A small troop was seen in the wilderness area of the Ugab River valley. Most of the year there is utterly no flow in the mainstem. Access to this roadless region is only by small planes capable of landing on the desert floor, since there are no airstrips within 100 miles.
I photographed this Nile crocodile at a range of seven metres from my canoe on the Kunene River. He was ostensibly waiting to prey on primates who come to the river to drink.
This young cheetah was observed on a playtree, a (usually dead) fallen tree that is used for scent marking and scratching. Note the prime habitat of thorn scrub, that exhibits considerable open characteristics, ideal for cheetahs to hunt.
At the Avis Dam, near Windhoek, Namibia, this young Yellow-billed Stork was feeding in the shallows. It didn't mind us very much, but unfortunately there were a ton of people with dogs that came by and ended up scaring it off to the other side of the lake. You can tell that it is a young bird because its back is brown, not pure white.
A neat species, seen at the Avis Dam outside Windhoek, Namibia, on our very last afternoon in the country. This is an interesting species, they have little oil in their feathers, so the feathers totally soak when they enter the water. This allows them to swim underwater more easily because they don't have to be fighting the pull of the air that would be caught in the feathers. However, it means that after they hunt they have to stay out in the sun and hold their wings up for long periods of time, to dry.
Finally! I am at the last photo of the trip, the last bird species out of 248 species seen! There was a small flock of these pin-tailed whydahs feeding in the grass along the side of the Avis Dam reservoir. At first we were very confused, but eventually I found them in the bird book: non-breeding male Pin-tailed Whydah, Vidua macroura. They are absolutely stunning in the breeding season, but because we were there in the winter, they looked duller. Though I still think that they are quite nicely patterned.
Well, this finishes the trip, so til February I'll be posting less here (I will post particularly interesting things for the VT eBird group)...
I'll be posting here, at ipernity: www.ipernity.com/home/288937
I will keep coming back and looking at my contacts photos.
On our last day in the countries we had to drive from Ghanzi, Botswana, back to Namibia's capital, Windhoek, crossing the border about halfway along. At the border stop I quickly spotted, viewed and photographed a small flock of these cut little guys, perched on the fences. They are named for the feathers on their crowns, which are gray and black scaled.
Back in Windhoek on our last afternoon in the country, we went out to a dam near the city to bird. There were a number of cool birds there, including this Hamerkop, which was very fun to see, although a bit distant. We only saw these twice on the trip, and only once was one stationary. In front is a Little Egret, and species almost exactly like the Snowy Egret of the U.S.
On our last morning in Ngepi camp this bird was right in camp, calling and hopping around on the ground looking for food. When I came by he flew a little bit up into this tree, but not very high, so I could photograph him.
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Near where I saw the White-browed Coucal, I saw this less striking, but still cute little bird, a Luapula Cisticola. He was calling in the reeds, and here I caught him in mid-chirp.
This species is named after the Luapula River in Zambia and the DRC.
This large bird was seen foraging in an expansive desert grassland.
Right by where we were camping at Ngepi there was a little path down to the edge of the river, and along t I found this bird, again not very scared of me. It eventually did fly off, but not until after I got several good shots.
A couple of these birds were foraging around our campsite. One of them even went inside our open food container (all our food was within sealed plastic bags, though).
Along with the Golden Weavers, a flock of these babblers came by the camp in the morning and picked around where we'd been eating, finding little bits of dropped food. They didn't actually go in the food box, but they were pretty bold nonetheless.
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A pretty poor photo, the only I got of this species. Seen in Bwabwata National Park, in the Caprivi Strip of Namibia. This one was feeding right in the water, as you can see, which is typical of many of the antelope species in these parts of Namibia, where there's actually a lot of water.
A bit better of a photo this time, taken on our second trip into Bwabwata National Park. A bit closer this time, and less dusty, but he's still hiding behind all those branches.... Oh well.
In poor light, and from a ways off, but a simply amazing bird. Seen at Ngepi camp along the banks of the Okavango River. This beauty came flying in, calling loudly, and landed on the fence that was lining the caged in swimming hole at Ngepi (caged due to the adundance of hippos and crocodiles in the area.
The birds around the campsites at the Ngepi Camp were pretty people-friendly, allowing me to get very close. That was not too unusual, as there were tons of people around and they were used to us for sure. But I really didn't expect a crake, of all birds, to be this photogenic. It just came up out of the reeds and walked right through our camp!
Until we got to Ngepi Camp, we had just been seeing the common Cape Wagtails, but here they were replaced by the much crisper, brighter looking African Pieds. Two of these came by in the morning as we were making breakfast and perched in the reeds not far off.
In the afternoon, after eating lunch in Bwabwata N.P., we left the park to go to our lodging at Ngepi Camp along the Okavango River. But first, we had to stop as a large herd of elephants, including many small ones like seen here, crossed the road.
We stopped just as we were about to leave the park and I took a look around for birds. There were a few little things flitting around in the bushes, but nothing real interesting until this Brown-crowned Tchagra appeared. It was pretty furtive and skulky for a while, but after a few minutes it came out and perched briefly in the open.
Near our lunch spot in Bwabwata N.P. we saw a family of Common Warthogs out in the open field/marsh, one adult and these four little guys. They were really funny when they ran away, they would stick their tails into the air and trot off.
Behind them can be seen three Spur-winged Geese, which were absolutely everywhere over the marsh.
A record shot of the first two Wattled Cranes that we saw in Bwabwata N.P. We ended up seeing five of them there, which was cool because they are a pretty rare species, listed as Vulnerable. This photo isn't very good, but you can just barely see the two wattles that hang down on each side of the bill, and the red facial patch.
These were fairly common in Bwabwata N.P., and we saw a number of them along the drive to our lunch spot and back. We were puzzled as to what they were for a while, because there is a fair amount of variation between young and old, males and females. Some we saw were very striped, some very spotted, and others more plain brown.
Another species of mammal that was unheard of in Etosha but common when we got to Bwabwata. There were in fact no primates at all in Etosha, presumably because they all would get eaten by the lions and leopards there. But once we got out of the park we started seeing lots of baboons, and these monkeys once we got to Bwabwata. At this spot we'd come upon a small troop of these monkeys, again very close to the side of the road. This baby was suckling and nervously peeking out at us.
A very bad photo, as we had suddenly screeched to a halt and there was lots of dust in the air. We saw these on two occasions in the park, and we also saw the Roan, another similar species. But these were my favorite, their white face is really cool and the curved back and serrated horns are amazing. Not easily approachable, however, though more so than the Roan, which we saw way ahead on the road running off into the bush.
Possibly the most beautiful bird we saw in Namibia, the Lilac-breasted Roller was a common species in Bwabwata National Park, which is in the very far north of Namibia, along the Caprivi Strip.
We were watching impala out one side of the car when we noticed this stunner on the other side. He wasn't very far away from the car, so we got good photos.
Another fun bird at Bwabwata National Park, we saw several pairs of these bee-eaters along the road, quite close to the car. Bwabwata was described in the guide book as being not very good for wildlife, but we saw tons of very cool birds, and lots of mammal species too, and different ones from in Etosha.
After driving for a couple of hours through Bwabwata N.P. we got to our lunch spot, where we could get out and eat with a great view over the marshes, with lots of birds and african buffalo around. This fish-eagle was also in the area, and we heard it calling several times.
I saw one of these rather dull-colored birds feeding in the leaf litter during our final morning at Shamvura. The previous morning we had seen these on our bird walk/drive, and this species had been my landmark 1,000th bird species!
At Shamvura and Bwabwata National Park, the two northerly areas on the trip, we switched from seeing African Red-eyed Bulbuls to Dark-cappeds. The dark-capped bulbul was abundant around the Shamvura area.
Along the Kavango River, Namibia.
Mtoti, the adorable young otter taken in by the Paxtons after she was found abandoned. She was cared for by the Paxtons until September 18th, when, sadly, she succumbed to an infection. She was very cute while we were there, we saw her first steps our final morning at Shamvura.
At Shamvura Lodge, right out side of our tents. Note the metal band on its left leg, and the red band on the right. Certainly a bird that was banded by Mark.
Another photo of a Fork-tailed Drongo at Shamvura that let me get pretty close to it.
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A pretty species that we saw a few times during our stay at Shamvura. This one was in the shade, so it looks mostly black, but in the sunlight they are a gorgeous metallic purple.
Out field guide said that these were only summer visitors to Namibia, but we still saw them here.
When we got back from our birding trip, there was a flock of five or six of these that came right through camp, searching for food in the sand. They were very fun to see.
A pair of these brilliant bird flew into the mist nets on our second day at Shamvura. They were another very common species around Shamvura, but it was still cool to get them in the net and see them up close.
The star of the birds we caught at Shamvura was this female Cardinal Woodpecker, only the second one Mark has even gotten in his nets there.
Front view of the bird.
The star of the birds we caught at Shamvura was this female Cardinal Woodpecker, only the second one Mark has even gotten in his nets there.
This photo shows the neat barred back pattern and a hint of the bright yellow rump patch that these birds have.
On our second day at Shamvura Lodge, we spent much of the morning going on a birding drive around the general area around Shamvura. We stopped at one place hoping to see a cool looking blue starling, but they weren't there. I did manage to get photos of some wattled starlings that were hanging around, though.In the south african summer, these birds would have striking black and yellow face patterns, but in the winter they don't. Unfortunately the only photo I got on the bird drive that's worth posting.
Our target species for the drive out over the salt lagoon, these guys proved elusive until the very end, right as we were about to turn around, when a pair of them appeared on the side of the road just in the water, very close. This shot is hardly cropped at all, just a tiny bit on the bottom to get rid of a bit of the window that was in the way.
Driving around the salty lagoon at Walvis Bay, we saw large numbers of these cute little plovers feeding on the mud flats close to the water. They were really very cute, because they would run as a pair, keeping in step with each other.
Before our trip we had heard something about a plant that was poisonous to touch. Around Uis we saw hundreds and hundreds of these Euphorbia bushes, all over the area. But it wasn't until our host told us that we knew this was the poison tree. The sap inside the branches causes blisters if it touches your skin. And scarier, when we got back to Uis our host showed us a long line of graves. These were the graves of a group of people who had fallen asleep at the side of a fire made of the branches of this tree. In the morning they were all dead around the fireplace.
We saw a few of these Water Thick-knee or dikkop on our boat trip on the Kavango. They have unusually large eyes because they are mostly nocturnal, though these were out feeding on the edge of the water during the daytime.
These were very common along the Kavango River, and they were a bird I was looking forward to seeing. They usually were pretty afraid of us on the boat, but this one I managed to capture pretty well.
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Seen on the boat trip along the Kavango River. These were right on the waters edge when we spotted them, but unfortunately moved a bit farther in as we approached. Also, the camera automatically focused on some little twig in front of them, so they're slightly off. But still, a very fun find and deserved posting.
One of the most common birds right around Shamvura Camp, we caught a couple of these in the nets the first day. Here one is about to be released.
When we were cooking at our place in Uis, this bat was perched on the cieling above us. He flew off and started zipping around the open cooking area grabbing moths.
Any identification help would be appreciated.