Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Etosha Day 3

Another morning’s game drive into Etosha began with a Yellow-bellied Bulbul and a brief Southern Black Tit, and most of the group saw the resident speciality of Black-faced Babbler in the lodge gardens as well. Inside the park a Steppe Buzzard was perched nearby before we reached the first waterhole. This produced a fascinating encounter between 3 Lions feeding on a carcass, who were surrounded by 5 Spotted Hyenas and a bunch of Black-backed Jackals

Lions, Spotted Hyenas and Black-backed Jackal

The Jackals kept rushing in to steal some bones and meat whilst the hyenas just circled nearby and then one chased down a jackal and stole a leg of flesh from it! This went on for quite some time and whilst waiting we also saw Black-throated and Yellow Canary.

Green-winged Pytilia

Moving on, we visited another waterhole with some Golden-breasted Buntings drinking, and the next waterhole had lots of bids feeding in the bushes next to us. Pride of place were quite a lot of Violet-eared Waxbills, with several stunning males present. There was also an obliging Green-winged Pytilia and a few Scaly-feathered Finches. At Namutoni Fort, Charly located a stunning Red-necked Falcon perched in a Palm tree, and we also saw Long-billed Crombec, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Red-chested Swallow and at least two Icterine Warblers.

Violet-eared Waxbill

I think the 3 hours rest we had back at the lodge was very much appreciated by everyone before setting out on safari and headed 42kms north of Namutoni Fort to an area where some Blue Cranes had been seen yesterday. It was a long straight road to the area but along the way we called into a waterhole where a family of African Elephants were drinking. We didn’t stop long and continued along a never-ending road until dropping down to a huge, wide-open grassy plain. At the far end was another waterhole and here we found the treasure at the end of the rainbow in the form of 21 beautiful Blue Cranes

Blue Cranes

What a great, elegant bird this is and we lapped up the views through bins and scopes, whilst photos were being taken by the dozens. The pool was also home to lots of Little Stints and Kittlitz’s Plovers, plus a single Common Ringed Plover and Banded Martin. After a few unsuccessful attempts at finding any new larks we headed back, finding a pair of Burchell’s Sandgrouse along the way and a Fawn-coloured Lark.

Burchell's Sandgrouse