TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT
5 - 22 March 2002
Mark and Jean Caulton
Once again travelling with Jean and Mark was efficient, comfortable, enjoyable and informative. The flexibility produced by staying in lodges and cooking 'within house' enabled us to make the best of the available time. I am grateful to them both for their expert leadership, companionship and logistical efficiency. I would also like to thank you all for your enthusiasm and good humour without which the trip would not have been a success. It was a pleasure to share the holiday with our transatlantic contingent, Ray and Peter.
TUESDAY 5th MARCH
Most of us flew from the UK to Windhoek, Namibia via Johannesburg, South Africa.
WEDNESDAY 6th MARCH
On our arrival at Windhoek we met up with Mark and Jean, the Beauchamps and Ray.
We arrived at Daan Viljoen Game Reserve by mid afternoon to be greeted by thundery rain.
Despite the rain we soon encountered a wide range of mammals including Blue Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest, Oryx, Kudu, Giraffe and a family of Warthog.
Once settled into our accommodation we explored the area adjacent to the dammed lake. This proved to be an ideal starting place for our forthcoming adventure, there being a good range of common southern African bird species. There were also a number of more local offerings including a Black Eagle, Black-crowned Night Herons and African Darter.
We had made a good start.
THURSDAY 7th MARCH
WEATHER 2-6/8 Cumulus, sunny, humid, light breeze.
8/8 Cu and thundery rain in the afternoon
The whole day was spent in the reserve.
We were woken by the strange calls of Giant Eagle Owl. An early morning search failed to locate the owl but brought to light such gems as a singing Rockrunner, Short-toed Rockthrush, Red-billed Francolin and African Hoopoe.
After breakfast we all ventured out on foot, spending some time making our way slowly towards the higher lake. En route we came across our first wader species, Wood Sandpiper, Three-banded Plover and Blacksmith Plover. We then found a series of songbirds including the brilliantly colourful Crimson -breasted Gonolek and Golden-breasted Bunting, and the rather less flamboyant African Barred Warbler, Groundscraper Thrush and Long-billed Pipit.
Then, as we watched a Black Cuckoo, an elegant pair of Gabar Goshawk flew overhead. As we climbed up the side of the valley we were delighted to find a pair of African Black Duck, a species confined to rushing rivers. At the lake we came across a lone Greenshank. As we returned to the lodges we discovered yet more birds including Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Titbabbler, Burnt-necked Eremomela, Cape Bunting, Violet-eared Waxbill and a pair of Black-chested Snake-Eagles. We had enjoyed a grand morning.
The late afternoon game drive was notable for sightings of Yellow Mongoose, the very local Hartmann's Mountain Zebra, Eland, Cardinal Woodpecker and both Red-billed and Monteiro's Hornbill. Probably the most exciting moment of the afternoon was our hunt for White-tailed Shrike. Initially we had fleeting glimpses of this species in very dense vegetation but eventually we found a pair showing off their startling pied plumage on a bare tree.
A home-cooked dinner followed.
FRIDAY 8th MARCH
WEATHER 7/8 Cu. thundery rain late afternoon. Warm
The pre-breakfast walk brought us into contact with a Giant Eagle Owl (briefly); White-rumped Swifts and a Squacco Heron also managed to get in on the act.
After breakfast we set off for The Namib Rest Centre, descending one thousand metres to the Namib Desert. The journey across the wide open plain which stretches west from Windhoek was littered with birds, most notably Chestnut- backed Sparrow-larks, Grey-backed Saparrow-larks, Pale Chanting-Goshawks, Brown Snake-Eagle, Shikra and a pair of Kori Bustard.
We were soon descending through the steep Gamsburg and Gaub Passes in the Naukluft Mountains, an area of rugged beauty bisected by almost dry riverbeds. It was here that we saw the only Klipspringer of the trip. The area also proved suitable bird of prey country affording us close views of Black Eagle and Augur Buzzard.
As we moved to the flatter country beyond the mountains we discovered Stark's Larks, Long-billed Larks and Karoo Chats, birds typical of open arid areas.
By 14.00 the sky darkened and a spectacular thunderstorm developed, eventually resulting in heavy rain. We were glad to have negotiated the unmade roads approaching the Rest Centre. As we arrived a pair of Lanner Falcons 'greeted ' us. The rain slackened enabling us to explore the area around the camp. Most of the local birds were familiar to us except the lovely Yellow Canary, which proved to be locally common.
SATURDAY 9th MARCH
NAMIB REST CAMP
WEATHER 4/8 Cumulus, sunny, hot
The whole day was spent in and around the Naukluft-Namib National Park.
The early morning drive through the Naukluft NP to the edge of the Namib was notable for sightings of Rüppell's Bustard, Ludwig's Bustard, Namaqua Sandgrouse and Lappet-faced Vulture.
After eating our packed breakfast at Sesriem we drove on to the four-wheel drive pickup point five Km short of the Sossuvlei. En route we stopped at one of the impressive star dunes. Some walked to the top of one while others looked for birds. The group that climbed the dune was rewarded with close encounters with beetles and reptiles. Before long we were in a 'truck' heading for the vlei. On our arrival we found that the vlei was dry, which was not surprising as it had not held more than a little water since 1997. Despite the lack of water there were things to see: lots of insects, an abundance of Striped Mice and a fine Booted Eagle.
On our return to our own vehicle we made for a dune quite close to the entrance of the park. Here we had lunch and fine views of the elusive Dune Lark. Eventually we found three individuals.
On our return to the Rest Centre we had a short walk on the Fossil Dune Trail encountering a variety of birds and two Cape Hares.
A great time was had by all!
SUNDAY 10th MARCH
NAMIB REST CENTRE
WEATHER Early- 7/8 Cu. Light shower.
Afternoon- 4/8 Cu. Cirrus. Hot. Light breeze
We made an early start on our drive to Walvis Bay.
As we drove towards the Naukluft Mountains our attention was drawn to a flock of large birds feeding two hundred metres from the road. Much to our surprise them turned out to be twenty-two Ludwig's Bustards, a species not known for large gatherings. The area held twenty-eight birds in all. This was a fortuitous stop for on the other side of the road was a group of Suricate (Meerkat). Most of the group were feeding, but as usual one was standing upright scanning the sky for any signs of danger. We were also lucky enough to see three more Rüppell's Bustard.
Once we had passed Solitaire we seemed unable to drive a km or more without seeing a bird of prey; nine species were seen, including an unexpected Tawny Eagle somewhat outside its range.
As we approached the gorge of the River Kamberge we were amazed to see that it was in spate. Later we heard that huge amounts of rain had fallen inland and that Windhoek was cut off from its airport!
The road across the Namib proved excellent for Namaqua Sandgrouse producing flocks of twenty and eighteen. We also saw about one hundred and fifty Ostrich, eighty in one feeding flock. Tractrac Chat, a very local species was also noted.
By 13.00 we had arrived by the shore in Walvis Bay; what a contrast to the arid areas in which we had spent most of the trip so far!
There were water birds everywhere. We spent most of the afternoon carefully identifying gulls, terns and waders, most of which would soon be returning to Eurasia. Local species were represented by Hartlaub's Gull, Damara Tern, White-fronted and Kittlitz's Plovers.
Later we drove to the saltflats where we saw a selection of Palearctic waders, Great and Lesser Flamingos and the first Chestnut-banded Plover of the trip.
MONDAY 11th MARCH
WEATHER 4/8 Cu. sun. light fog out to sea. Mod. visibility
An early morning walk to the nearby beach enabled us to enjoy watching wetland species again. Black Terns by the hundred and an African Black Oystercatcher were notable.
By 09.00 we were on board a launch ready for a tour of the coast. Once the formality of feeding two rather tame White Pelicans and a tame Cape Fur Seal was over we set out. Immediately Cape Cormorants and Cape Gannets appeared, as did a couple of Arctic Skuas. It was the next event though that took us by surprise: we sailed into a loose flock of over fifty Pomarine Skuas, many of which were displaying full sets of 'spoons'. The shore at Pelican Point was adorned with hundreds of Cape Fur Seals, waders, gulls, terns, pelicans and cormorants.
Recognising our enthusiasm, the Skipper, Sandy, took us a little further out to sea than was his usual practice. The boat was then suddenly surrounded by a pod of diminutive Heaviside's Dolphin which proved to be quite happy to run the bow and leap out of the water to show off their distinctive black, grey and white markings. The fur seals also paid us a visit.
As we made our way to a point six km off shore, we were surrounded by terns including two tiny Damara Terns. In contrast the next bird we saw was the large and impressive White-chinned Petrel; eventually we saw three. Then we spotted two Jackass Penguin swimming past the boat. Two European Storm-Petrel and a Cory's Shearwater completed the seabird experience but there was more excitement to come. We were fast approaching a flock of small birds on the surface of the sea. As we came closer they took off, revealing that they were phalarope. A single bird stayed behind enabling us to enjoy close views of the distinctive features of Grey Phalarope. There were twenty-six in all.
As we returned to port we passed a huge guano platform built in 1927 to encourage the roosting of thousands of Cape Cormorants.
Once past the platforms we were in for another surprise, the ritual of feeding the passengers with 'nibbles', oysters and Champagne! This was the perfect end to a really exciting boat trip.
Later in the afternoon we drove to the historic town of Swakopmund. Some of the group spent all the afternoon shopping and sightseeing while some went on a lark hunt.
The lark hunters were soon watching six delightful Gray's Lark and one or two other desert species. They then looked at the water birds on yet another set of guano platforms before joining the rest of the group in shopping and sightseeing.
Dinner was served at The Raft, a restaurant overlooking the lagoon. It was a fine meal.
TUESDAY 12th MARCH
WEATHER Early- 8/8 low cloud - fog.
Cloud cleared late morning.
Another early morning watch at the beach resulted in our seeing many species of birds with which we were growing increasingly familiar. Then we found a Terek Sandpiper, an Asiatic species which was unfamiliar to the group. It was thrilling to see a migrant so far from 'home'.
A drive around the saltpans enabled us to watch large flocks of birds including hundreds of Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper, forty Black-winged Stilt, twenty-five Marsh Sandpipers and, surprisingly, as many as seventy Chestnut-banded Plover, a very local species. During a brief stop at the somewhat fogbound shore towards Pelican Point we watched small groups of White-chinned Petrel, Cape Gannet and terns.
Our next port of call was the reed-fringed sewage settling ponds on the edge of the town. Although the town had a new water treatment plant the old ponds were still very attractive to birds. Common Waxbill and African Reed warbler were seen in the reedbeds whilst the ponds were full of wetland species. The most obvious inhabitants were Southern Pochard, Maccoa Duck, Hottentot Teal, Cape Teal and Cape Shoveler. Careful watching also revealed African Purple Gallinule, Grey Heron, Squacco Heron and two Purple Heron. Little, Black-necked and Great Crested Grebe were also present. As we left we stopped by a small detached pool where eighty or so Lesser Flamingos were filtering plankton from the murky water.
So far we had visited a sewage pond and a guano platform we only needed to visit a rubbish dump to make this the perfect trip!
WEDNESDAY 13th MARCH
WEATHER Early- 8/8 Cu. some fog.
Most of the day- 2/8 Cu. Ci. Sunny, Hot.
We made an early start so that we could reach Spitzkoppen, the dramatic granite outcrop to the north before the sun began to scorch the area.
By 08.00 we were having breakfast in the shadow of the towering rocks. The smaller birds were very active. Layard's and Common Titbabbler searched the trees for insects as did Cape Crombec and Yellow-bellied Eremomela. Black-chested Prinia and Dusky Sunbirds were also common. Again we were in for a surprise when we discovered that the wanderer, Larklike Bunting, which we had only seen briefly in the Namib, was very common, feeding in flocks at our feet. As we approached the scree slopes of the huge volcanic plug which towered above us we came across Scaly Weavers, Chat Flycatchers, Violet-backed Starlings and Ashy Tits. Our real objective though was the Herero Chat, a local species which has a reputation for being very elusive. After clambering quietly amongst the huge boulders for about half an hour we heard a male chat singing. Eventually we were able to gain close, but brief, sightings of the pair. It was very gratifying to find this delightful little bird.
After lunch we set off for the small town of Omaruru, arriving at 16.20.
Once settled we had time for a short local walk. It was very birdless until we rested in the shade overlooking a dirt road at the edge of the town. Then three birds appeared in the middle of the road: a Yellow Canary, a Fork-tailed Drongo and a very dark lark. The three birds seemed to be sparring with each other - it was very puzzling. The odd thing, though, was that the lark was the scarce migrant Dusky Lark. Who says that luck is not a major constituent of successful wildlife watching!
As we sat outside the hotel enjoying a pre- dinner drink Palm, Common and Alpine Swifts flashed by.
THURSDAY 14th MARCH
WEATHER 4/8 Cu. Great sunrise
8/8 Cu. rain by mid-day
4/8 Cu. sunny afternoon
A short pre-breakfast drive enabled us to explore the riverside forest at the edge of the town. Here our main prizes were sightings of Pearl-spotted Owlet and Bearded Woodpecker.
The drive to the Anderson Gate of the Etosha National Park took us through increasingly dense roadside forest.
Stops were made to watch Pied Babbler, Steppe Buzzards, Shaft-tailed Whydah and Eastern Paradise Whydah.
As soon as we entered the National Park we were watching mammals again. We were of course confined to the vehicle but that acted as an excellent hide. The elegant Black-faced Impala mixed with Springbok, Blue Wildebeest, Burchell's Zebra and Oryx. It was difficult to know where to look first.
We soon settled into our accommodation at Okaukeujo Camp as about one hundred Abdim's Storks soared overhead. Our lodges were adjacent to the waterhole so we were in the prime wildlife watching position. We immediately discovered a roosting Giant Eagle Owl and a Golden-tailed Woodpecker.
The late afternoon game drive resulted in our recording a good many new species of birds including a flock of Red-billed Teal in an area that before the recent rains would have been semi-desert. Despite that most of our new found birds were those to be expected in arid areas; White-quilled and Red-crested Bustards, Monotonous and Fawn-coloured Larks, Double-banded and Temminck's Coursers, Crowned Plover and Kori Bustard.
The find of the afternoon though was an African Wildcat which ran in front of the vehicle, stopped and watched us and then stalked off, closely pursued by a territory-holding male White-quilled Bustard who was not allowing any intrusion into his domain!
Though it was obvious that the well-lit waterhole would not attract mammals in the well-watered area it was worth an evening watch. Two Giant Eagle Owls made an appearance.
FRIDAY 15th MARCH
WEATHER 6-8/8 Cu. Showers, still
Thundery showers in the sfternoon
An early morning watch at the waterhole enables us to see Giant Eagle Owl and Barn Owl and hear Pearl-spotted Owlet.
The morning drive to the west proved to be very productive. We discovered a pair of roosting Spotted Eagle Owls and two pairs of Red-necked Falcons at the road edge. Then we came across a pair of Montagu's Harrier, a pleasant but unexpected reminder of home. There were more birds of prey to be seen; African Harrier-Hawk, Bateleur, Tawny Eagle, Great Kestrel, Yellow-billed Kite, Chanting Goshawk and White-backed and Lappet-faced Vultures. As if this were not enough we encountered a pair of Pygmy Falcon and a Little Sparrowhawk. The crowning moment of the morning though was the discovery of a flock of forty Red-footed Falcons.
The afternoon drive was less impressive although we did find a lone European Hobby. As a consequence of having seen the symbol of the Travelling Naturalist the drinks were on the firm!
FOOTNOTE : Free drinks will only be provided on seeing a European Hobby in NAMIBIA! (Director's footnote - make that Southern Africa!)
SATURDAY 16th MARCH
WEATHER 3/8Cu. Humid, hot. 5/8 Cu. afternoon
An early morning watch at the waterhole enabled us to see Barn Owl and Giant Eagle Owl.
The drive to Halali camp was punctuated with mammal watching but there were few surprises.
The birdwatching, however, was full of the unexpected. Before we had driven a km from Okaukeujo we spotted white birds at a tiny water hole in the bush. They turned out to be African Spoonbill, but standing next to them was a small wader, which on closer examination, turned out to be female Greater Painted Snipe, a far from common bird. As we drove on we noted Martial Eagle, Five Red-footed Falcon, a flocks of White Helmetshrike, White-crowned Shrike, Spotted Thick-knee and two stunningly elegant Blue Crane.
As soon as we arrived at Halali the staff showed us a delightful African Scops-Owl. Later they were to show us two more Scops-Owls and a White-faced Scops Owl - it pays to keep in with the locals!
The afternoon drive was again notable. Before long a pair of Swainson's Spurfowl wandered out onto the road; they were the only sightings of the trip. We also saw a European Golden Oriole, not an easy task anywhere in Africa. The climax of the afternoon though was the discovery of a flock of fifteen noisy Violet Woodhoopoe.
The brief evening session at the waterhole was very rewarding. Four Barn Owls quartered the area constantly and we were paid a visit by a Spotted Eagle-Owl which perched for a while and then took a large rodent. Meanwhile several Rufous-cheeked Nightjar were making a meal of the flying insects attracted by the lights.
SUNDAY 17th MARCH
WEATHER Fine, clear, hot and breezy
On the early morning walk we saw two Barn Owls, a Lesser Bushbaby going to roost and five Bare-cheeked Babbler, the latter a very local species.
As we drove to Namutoni Camp we skirted the vast Etosha Pan. Thousands of flamingoes formed a pink haze on he distant horizon. Nearer at hand we discovered Red-breasted Swallows, Yellow-rumped Seedeaters and flocks of thousands of Red-billed Quelea. The other great find was an elusive Pied Cuckoo. The bird of the morning though was a solitary Secretary -bird strutting across the open grassland.
We made ourselves comfortable at Namutoni, finding our way around the camp and taking the opportunity to explore the historic fort. The afternoon drive took us around the shallow Fischer's Pan into grassland and then fairly dense bush. In the wetland we enjoyed watching a variety of waders and duck, a single male Yellow-crowned Bishop in the marginal vegetation and both Glossy and Sacred Ibis in the marsh. Large parties of Giraffe were very impressive as were three Elephants hiding themselves in the roadside bush. They all had broken tusks, seemingly due to a local mineral deficiency.
Blue-breasted Cordonbleu and Mariquo Sunbird were a feature of the camp.
MONDAY 18th MARCH
WEATHER -3/8Cu. Sunny with a light breeze, hot
The climax of the morning drive was the sighting of a pair of delightful Damara Dik-Dik, a tiny antelope. Birds of prey once again provided exciting viewing especially a fine Lesser Spotted Eagle and a female Peregrine Falcon.
In the middle of the day we found a small pool which was supplied with running water. It was wonderful standing in the shade of a thorn tree and letting the birds come to us. In an hour fifteen species came to wash or drink: these included Red-billed Quelea, Red -headed Finch, Blue-breasted Cordonbleu and Violet-eared Waxbill.
Later in the afternoon we drove the Andoni loop enjoying sightings of such diverse bird species as Whiskered Tern, Comb Duck, Little Egret, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Red-capped Lark, Red-backed Scrub -Robin, a pair of Burchell's Sandgrouse and Ostrich .
The evening cabaret was provided by a band of Banded Mongoose.
TUESDAY 19th MARCH
WEATHER 7/8 Cu. dull still
11.00 8/8 Cu. Heavy rain
Evening - 2/8 Cu. fine, still
Lions and Hyaena calling in the night showed promise of an interesting morning.
By 07.00 we were at the camp gate waiting for the off. Before we had covered a km we discovered two male Lions resting in the bush near the road. They were relaxed and undoubtedly well fed. It was soon after that we saw Spotted Hyaenas. Eventually we counted thirteen, including a very young one. At one stage we watched two Hyaena eating a Zebra leg bone. From time to time a nearby Jackal would creep in and pick up fallen scraps of meat. On visiting a nearby waterhole we found more lions, three females and two immatures. We were amazed to find that the antelope allowed the pride very close access - they must have sensed that they were sated.
Birds were also much in evidence, the most interesting finds being a lone European Roller and a roosting Barred Owl. At 11.15 we left the park by the Von Lindequist Gate.
The Drive to Bernabe de la Bat Rest Camp in the Waterberg Plateau Park took us through well-forested hills giving us the opportunity to see a fine pair of African Hawk -Eagles and a flock of White-crowned Shrike.
We were 'greeted' at Waterberg by a pair of very tame Damara Dik-Dik.
An afternoon walk enabled us to record the endemic Carp's Tit, with White-breasted and Scarlet-chested Sunbird. High on the cliff face of the plateau there were even more birds including a pair of Black Eagles and Rosy-faced Lovebirds, Bradfield's and Alpine Swifts and European Bee-eaters going to roost, resulting in a whirl of colour and action.
WEDNESDAY 20th MARCH
WEATHER 1/8 Cu. Sunny, light breeze
An early walk at the base of the escarpment allowed us to see Bush Babies returning to roost as the very local Hartlaub's Francolins greeted the morn with their rather percussive calls. After searching the boulders at the base of the cliff for some minutes we were able to gain clear views of this elusive species. Within minutes they had dispersed. Then a great flock of European Bee-eaters flew out from their roost, closely followed by hundreds of swifts. As we made our way back to the lodges we found a pair of Paradise Flycatchers and then we were treated to a fly-past from a pair of African Hawk-Eagles: what a morning!
On a later walk we saw Black-chested Snake-Eagle, Wahlberg's Eagle and a variety of smaller birds. It was then that the group split up, some walking to the ridge, where they found the only Cinnamon-breasted Bunting of the trip, others exploring other parts of the camp including the German Cemetery. During these walks Rüppell's Parrot, Cardinal Woodpecker and Melba Finch were noted, the former though being elusive and not showing itself to its best advantage.
In the late afternoon we set off in a four-wheel drive vehicle for a guided tour of the plateau itself. As we climbed the two hundred metre ascent to the ridge we had a wonderful panoramic view of the plain below. As the area was littered with puddles the waterholes proved largely unattractive to mammals, but we did note Giraffe, Oryx and a party of five Eland. A huge Leopard Tortoise also featured. Two Green Woodhoopoe, Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters, Pied Babbler and a Striped Kingfisher were the highlights of the morning. Unfortunately the kingfisher only perched for a second.
The final dinner of the trip was a delicious braai.
THURSDAY 21st MARCH
WEATHER 1/8 Ci. Fine, hot and still
A brief search of the area around the lodges and the campsite enabled is to find a pair of endemic Bradfield's Hornbill, a Bearded Woodpecker and an African Golden Oriole.
We then set off for Windhoek. Within five km of the reserve we stopped to examine two birds perched on roadside wires. They were a pair of Rüppell's Parrot sitting in bright sunlight and then flying from perch to perch showing off their brilliant colours. The Gods were with us!
After a short break in Windhoek we drove to the airport where we made our goodbyes to Jean and Mark.
We then flew on to Johannesburg where the main party said goodbye to Ray, Derek and Sara who were travelling independently.
We all flew overnight to Europe.
FRIDAY 21st MARCH
Most of us returned to our homes, leaving Ray and Peter to travel on to the U.S.A.
Neil Arnold April 2002
DV Daan Viljoen
W Walvis Bay
Ostrich Struthio camelus A handful (DV) One hundred and fifty/eighty in one flock (NN). Noted daily (E). Six near (WP)
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus Two (W)
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis Up to ten (DV), two (W) and a pair (E)
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis One at sea and one in the sewage ponds (W). Several (E)
Jackass Penguin Spheniscus demersus Two (W)
ALBATROSSES, SHEARWATERS , STORM-PETRELS
White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis Eleven records (W)
Cory's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea One (W)
European Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus Two (W)
PELICANS, CORMORANTS AND GANNETS
Cape Gannet Morus capensis Some thirty birds (W)
Long-tailed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus Confined to (DV) and (W)
Crowned Cormorant Phalacrocorax coronatus At least twenty (W)
White-breasted Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo Noted at (DV) and (W). Common at the latter.
Cape Cormorant Phalacrocorax capensis Thousands (W)
African Darter Anhinga rufa A handful (DV)
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus Very numerous (W)
Maccoa Duck Oxyura maccoa Six (W)
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus Very widespread
South African Shelduck Tadorna cana Two (NN) and twenty five (E)
Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos Three (E)
Cape Teal Anas capensis Up to seventy (W) and scattered records (E)
African Black Duck Anas sparsa Two (DV) were unexpected
Red-billed Duck Anas erythrorhyncha Small flocks (E)
Hottentot Teal Anas hottentota Five (W)
Cape Shoveler Anas smithii Two (W) and one (E)
Southern Pochard Netta erythrophthalma Six (W) and six (E)
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber Huge flocks (W) and probably at (E) where there was a pink haze in distance which could have been this species and/or minor.
Lesser Flamingo Phoenicopterus minor Flocks of up to eighty (W) and probably huge flocks (E)
HERONS, EGRETS AND STORKS
Little Egret Egretta garzetta Up to thirty (W) and one (E)
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Noted at (DV) and (W) with up to six (E)
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea Two (W)
Great Egret Ardea alba A single bird (DV)
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Scattered records and up to sixty (E)
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides One (DV)
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax Up to four (DV)
Hamerkop Scopus umbretta At least two (DV)
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus Six (E)
Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus One (E)
African Spoonbill Platalea alba Two (E)
White Stork Ciconia ciconia Six reported over Okaukeujo (E)
Abdim's Stork Ciconia abdimii Three en route (O) and hundreds (E)
HAWKS, EAGLES AND FALCONS
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus Very widespread, noted on eleven days
Yellow-billed Kite Milvus parasitus Six records (E)
White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus Isolated records (DV) (NN) but larger flocks, up to twenty-five (E)
Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus Seven (NN) and smaller groups (E)
Black-chested Snake-Eagle Circaetus pectoralis Widespread (DV)(NN)(E) (WP)
Brown Snake-Eagle Circaetus cinereus Only in (NN) and (E)
Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus Seven records (E)
Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus An unexpected pair (E)
African Harrier-Hawk Polyboroides typus One (E)
Pale Chanting-Goshawk Melierax canorus Very widespread
Gabar Goshawk Melierax gabar Records from (DV)(NN)(E) and near (WP)
Shikra Accipiter badius Four records: one (DV) and three (E)
Little Sparrowhawk Accipiter minullus One (E)
Steppe Buzzard Buteo vulpinus Seven records en route Omaruru - Etosha and two (E)
Augur Buzzard Buteo augur Two (NN) one (?) and one near (WP)
Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina One (E)
Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax An unexpected record (NN), ten sighting (E) and three near (WP)
Wahlberg's Eagle Aquila wahlbergi Two records in the (WP) area
Verreaux's Eagle Aquila verreauxii Wonderful views of one (DV) three (NN) two (S) and two (WP)
African Hawk-Eagle Hieraaetus spilogaster Two pairs in or near (WP)
Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus One (NN)
Martial Eagle Polemaetus bellicosus One adult and one immature (E)
Secretary-bird Sagittarius serpentarius Four sightings of three birds (E)
Pygmy Falcon Polihierax semitorquatus Two (E)
Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Very widespread except in (E)
Greater Kestrel Falco rupicoloides Eight records (NN) and twenty five records (E)
Red-necked Falcon Falco chicquera Seven records (E) were very pleasing
Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus Flocks of up to forty five, a single record and a pair (E)
Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo One (E)
Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus Four recods (NN) and three (E)
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus One (E)
GUINEAFOWL AND ALLIES
Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris Noted throughout except in (NN) and (W)
Hartlaub's Francolin Francolinus hartlaubi Fine views of at least four birds (WP)
Red-billed Francolin Francolinus adspersus Very common (DV)(O)(E) and (WP)
Swainson's Spurfowl Francolinus swainsonii Two (E)
RAILS, CRAKES AND GALLINULES
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio Two (W)
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus Up to eight (DV), and a handful of records (W) (E)
Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata Up to eight (DV). Also at (W) and (E)
Blue Crane Grus paradisea Close views of six birds (E)
Ludwig's Bustard Neotis ludwigii Thirty-one records, including a very surprising flock of twenty-two (NN)
Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori Two (NN) and over eighty records (E)
Red-crested Bustard Eupodotis ruficrista Seven records (E)
White-quilled Bustard Eupodotis afraoides Sixty-three males on territory (E)
Rüppell's Bustard Eupodotis rueppellii A pair and a single bird (NN)
JACANAS AND PAINTED SNIPES
Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis A single bird at a small waterhole (E)
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica Flocks of up to thirty (W)
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus Flocks of up to thirty-five (W)
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis A flock of twenty-five (W)
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia A flock of ten (W) and fifty or more (E)
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola Eight (DV) and small flocks (E)
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos One (E)
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres Small flocks (W)
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus One (W)
Red Knot Calidris canutus Small flocks (W)
Sanderling Calidris alba Hundreds (W)
Little Stint Calidris minuta Many hundreds (W) and up to thirty (E)
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea Large flocks (W) and up to ten (E)
Ruff Philomachus pugnax Ten (W) and at least thirty (E)
Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius Twenty-six offshore (W)
Spotted Thick-knee Burhinus capensis Two (E)
OYSTERCATCHERS, STILTS AND AVOCETS
African Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini Five (W)
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus Forty (W) and at least twenty (E)
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta A flock of twenty (W)
COURSERS, PLOVERS AND LAPWINGS
Double-banded Courser Rhinoptilus africanus Thirteen records, including a flock of nine (E)
Temminck's Courser Cursorius temminckii Six (NN) and ten records, including a flock of eight (E)
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola Small flocks (W)
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula Small flocks (W)
Kittlitz's Plover Charadrius pecuarius Small flocks (W)
Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris Widespread in freshwater sites (DV)(W) and (E)
Chestnut-banded Plover Charadrius pallidus A flock of seventy (W) was unexpected
White-fronted Plover Charadrius marginatus Very widespread on the edge of shores (W)
Blacksmith Plover Vanellus armatus Three (DV), two(W) and flocks of up to eighteen (E)
Crowned Lapwing Vanellus coronatus Three (DV)and flocks of up to thirty (E)
GULLS AND TERNS
Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus Common (E)
Grey-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus Three records (W) possibly involving two birds
Hartlaub's Gull Larus hartlaubii Common (W)
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus Three (E)
White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus Three records (W) but offshore flocks of marsh terns probably contained more
Black Tern Chlidonias niger Huge flocks (W)
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia Up to ten (W)
Great Crested Tern Sterna bergii Common (W)
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis Common (W)
Common Tern Sterna hirundo Large flocks (W)
Damara Tern Sterna balaenarum Noted daily (W) including a flock of eight
Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus At least fifty offshore (W)
Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus Eight records over the shore (W)
Namaqua Sandgrouse Pterocles namaqua Fifty-five records (NN)
Burchell's Sandgrouse Pterocles burchelli A pair (E)
PIGEONS AND DOVES
Speckled Pigeon Columba guinea Common (DV)(NN) and (WP)
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis Ubiquitous
Ring-necked Dove Streptopelia capicola Noted daily
Namaqua Dove Oena capensis In all dry areas
PARROTS AND LOVEBIRDS
Rüppell's Parrot Poicephalus rueppellii At (WP) and a pair nearby
Rosy-faced Lovebird Agapornis roseicollis Noted (NN)and (S) but numerous (WP)
White-backed Mousebird Colius colius Only (NN)and (W)
Red-faced Mousebird Urocolius indicus The only confirmed records (S)
Grey Go-away-bird Corythaixoides concolor Common (DV)(O)(E) and (WP)
CUCKOOS AND COUCALS
Pied Cuckoo Oxylophus jacobinus One (E)
Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius One (E)
Black Cuckoo Cuculus clamosus One (DV)
Dideric Cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius Common (DV)
Barn Owl Tyto alba Seen well (E) and heard (WP)
African Scops-Owl Otus senegalensis Three (E)
White-faced Scops-Owl Otus leucotis Heard (DV) and one seen (E)
Spotted Eagle-Owl Bubo africanus A pair and a single bird seen (E)
Verreaux's Eagle-Owl Bubo lacteus One seen (DV) and two (E)
Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum One seen (O) and heard (E) and (WP)
African Barred Owlet Glaucidium capense One seen (E) and one heard (WP)
Rufous-cheeked Nightjar Caprimulgus rufigena Several (E)
African Palm-Swift Cypsiurus parvus Noted where there are palms
Alpine Swift Apus melba Widespread (DV)(NN) (O) and (WP)
Common Swift Apus apus Numerous (E) and (WP)
Bradfield's Swift Apus bradfieldi Common (NN)(S) and (WP)
Little Swift Apus affinis Common (DV), also noted (W) and (E) in small numbers
White-rumped Swift Apus caffer Only at (DV) and (NN)
KINGFISHERS, BEE-EATERS AND ROLLERS
Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala A brief glimpse (E)
Striped Kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti A glimpse (WP)
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater Merops hirundineus Common in the north (E) (WP)
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus Unexpectedly (DV)
European Bee-eater Merops apiaster Six (DV) and common in the north, especially (E) and (WP)
European Roller Coracias garrulus One (E)
Lilac-breasted Roller Coracias caudata Common in the Windhoek area and (E) (WP)
Purple Roller Coracais naevia Near Windhoek and in the north (E) and (WP)
African Hoopoe Upupa africana Only at (DV) and (E)
Green Woodhoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus Two (WP)
Violet Woodhoopoe Phoeniculus damarensis Flocks of fifteen and eight (E)
Common Scimitar-bill Rhinopomastus cyanomelas Only noted at (DV) and (S)
Monteiro's Hornbill Tockus monteiri Noted (DV)(NN)(S)(E) and (WP)
Red-billed Hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus Only at (DV)(E) and (WP)
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill Tockus leucomelas At (DV)(O)(E) and (WP)
Bradfield's Hornbill Tockus bradfieldi A pair (WP)
African Grey Hornbill Tockus nasutus Only in the north (E)(WP)
WOODPECKERS AND HONEYGUIDES
Pied Barbet Tricholaema leucomelas Most notably (NN)(S)(E) and (WP)
Golden-tailed Woodpecker Campethera abingoni Only (E) and (WP)
Cardinal Woodpecker Dendropicos fuscescens Two records (DV) and (WP)
Bearded Woodpecker Dendropicos namaquus One (O) and one (WP)
African Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis Two pairs (WP)
DRONGOS, CORVIDS AND ORIOLES
Fork-tailed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis Widespread
Cape Crow Corvus capensis Widespread
Pied Crow Corvus albus Mainly in arid areas
Eurasian Golden-Oriole Oriolus oriolus One (E)
African Golden-Oriole Oriolus auratus One (WP)
SHRIKES AND ALLIES
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio At (DV) and in the north
Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor Very widespread and common
Common Fiscal Lanius collaris Scattered records
White-crowned Shrike Eurocephalus anguitimens Six roadside records in the north
White-tailed Shrike Lanioturdus torquatus A dozen records (DV),(NN) and (S)
Brubru Nilaus afer A scattering of records (DV) and (E)
Black-crowned Tchagra Tchagra senegala One (WP)
Crimson-breasted Gonolek Laniarius atrococcineus Two (DV) and four scattered records (E)
Bokmakierie Telophorus zeylonus One (S)
White Helmetshrike Prionops plumatus A remarkable series of sightings (E) several flocks totalling fifty birds
Pririt Batis Batis pririt Widespread
THRUSHES, STARLINGS AND OXPECKERS
Short-toed Rock-Thrush Monticola brevipes Singing birds (DV) and (WP)
Groundscraper Thrush Psophocichla litsipsirupa Only noted at (DV)
Pale-winged Starling Onychognathus nabouroup Widespread except (E)
Red-shouldered Glossy-Starling Lamprotornis nitens Widespread and common
Burchell's Glossy-Starling Lamprotornis australis Scarce (DV) (E) and (WP)
Violet-backed Starling Cinnyricinclus leucogaster Uncommon (S) and (E)
Wattled Starling Creatophora cinerea Only (E)
FLYCATCHERS, CHATS AND ALLIES
Chat Flycatcher Bradornis infuscatus Two (S)
Mariqua Flycatcher Bradornis mariquensis Uncommon (DV)(E) and (WP)
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata Common (DV) and in the north
Red-backed Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas leucophrys One (O) one (E) and one (WP)
Herero Chat Namibornis herero A pair after a search (S)
Mountain Wheatear Oenanthe monticola Widespread in arid areas (NN)(W) and at (DV)
Capped Wheatear Oenanthe pileata Mainly (E)
Tractrac Chat Cercomela tractrac Only (NN) and (W)
Familiar Chat Cercomela familiaris Only (DV)(NN)(E) and (WP)
Southern Anteater-Chat Myrmecocichla formicivora Common only (DV) and (E)
SWALLOWS AND MARTINS
Plain Martin Riparia paludicola One (W)
Banded Martin Riparia cincta Several (E)
Rock Martin Hirundo fuligula Very widespread
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Common
Greater Striped-Swallow Hirundo cucullata Only (DV)
Rufous-chested Swallow Hirundo semirufa Several (E)
BULBULS AND WHITE-EYES
Black-fronted Bulbul Pycnonotus nigricans Very common
CISTICOLAS, PRINIAS AND WARBLERS
Rattling Cisticola Cisticola chinianus One singing (E)
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis One singing (E)
Desert Cisticola Cisticola aridulus The birds seen commonly from the vehicle in arid parts of (E) were almost certainly of this species
Black-chested Prinia Prinia flavicans In arid areas
Grey-backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brevicaudata Seen and heard (NN)(O)(E) and (WP)
Barred Wren-warbler Calamonastes fasciolatus Two (DV) and heard (WP)
Damara Rock-jumper Achaetops pycnopygius Good views of singing birds (DV) and (WP)
African Reed-warbler Acrocephalus baeticatus Only (W)
Yellow-bellied Eremomela Eremomela icteropygialis Only at (S)
Burnt-neck Eremomela Eremomela usticollis Three (DV)
Cape Crombec Sylvietta rufescens At (S) and (E)
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus At least four (DV)
Titbabbler Parisoma subcaeruleum Seven records (DV)(S) and (E)
Layard's Titbabbler Parisoma layardi Only at (NN) and (S)
BABBLERS AND TITS
Southern Pied-Babbler Turdoides bicolor Two en route (E) and three (WP)
Barecheeked Babbler Turdoides gymnogenys Five (E)
Carp's Tit Parus carpi Two (DV) and three (WP)
Ashy Tit Parus cinerascens Only at (DV) and (S)
Monotonous Lark Mirafra passerina Common (E)
Rufous-naped Lark Mirafra africana Only (DV) and (E)
Fawn-colored Lark Mirafra africanoides Only (E)
Sabota Lark Mirafra sabota Very widespread
Dusky Lark Mirafra nigricans One (O)
Long-billed Lark Certhilauda curvirostris Two (DV) and one (NN)
Dune Lark Certhilauda erythrochlamys Three (NN)
Spike-heeled Lark Chersomanes albofasciata Only (E)
Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Lark Eremopterix leucotis A handful at the roadside (NN)
Grey-backed Sparrow-Lark Eremopterix verticalis Noted (DV) and (E) but common (NN)
Grey's Lark Ammomanes Greyi Six (W)
Red-capped Lark Calandrella cinerea Eight (E)
Stark's Lark Eremalauda starki Common (NN) and (S)
OLD WORLD SPARROWS
House Sparrow Passer domesticus Very local near habitation
Rufous Sparrow Passer motitensis Only at (DV) and (E)
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow Passer diffusus At (DV)(NN)(O) (E) and (WP)
Cape Sparrow Passer melanurus Only (DV)(NN) and (W)
ESTRILDIDS AND ALLIES
Green-winged Pytilia Pytilia melba Only (DV) and (WP)
Blue-breasted Cordonbleu Uraeginthus angolensis Common (E) and (WP)
Violet-eared Waxbill Uraeginthus granatina Only (DV)(E) and (WP)
Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild Twenty (NN)
Black-cheeked Waxbill Estrilda erythronotos One (DV)
Red-headed Finch Amadina erythrocephala Common (E)
Shaft-tailed Whydah Vidua regia Scattered records in the north
Eastern Paradise-Whydah Vidua paradisaea Nine records in the north
WAGTAILS AND PIPITS
Cape Wagtail Motacilla capensis Only at (DV) (W) and Windhoek
African Pipit Anthus cinnamomeus Several (E)
Long-billed Pipit Anthus similis Two (DV)
WEAVERS AND ALLIES
Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver Bubalornis niger Common (E) Less common (DV)(S) and (O)
Scaly Weaver Sporopipes squamifrons Common (NN) and (E)
White-browed Sparrow-Weaver Plocepasser mahali Very widespread
Social Weaver Philetairus socius Only (DV) (NN) and (E)
Lesser Masked Weaver Ploceus intermedius At (DV) and (E) only
Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus Widepread
Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea Thousands in tight flocks (E)
Yellow-crowned Bishop Euplectes afer One male (E)
Red Bishop Euplectes orix A small flock (NN)
Scarlet-chested Sunbird Nectarinia senegalensis Only at (DV) and (WP)
White-breasted Sunbird Nectarinia talatala Only at (WP)
Dusky Sunbird Nectarinia fusca At (NN)(O) and (E)
Mariqua Sunbird Nectarinia mariquensis One (E)
BUNTINGS AND ALLIES
Yellow-rumped Seedeater Serinus atrogularis Common (DV) (E) and (WP)
Yellow Canary Serinus flaviventris Only at (NN) (O) and (E)
White-throated Canary Serinus albogularis Two (S)
Lark-like Bunting Emberiza impetuani Two (NN) but very common (S)
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting Emberiza tahapisi One (WP)
Cape Bunting Emberiza capensis At (DV) (NN) and (S)
Golden-breasted Bunting Emberiza flaviventris A pair (DV) one (E) and one enroute (WP)
Striped Mouse Rhabdomys pumilio Several (NN)
Dassie Rat Petromys typicus Only (S)
Ground Squirrel Xerus inauris Small nos (DV)(NN) common (E)
Cape Hare Lepus capensis Two (NN) and one (S)
Scrub Hare Lepus saxatilis Two (E)
Rock Hyrax Procavia capensis Only (DV) and (WP)
African Elephant Loxodonta africana Sightings of three and one (E)
Harmann's Mt. Zebra Equus zebra hartmannae Seven (DV)
Burchell's Zebra Equus burchelli Common (E)
Warthog Phacochoerus aethiopicus Family parties (DV) (E)
Giraffe Giraffe camelopardalis At least six (DV) hundreds (E) largest party seventeen
Blue Wildebeest Connochaetes taurinnus Common (E)
Red Hartebeest Alcelaphus buselaphus Only (DV) and (E) where common
Springbok Antidorcas marsupialis Very widespread
Klipsringer Oreotragus oreotragus Two (NN)
Damaara Dik Dik Madoqua kirkii Seen in pairs (E) (WP)
Steenbok Raphicerus campestris One (DV) singles or pairs (E)
Black faced Impala Aepyceros melampus Common (E)
Gemsbok Oryx gazella Common (DV) (NN) (E) (WP)
Kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros Small groups (DV) (E) (WP)
Eland Taurotragus oryx A female (DV) and five (WP)
Spotted Hyaena Crocuta crocuta Thirteen after a Lion kill (E)
Lion Panthera leo Two males, three females and two immatures (E)
African Wildcat Felis lybica Two close sightings (E)
Black-backed Jackal Canis mesomelas Singles (NN) (W) (WP); common (E)
Suricate Suricata suricata Bands of seven and four (NN)
Yellow Mongoose Cynictis penicillata Noted (DV) (NN) and (E)
Banded Mongoose Mungos mungo Bands of twenty-seven (E) and ten (WP)
Chacm Baboon Papio cynocephalus ursinus Only (DV) and (WP)
Lesser Bushbaby Galago moholi One (E) two (WP)
Cape Fur Seal Arctocephalus pusillus Very common (W)
Heaviside's Dolphin Cephalorynchus heavisidii Twelve offshore and one from the shore (W)
Flap-necked Chameleon Chamarleo dilepsis One (E)
Rock Lizard sp Australolacerta sp Singles (DV) (NN) & (E)
Tropical House Gecko Hemidactylus mabomia One (E) (WP)
Cape Cobra Naja nivea One (E)
Marsh Terrapin Pelomedusa subrufa In ponds (DV) (NN) (W) (E)
Geometric Tortoise Psammobates geometricus Singles (E)
Leopard Tortoise Geochelone pardalis One (WP)