Thursday, 5 November 2015

Off to Botswana.....

A whole bunch of new birds were on the cards this morning and the first goodie was a pair of Meyer’s Parrots feeding on the lawn beside the restaurant. Wow! Once everyone had arrived and seen the parrots, a Black Crake walked across the lawn as well and joined a fine looking African Hoopoe feeding right in front of us. 

Coppery-tailed Coucal

Then we spent some time overlooking the Okavango River and watched Village and Southern Brown-throated Weavers in the reedbed, Little Bee-eater, a Collared Pratincole flying by, a newly arrived Willow Warbler and House Martin,  and a flock of African Yellow White-Eyes

Collared Pratincole

We walked around the corner and scoped a Kurrichane Thrush on its nest, then a Tawny-flanked Prinia appeared before we enjoyed further views of both Hartlaub’s and Arrow-marked Babblers, Swamp Boubou and Coppery-tailed Coucal. A fine male Red-headed Weaver was building a nest beside our cabins and there was also a Red-billed Oxpecker here as well.

Arrow-marked Babbler

Hartlaub's Babbler

Leaving here after breakfast we drove east towards our lunch stop at Poppa Falls seeing Brown Snake Eagle, a group of Retz’s Helmet-Shrikes, Black Kite and an adult Bateleur

Bateleur - fantastic as always

Retz's Helmetshrike

There followed the infamous iPhone incident when our vehicle drove back to our last stop to search for a missing phone, and a few of us jumped out and took the opportunity to check some roadside woodland. A good move as there were 3 Green-capped Eremomelas and a Green-backed Honeybird here (not Brown-backd Honeybird as I originally thought). When the minibus returned we found our first Violet-backed Starlings and another Kurrichane Thrush.

I'm thinking this is Green-backed Honeybird.....

Green-capped Eremomela

Lunch at Poppa Falls Lodge produced some chocolate milkshakes, as well as African Pied Wagtails and Giant Kingfisher. From here we had to drive across Mahango National Park to enter into Botswana and along the way saw a fine selection of animals including Roan, Sable, Tsessebe, African Elephant and Burchell’s Zebra, with the avian highlight being some Southern Carmine Bee-eaters perched beside the road. The formalities at the Botswana border were quite quick and we were on our way to Lawdon’s Lodge, arriving at 5pm with a chance to relax for a couple of hours before dinner. Most of us met up on the lawn overlooking the Okavango River and were confronted by a wild fire that had tore through the reedbed across the river with some flames still visible a couple of kilometres away. But birds were everywhere and we had a fine time watching African Openbill and Slaty Egret flying downriver, as well as White-fronted Bee-eaters, White-browed Coucal, Terrestrial Brownbul, and a Tinkling Cisticola.

White-fronted Bee-eaters

After dinner we spotlighted a fine African Barred Owlet to round off another great day.

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