Well the day got off to a good start when Gary and Gail saw some Clawless Otters in the creek behind our cabins. After a protracted breakfast we headed up to the main road and once again made an attempt at Rufous-bellied Tit again without any success but did find a flowering tree full of White-bellied Sunbirds, along with our first Copper and Amethyst Sunbirds. Walking back to the bus we flushed a Black-bellied Bustard and also saw a Bradfield’s Hornbill.
Drove into Mahango Game Reserve and went down to the floodplain where there were lots of whistling-ducks and Spur-winged Geese. After several stops and scrambling out of the minibus to set up scopes we eventually located a group of 5 Wattled Cranes feeding quietly across a deep channel.
What a sight they made and we spent quite some time watching them through the scopes and taking photos.
The large trees around us were home to a Pearl-spotted Owlet that was being mobbed by a Black Scimitarbill, a pair of Chinspot Batis, Icterine Warbler, some Yellow-throated Petronias and a Black-headed Oriole. Other birds seen included Common Ostrich, Yellow-billed Stork, African Spoonbill, Western Osprey, several Bateleurs, Black-breasted Snake-Eagle, Booted Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Bennett’s Woodpecker, Southern Black Tit and Banded Martin.
At lunchtime Gail and I were lucky enough to see an African Finfoot in the creek below our cabins, whilst an African Goshawk flew past the restaurant. Unfortunately we couldn’t locate the finfoot despite staking out the area during the course of our remaining time here.
In the afternoon we returned to Mahango Game Reserve and drove straight to the flood plain and Charly pulled the ‘rabbit out of the hat’ with a Rufous-bellied Heron that showed very well. At last! Further scanning in the same area produced a lot of good birds: 2 Goliath Herons, several Long-toed Lapwings, Intermediate Egret, another African Skimmer skimming – much to Dave W’s delight, a flotilla of Hippos semi-submerged in the lagoon, a huge Nile Crocodile, a Monitor Lizard, our closest African Openbill, Hamerkop, Sacred Ibis, lots of Collared Pratincoles, Brown Snake Eagle, and a few Jameson’s Firefinches spotted by Roberta….
|An African Skimmer Skimming....|
A superb Verreaux’s Eagle Owl was spotted by Garry as we drove out of the park and allowed some good photo opps.
|Verreaux's Eagle Owl|