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Day 5 (Monday, 22nd February)

     Mole


Zaina Lodge pool Mole Mole

It was probably a foregoneconclusion that Kalu would be chasing after some of the birds we missed so far, and we were right, but also with a successful outcome this time. The morning started well, with a couple of Elephants just outside of the hotel gate. We headed back to the tracks we had covered the previous evening, and stopped just after the Zaina Lodge pool. A short walk found yet another dry watercourse, save for a small area of wet mud. Even this was a haven for a small party of finches, mainly consisting of Orange-cheeked Waxbills and Firefinches (both Red-billed & Black-faced). The only unusual bird we found here was an African Moustached Warbler. The morning continued with the van regularly stopping and us walking a short distance, either along the track, or into the bush. Kalu constantly played a recording of Scops Owl, with the theory that many small birds may seek it out for a good old mobbing. Perhaps it wasnít too much of a surprise when we spotted a real live African Scops Owl instead, perchance being mobbed by some of the birds we were looking for. We had hoped for Brown-rumped Bunting here, and were initially a little disappointed when one was heard singing, and almost pinned down before it flew off Ė brief flight views not good enough Iím afraid. However, a bit of perseverance found a second and then a third bird, each showing better than the last. While hunting them down, we also had brief views of the first of three separate White-fronted Black Chats (oddly without the white front!), and the much greater prize of a Spotted Creeper. Moving on, the van pulled up sharply for a Flappet Lark which had been perched briefly as we approached. Since this was a bird I hadnít seen, I would have appreciated more than the brief flight views which gave away nothing. We did try to relocate it, and followed the small wood through to a clearing. Scanning then found the third White-fronted Black Chat, and nearby Ė a couple of Forbesís Plovers! An even more pleasing bird than the one we had stopped for! Thank you Flappet Lark, Iíll catch up properly another day! The last short walk turned up another African Moustached Warbler, behaving just as shyly as its predecessors, and a Winding Cisticola in breeding plumage, which was quite a contrast to the previous non breeding bird seen, warranting a consultation of the field guide. On the way back, 6 Elephants were putting on a bit of a mini show bathing fully in the Zaina Lodge pool, with a pair of Grey-headed Kingfishers as spectators.

Brown-rumped Bunting Sparrow Weaver Cordon Bleu
Brown-rumped Bunting Chestnut-crowned Sparrow Weaver Red-cheeked Cordon Bleu
Eremomela Gonolek
Senegal Eremomela Yellow-crowned Gonolek
Lavender Waxbill Elephant Elephant
Lavender Waxbill African Elephant African Elephant

The late afternoon excursion was a slightly strange one. We had overtaken another vehicle on the track early on, but then let it pass while we were parked up. This was so that they couldnít see us divert on to a lesser known track Ė Kalu had information about the location of White-backed Heron but felt it wasnít to be broadcast. The track was a little tight, with the vegetation constantly scraping along the sides and underchassis of the van. At one point Kalu admitted to being uncomfortable, since this was a new area for him. We picked our way along until we met an open area, with the spectacular sight of lines of Kob streaming along in front of us. Our park ranger took this as a sign that they were funnelling away from a drinking source, so we followed where they had come from, to find the aforementioned site, and disturbing a few Chestnut-backed Sparrow Larks on the way. The bad news was that there was no sign of the quarry, but a couple of Black Scimitarbills later on made up. The open pool we had found still contained some water within the narrow muddy margins, and there was a sprinkling of birds around. Wood & Common Sandpipers were feeding with a trio of juvenile African Jacanas, and a single male Yellow Wagtail was located. Overhead were Bateleur, Hooded Vulture and Grasshopper Buzzard.

We departed the scene to drive to the Haraba pool, which has an overlooking hide attached. This is probably better in the wet season, since the hide itself only really looks on to dry mud. However, there was an expanse of water stretching from this in both directions, so we circled this in one direction, and had a quick look at the other. While there was some birdlife here, I would have expected more for a decent amount of water in such a dry park overall. Pick here was a Gambaga Flycatcher, Snowy-crowned Robin Chat, and Black Crake, with a trio of Kingfishers Ė Malachite, Grey-headed & Blue-breasted in order if appearance. As we were leaving a Fine-spotted Woodpecker was located, and Northern Carmine Bee-eater overhead.

The return journey wasnít without incident, since in addition to a few Long-tailed & single female Standard-winged Nightjars, we also spotted a dark snake of about a metre in length briefly on the road in the headlights. A good return for a pair of viviphiles.

Haraba Haraba
Haraba Pool Haraba Pool
Striated Heron Long-tailed Nightjar Standard-winged Nightjar
Striated Heron Long-tailed Nightjar Standard-winged Nightjar (female)

Home

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Day 6

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