of Abyssinian Ground-Thrush, Double-toothed and Banded Barbets, Green-backed Honeybird, and a couple of African Olive Pigeons as well. 

Silvery-cheeked Hornbill

We had a particularly fine close view of a Silvery-cheeked Hornbill at its nesting hole, with Hadada Ibis perched high up in the trees as well. We walked out across a field, where Northern Carmine Bee-eaters were perched on several prominent posts, to reach the larger forest which was rather quiet. 

Northern Carmine Bee-eater glowing in the sunshine

That was until a roving canopy flock appeared in a huge tree right in front of us and we saw a female Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Mountain Thrush, more barbets, and a couple of Narina Trogons. Cool!

Narina Trogon

So we finished by 11.30am and walked back to the open restaurant and had a nice lunch, before settling into the comfy chairs and watching the surrounding acacias and bird baths. A couple of Lemon Doves gave point-blank views and were much too close to photograph. Then a flock of Red-cheeked Cordon-bleus and Red-billed Firefinches appeared, and that seemed to prompt more birds into the area. A pair of Black-headed Batis were next, followed by a gang of White-rumped Babblers, Little Weaver, Common Redstart, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, a couple of Red-faced Crombecs, then a blaze of black and white in a longish tail flew right past us and landed nearby. This proved to be a stunning Scaly-throated Honeyguide which promptly flew down onto a bare bush right above one of the bird baths and lingered just long enough for me to fire off a couple of shots. Stunning! 

Scaly-throated Honeyguide

Right after this bird had flown off, a superb Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike appeared in the acacia right next to us as well. And all of this had taken place whilst we sipped excellent coffee from our comfy chairs at the edge of the dining area. Decadent or what! During lunchtime some of the group also saw a Scaly Francolin as well. I must make note of the numerous Olive Baboons present here, some of the males being particularly large and impressive specimens….

Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike

We had to drag ourselves away to walk the trails again, but our afternoon session was a little quieter so we watched the Northern Carmine Bee-eaters again, found a Rattling Cisticola, had close-ups of Crested Francolin, Beautiful Sunbird, Black-winged Lovebird, flocks of Ruppell’s, Greater Blue-eared and Red-winged Starlings, and a male Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike before entering the large forest. 

Crested Francolin

We found more trogons, a flyover Ruppell’s Vulture and many of the same birds as this morning but couldn’t locate any Green Twinspots, although I’m sure I heard one calling from a boggy area. So we walked back to the lodge, getting a close flyover form a couple of Pink-backed Pelicans before we enjoyed some cool beers and watched the sunset. 

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