Namibia, Botswana & Zambia Aug 12—29, 2017
Posted by Geoff Lockwood
Our flight to Huab was somewhat delayed by heavy mist along the coast, and it was already lunchtime by the time we reached the lodge. In contrast to the desperate drought last year, Huab had experienced excellent rains – and the seedeaters were back in their usual numbers. We soon had recorded most of the usual species, along with Damara and Monteiro’s hornbills, Rüppell’s Parrots, White-tailed Shrikes, Bare-cheeked Babblers, Short-toed Rock-Thrushes, and Carp’s Tits. Raptors were represented by flight views of Verreaux’s Eagle and African Hawk-Eagle, while we also recorded our first Pearl-spotted Owlets and African Scops-Owls. Highlights were stunning full-frame scope views of a trio of two male and a female Hartlaub’s Francolins duetting raucously from a large boulder, followed shortly thereafter by great views of a Damara Rockrunner warbling away from a striking Star Chestnut tree.
The drive through to the Etosha National Park brought a number of great raptor sightings: a brief flight view of an Augur Buzzard and perched views of a spectacular Martial Eagle – unusually with pure white, un-blotched underparts, followed by a perched Black-chested Snake-Eagle. On the other end of the size spectrum, we also had our first Pygmy Falcons! Other species included Mariqua and Chat flycatchers, our first Crimson-breasted Gonoleks, Kalahari Scrub-Robin, and Scaly Weavers.
Our two-night stay in the Okaukeujo Camp in Etosha gave us extended access to the dry western part of this stunning national park. A walk around camp on our first evening had us studying the amazing colonial nests of the Sociable Weavers when a pair of Pygmy Falcons flew in and perched only yards from the group – giving us the best views ever of these tiny raptors. First the male, and then his mate flew up and into one of the nest chambers, and we headed to dinner.
Read Geoff’s full report in his Field List.