TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT
9 - 20 June 2004
Wonderful weather, almost a complete absence of biting insects, fine food, considerate service, excellent accommodation, expert guidance and stunning wildlife. What more can a holiday need?
My thanks go to all at Robin Pope Safaris, especially the guides who worked tirelessly to find exciting wildlife. Their knowledge of the ecology and their tracking skills proved invaluable. I am also grateful to those at Chaminuka who looked after us so well.
Finally, there is no doubt that much of the success of the holiday was due to the enthusiasm of the group. I hope to be able to travel with you again in the near future.
Throughout the holiday the weather was mainly calm and sunny, the wind incresing to moderate at lunchtime and then cloud building in the afternoon. The exception to this was on the 12th when a frontal system passed over us as we drove to Nsefu Camp. By and large the days were pleasantly warm and the nights cool. Thank goodness for the hot water bottle!
THURSDAY 9 JUNE
We flew from Heathrow to Lusaka.
FRIDAY 10 JUNE
Arrival at Lusaka International Airport was on time. After a short wait we caught a light aircraft flight to Mfue Airport where we were met by staff from Robin Pope Safaris. On the short drive to Nkwali camp we started to get our 'eye in', noting a number of local bird species.
NKWALI CAMP 11.30
Almost as soon as we arrived at the camp we saw a Flap-necked Chameleon in a bush. It was then attacked by a Grey-headed Bush Shrike. We were pleased that the chameleon survived.
After a fine al fresco lunch we sat in the shelter of the thatched bar and watched wildlife along the river. Nile Crocodiles and Hippos were evident as were a variety of wetland bird species. We were joined in the camp by Impala, Chacma Baboons, Green Vervet Monkeys and a lone Bushbuck. One of the highlights of the afternoon was watching ten Yellow-billed Oxpeckers on a number of Hippos that had hauled themselves out of the water.
Kyela was to be our guide. Once we had taken tea we set off on our evening drive. Even before we'd left the camp environs we came across a Lizard Buzzard. We drove along the riverside and crossed on the Robin Pope Safaris' pontoon. Once on the other side of the river we were in the South Luangwa National Park. The brush sheltered a male Cardinal Woodpecker, two Dickinson's Kestrels, Puku, the elegant Thornicraft's Giraffe and three Elephants, amongst others, that is.
The riverside was home to a number of long-legged wading birds including Hadeda, Sacred Ibis, African Spoonbill, Yellow-billed and Saddle-billed Storks and four Grey Crowned Cranes.
We were then forced to stop and watch the sun go down. Of course it was compulsory to have a glass of something cheering, the so-called 'Sundowner'.
As dusk approached we boarded the vehicle and set off into the bush, spotlight in hand. Our first significant find was a perched Verreaux's Eagle Owl and then a Water Dikkop. After a while a pair of eyes shined back at the light, we had discovered a White tailed Mongoose; then came a Large-spotted Genet. As we rounded a corner on the trail an African Civet was caught in the beam. A visit to a den produced close views of two young Spotted Hyena. The final mammal sighting of the day was a Scrub Hare.
One of the spectacular features of the drive was a pause during which we were able to scan the night sky. In the absence of the light pollution, that we have grown to hate at home, we were able to gaze in awe at the array of stars. Both the Plough and the Southern Cross were equally obvious.
FRIDAY 11 JUNE
After an early breakfast we set off on our morning drive. Before long we were alerted by Green Vervet Monkeys and Baboons uttering loud alarm cries. Despite a careful search we failed to find the cause of their unrest.
The morning was a delight; we went on to find such treasures as Open-billed Stork, eleven Southern Ground Hornbill, Martial Eagle, African Fish Eagle and Bateleur. The next find of note was an African rock Python which was at least four metres long. It took exception to being viewed and slithered off into the undergrowth. Finally we spent some time watching Red-billed Oxpeckers on the backs of Impala.
During the afternoon the camp was visited by a Nile Monitor and Banded Mongoose.
The drive to the 'sundowner' was punctuated by sightings of the usually skulking Three-streaked Tchagra in full view, a flock of White Helmet Shrike, a Striated Heron and three Kudu. We then stopped on a dusty track to delight in a flock of White-fronted Bee-eaters dust bathing.
On arrival at the riverside 'sundowner' site we discovered birds preparing to roost. A wheeling flock of White-fronted Bee-eaters gathered on a marooned tree stump, fifty Helmeted Guinea fowl flew onto an island and then, once gathered, flew to their roosting trees. Then two African Spoonbill, Goliath Heron and two much sought after African Skimmer came on the scene. The skimmers gave us a flying display, but, alas, didn't actually fish.
Once it became dusky we set off in search of nocturnal animals. Over the next two hours the beam of the lamp fell on Bronze-winged Courser, Mozambique Nightjar, Water Dikkop, African Civet, Large-spotted Genet and the unusually elusive Honey Badger. This individual was caught in the headlights and then in the beam of the lamp as it trundled into the bush. As the day closed we came across three Giraffe in open woodland.
It had been another tough day in paradise!
SATURDAY 12 JUNE
Having said our 'Goodbyes' we set off for Nsefu Camp. Even before we had reached the main gate of South Luangwa National Park we had seen a herd of Elephants, Knob-billed Duck, Slender Mongoose, Lizard Buzzard and an African Fish Eagle giving chase to a White-faced Whistling Duck.
Birds of prey were a feature of our progress through the park: a pair of Gabar Goshawk, Bateleur, Tawny and Martial Eagle, White-backed and White-headed Vulture were notable. The ox-bow lakes were also attractive to birds including a flock of Water Dikkop, Black-headed Heron and a host of 'wading' birds. Woolly-necked Stork was one of the most attractive of these.
Then came the event of the morning. Our route took us past an area of natural 'pasture'. Spread out over the area were feeding Buffalo, Impala, Puku, Waterbuck, Zebra, Baboons and Vervet Monkeys. In the nearby bush were Elephants, in the nearby forest Giraffe. We had come upon 'African in a nutshell'. The only missing item was a Lion. One of our number remarked "Don't worry we'll put them in later with 'Photoshop'!"
We were met at a river crossing by the team from Nsefu Camp. They soon transported us across the river to a waiting vehicle and thence to the camp. En route we saw a Tawny Eagle.
Later Deb and Kerri took us out into the bush. As we entered a flat grassy area surrounded by forest we encountered a herd of Elephant. The next half an hour of our evening drive was spent watching the social interaction of the herd. It consisted of mature females and young of varying ages. We waited until they moved off into the forest before moving on.
We had only driven two hundred metres when a female Leopard came to light. She was lying in the shade of a grassy bank. It was obvious that she knew we were there as she looked in our direction every so often. At one stage she sat up eyeing two Puku feeding nearby. Perhaps they were too distant, as she lay down again. After twenty minutes or so we drove slowly on, stopping on the riverbank to enjoy our 'sundowner'. As we stood by the vehicle the Leopard appeared from the bush about thirty yards away and walked quietly towards the forest. Alarm calls from the Baboons indicated her progress.
It was soon time to mount the vehicle and set off into the bush. We moved slowly sweeping the surrounding countryside with the powerful lamp. The sky was starlit but moonless. Large-spotted Genet, African Civet and White-tailed Mongoose were seen and then we caught a Four-toed Elephant Shrew in the beam. This was a delightful sighting, its long snout was never still as it watched us through its huge eyes. The finale was the appearance of an African Porcupine walking steadily across the open grassland until it gained the cover of the woodland.
It had been another intriguing day.
SUNDAY 13 JUNE
After breakfast Deb and Jacob took us out in the vehicle. We were also accompanied by a Scout and a 'backstop'. As we were about to leave an adult and a young Water Mongoose crossed the track. This was a fortunate occurrence as this species is usually crepuscular.
Soon we were driving past hosts of grazing animals including Giraffe and a large herd of Buffalo. We then stopped to admire an immature African Hawk Eagle. Soon after we moved on we came to an abrupt stop. We were then advised to look into a sturdy 'sausage tree'. There, draped over a branch , as only a cat can, was the female Leopard we had seen the previous evening.
By 07.30 we were being briefed on the art of bush walking. The Scout, Bertrum, then led the way followed by Deb, the clients and Jacob and Baron bringing up the rear. Bertrum was there to ensure no harm came to us. Though he was armed we were confident that his skills would ensure that the rifle would not be needed, should we encounter danger. Deb and Jacob showed us animal footprints and other signs of their passing. We also saw animals in action: Brown-hooded and Grey-headed Kingfishers and White-bellied Sunbird. Our destination was the Stork colony. A scattered group of ebony trees in a grassy plain held a number of Yellow-billed and Marabou Storks nests. Despite the fact that some had already left the colony there were about two hundred Yellow-billed Storks and fifteen Marabou Storks in residence. Most young birds were still being fed in the nest but some had flown down to the ground where they fed alongside their parents.
We spent some time studying the colony and then received a 'master class' in raptor identification. Adult and immature Bateleur, White-backed. White-headed and Hooded Vultures were scrutinised and then our full attention was given to an immature Martial Eagle which we saw at rest and in flight. Carmine Bee-eaters hunted above our heads as we returned to the vehicle. Walking in the African bush is a thrill. It is also a great privilege, so we returned to camp brimming with enthusiasm.
During the evening drive we spent time enjoying the antics of a troupe of Baboons and listening to bird song. Purple-crested Lourie and African Green Pigeon were added to our records. Although we noted Large-spotted Genet, Elephant Shrews and Porcupine, once it was dark the star of the period was a Three-banded Courser.
We were then offered a chance on the following day to explore the open plain to the east of the camp. As a result we made plans to set off before dawn and eat breakfast in the field. Despite the fact that this was far from routine on a Travelling Naturalist trip we greeted the opportunity with enthusiasm.
MONDAY 14 JUNE
Even before we had boarded the vehicle we heard the call of Pearl-spotted Owlet. The search of the area with the spotlight revealed Elephant Shrew, Large spotted Genet, Scrub Hare and African Civet. We also saw Three-banded Courser again; African Wood Owl and African Scops Owl were heard.
As we reached the edge of the plain Mozambique Nightjars appeared. The first glimmer of dawn revealed that the open grassland was burnt in places and scattered with trees, many of them dead or dying. Before it became fully light we found Venus low on the horizon.
In the distance we could see steam rising from the Chichele Salt Springs. The open countryside was home to Collared Pratincoles, a selection of plovers and two rather attractive lark species: Red-capped Lark and Chestnut backed-Finchlark. The other feature of the area was the presence of pairs of Grey Crowned Cranes. These were resplendent in the bright morning light. We parked the vehicle by the steaming vent to a borehole which spouted hot water. Jacob and Kerri started to cook breakfast while the rest of us walked along the edge of the marsh. Sightings of African Black Crake, Zitting Cisticola and a brief view of a Water Mongoose kept us amused until a sumptuous breakfast was served. The consensus was that it was worth getting up early just to enjoy a bush breakfast.
A post-breakfast search revealed the presence of several Temminck's Coursers, Capped Wheatears and Grassveld Pipits. On our return journey we skirted the northern edge of the Nsefu section of the park.
By 09.00 we were heading west. Before long we were in an area of wet grassland watching feeding Black-headed Herons, Sacred Ibis and Great White Egret. Then an African Marsh Harrier made an appearance. As we drove through a stand of dead trees Carmine Bee-eaters were feeding on the wing. Then up popped three Harlequin Quail as we stopped to admire Reedbuck. High overhead was a Lappet-faced Vulture. The riverside held a Black-winged Stilt and a lone African Darter. The morning concluded with sightings of five African Fish Eagles in a thermal, a 'rolling' Lilac-breasted Roller and a Bearded Woodpecker in a tree.
Highlights of the evening were two Purple-crested Lourie, a Giant (Verreaux's) Eagle Owl, a close up of a Mozambique Nightjar on the track, two Chameleon in a tree, a column of Matabele Ants stridulating as they were disturbed and a Hippo. This particular Hippo was on a sandbank below the shallow cliff on which we stood. On seeing us it lifted its head, sniffed and roared at us. We were glad he was on the "ground floor" and we were on the "first"! As we approached the camp a Puku whistled nearby and a Baboon called further away. We were on the hunt for two Leopards. Eventually things became calm and we repaired to the bar.
TUESDAY 15 JUNE
During the morning drive some time was spent watching Buffalo. Our eyes were also turned upward, discovering a number of raptors including Shikra, Lizard Buzzard, Western Banded Snake Eagle and Martial Eagle. We were also delighted to find the fluttering Bohm's Spinetail (Swift). One or two birds, including Grey-headed Kingfisher managed to sit still long enough to have their portraits taken. This was also true of a herd of Waterbuck which were feeding up sun in a frame of golden grasses.
Just before we set off on our evening drive a pair of Golden-tailed Woodpeckers appeared in the camp.
Soon after we left the camp we noticed a vulture wheeling down to earth. It was then followed by others so we knew there had been a kill. When we reached the area some twenty White-backed Vultures had surrounded the carcass of a female Impala. It was thought it had probably been killed by the large male Leopard within whose territory it lay. The trees surrounding the kill held another twenty or so White- backed Vultures and a fine adult White-headed Vulture. A Gymnogene was also perched nearby. Two Tawny Eagles even came to scan the area.
Nearby was a gully. We stopped to admire four Hammerkop. While we were watching them we noticed a male Painted Snipe in the muddy margins of a pool. This was a great thrill. Once again we were forced to stop and drink the health of the glorious sunset. While we were there we enjoyed good views of perched Giant Eagle Owl and Pearl-spotted Owlet.
Soon, though, the spotlight was set to work. A Bronze-winged Courser was soon found. The next sighting was somewhat more straight forward; a herd of ten Elephant. One of the herd, a young bull took exception to us and stood trumpeting, waving his trunk about and flapping its ears. Its more experienced companions completely ignored us! The next thrill was a pair of Three-banded Coursers with two tiny chicks. One of the adults caught insects which it fed to the young and then sat down on the sand, drawing the chicks into the safety of its wings. The climax of the evening was a prolonged view of a pair of foraging Honey Badgers.
It had been a great day.
WEDNESDAY 16 JUNE
After taking leave of the staff at Nsefu we set off on foot towards Tana Tana. Daudi gave us an insight into tracking, the ecology of dung, medicinal plants and the behaviour of birds and mammals. We also learned the calls of the local doves:-
Cape Turtle Dove: Morning "Work harder, work harder"
Evening "Drink lager, drink lager"
Red eyed Dove: "I am a Red-eyed Dove"
Emerald Wood Dove: "My mother is dead, my father is dead, all my family are dead, what do I do, what do I do?
We also watched birds on the well-vegetated Kasikizi Lagoon. The highlights here were a pair of Malachite Kingfishers, African Black Crake, Striated and Squacco Herons. At a nearby lagoon we discovered flocks of Egyptian Geese (161) and Spur-winged Goose (30).
We then came across a huge herd of Buffalo. We estimated the number to be five hundred; this gave us ample time for photography. As we neared Tena Tena Camp we stopped at a lone palm tree to admire African Palm Swifts, and there under a broadleaved tree, was a Collared Palm Thrush, a very local species.
Soon we had settled into our luxury tents and were sitting down to yet another delightful meal.
Just after we left the camp on the evening drive we were watching a pair of singing Collared Palm Thrush. This was soon followed by sightings of African Green Pigeon, Pearl spotted Owlet and two huge male Eland. A little further on, in an area of grassland dotted with trees, we found a resting male Lion. As we watched, half a dozen Impala peered out of the bush and then 'tip-toed' past. The Lion then moved its head. In an instant the antelopes turned to face the Lion and uttered their alarm call. When the Lion lay down in the grass the Impala moved quietly away.
We watched the sunset from a site overlooking the river. As the sun disappeared flocks of Whistling Duck, Egyptian Geese and Knot-billed Duck flew to roost.
The spotlight was soon scanning the area as we drove on. The inevitable Genet, African Civet, Scrub Hare and White-tailed Mongoose were noted. We then arrived at a lagoon. Almost immediately the beam of the light illuminated a pale object on top of a vertical tree stump in a marshy area. This was a stunning ginger-coloured Pel's Fishing Owl. Its heavy build, huge eyes, long legs and barred plumage was clearly visible. The bird watched us and then flew to a branch in a broad-leafed tree. Once settled it preened, seemingly quite contentedly. Pel's Fishing Owl is probably locally common but always difficult to find, so we were elated.
THURSDAY 17 JUNE
TENA TENA CAMP
We hadn't driven a hundred metres before we were surrounded by a foraging bird flock. Blue Waxbills, Red-billed Firefinches, Melba Finches, Cardinal Woodpeckers, a Fork-tailed Drongo and a migrant Woodland Kingfisher were watched at leisure.
Nearby was an elegant adult Martial Eagle tearing at the remainder of a bird and two 'Giant' Eagle Owls were being mobbed by Red-billed Hornbills, White-fronted Bee-eater and Lillian's Lovebirds.
Most of the rest of the morning was occupied in watching a herd of twenty-eight Elephant. The major part of the herd consisted of females and young. There were, though, half a dozen males of varying ages. It was apparent that at least one of the females was in oestrous. One large bull trumpeted at us but showed no other signs of aggression. At one point a small group which included a very large male came to drink at a lagoon. The male tested several of the females to access whether they were sexually receptive. This would appear not to have been the case. Other mammal highlights included a male Eland and two Kudu, one a male with massive horns.
While enjoying our morning tea we watched a highly coloured pair of Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters and a Gymnogene attempting to rob nests.
We then rounded a corner and found folding chairs and a table laden with lunch and drinks. We didn't have champagne, honest! As the Scout kept an eye on Elephants which were grazing nearby we enjoyed a relaxing lunch.
On our way back to camp we encountered three, then four more Ground Hornbills.
The evening drive was full of interest. At a nearby lagoon we counted ninety Knob-billed Duck, fifty White-faced Whistling Duck and twenty assorted Geese. That is until an African Fish Eagle flew in and scattered them. While we were enjoying our 'sundowner' five Elephants appeared on the other side of the river, walked along a sandbank and then into the river, where they were silhouetted against the water. The smallest Elephant had to swim to keep up with the rest. Later we saw the same elephants still drying out. Once the sun set we watched Elephant Shrews, Large spotted Genet, a large male Kudu, White-tailed Mongoose, and, much to our surprise, six foraging Honey Badgers. Mozambique Nightjar and a pair of Bronze-winged Courser also appeared in the spotlight.
THURSDAY 18 JUNE
TENA TENA CAMP
During the night an Elephant wandered through the camp, had an in-depth look at the kitchen area and moved off again. We heard the performance from our beds but we were well looked after by two watchmen.
Whilst eating breakfast we heard Lions roaring in the distance.
Soon after we set out from the camp a female Lion was located near a lagoon. She drank, walked along the shore, sat and rested and then walked on. It was a glorious photo opportunity.
As soon as the Lion disappeared we were attracted by two Bateleur sitting on a dead tree. As we approached a falcon flew in and perched nearby. This splendid bird was a Red-necked Falcon, a species associated with palms. Aardvark prints then caught our attention, we surmised though that seeing the prints was the nearest we were likely to get to the animal.
Elephants were watched drinking and Buffalo feeding, the latter were accompanied by Wattled Starlings and Oxpeckers. After more encounters with Elephants we came across a pair of very endearing Sun Squirrels gambling about in the tree branches and then sitting in the sunlight preening. We were then lucky enough to see Shikra and Little Sparrowhawk.
The final event of the morning was the discovery of an immature Bateleur that flew off from under a bush. The carcass of a juvenile Cape Turtle Dove was found beneath the bush and the empty nest was located.
The evening drive
Before dark we made contact with a Slender Mongoose, two Crowned Cranes and eight Little Egrets, amongst others.
Later, once we started to use the spotlight, we drove past a grove of mature trees. A Baboon uttered its alarm call as a mature female Leopard walked slowly by. Despite the fact that the Leopard had a raised tail, indicating that it was not hunting, the Baboons relayed the calls as it walked on. We then came across a female Spotted Hyena and its cub. It was then that we smelled the unmistakable scent of flesh. There was obviously a newly killed animal nearby. Neither the Hyenas or us seemed capable of finding the carcass. It was exciting to see both Leopard and Spotted Hyena in the same stretch of woodland.
FRIDAY 19 JUNE
TENA TENA CAMP
Sadly we had to leave Tena Tena. We left early in order to explore the mature (cathedral) Mopane forest. White-browed Sparrow-weaver was especially common. Other species included Chinspot Batis, Black-backed Puffbird, Common Waxbill, Red-faced Cisticola and Scimitarbill. We were especially delighted to see the local White-breasted Cuckoo-Shrike and a group of Arnot's Chat. We also had good views of two Striped Kingfishers.
Before making for Mfuwe Airport we were shown around the factory at 'Tribal Textiles'. Needless to say we also visited the shop where we were very impressed by the merchandise.
By mid-day we had completed our flight to Lusaka and were on our way to Chaminuka Lodge.
After a buffet lunch and a rest we met Pius, our guide. Chaminuka has free-ranging antelope and Zebra but no Buffalo or Elephant. Lions and Hyena are kept in a secure part of the estate so it is possible to walk in the rest. The main features are several man-made lakes, grassland and Miombo Woodland.
Pius walked us around the major lakes. The notable sightings were Black Stork, Black-shouldered Kite, Black-headed Oriole, Secretary Birds, Yellow-fronted Tinker Barbet and a flock of Bronze Mannakins. We were also able to reinforce our knowledge of many other bird species.
'Captive' species included Ostrich, Bushbuck, Zebra and Kafue Lechwe, a very local Zambian species of antelope.
As Chaminuka is at 4,000 feet above sea level we were grateful for the braziers holding hot coals that heated the dining room. The splendid meal included the meat of Warthog.
SUNDAY 20 JUNE
Fortunately we had time to take another walk with Pius before returning to Lusaka. Once again we saw a good variety of birds but the star of the morning was the spectacular Schalow's Turaco.
By mid-morning we were making for Lusaka to catch our flight to London.
MONDAY 21 JUNE
We and our luggage arrived on time.
LU LUSAKA AIRPORT
SL SOUTH LUANGWA
Ostrich Struthio camelus Introduced CH
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis Two CH
African Darter Anhinga rufa One SL and several CH
Long-tailed (Reed) Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus Only CH
White-breasted Cormorant Phalacrocorax lucidus Several CH
HERONS & BITTERNS Ardeidae
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Noted daily SL & CH
Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala Noted SL, peak count 10
Goliath Heron Ardea goliath Widespread SL
Great White Egret Egretta alba Common SL
Little Egret Egretta garzetta Eight SL & one CH
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides Four sightings SL
Rufous-bellied Heron Ardeola rufiventris Two CH
Striated Heron Butorides striatus In well vegetated pools SL, peak count five
Hammerkop Scopus umbretta Regular sightings SL, peak 10, and at CH
Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis Breeds SL, 200 peak count
African Openbill Stork Anastomus lamelligerus Widespread SL
Black Stork Ciconia nigra An unseasonal record of four CH
Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus Two single records SL
Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis Common, SL
Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumeniferus Common. Flocks of up to 15 SL and 20 Ch
IBISES & SPOONBILLS Threskiornithidae
Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus Common throughout
Hadada Ibis Hagedashia hagedash Common SL
African Spoonbill Platalea alba Seven sightings SL
White-faced Whistling-duck Dendrocygna viduata Large flocks SL & CH
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus Common SL. Peak count 161
Spur-winged Goose Plectropterus gambensis Common SL. Peak count 30
Comb (Knob-billed) Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos Common SL. Peak count 90. A flock of 10 CH
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus One CH
Yellow-billed Kite Milvus parasiticus Five MF
African Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus vocifer Common throughout
Lappet-faced (Nubian) Vulture Torgos tracheliotus One SL
White-headed Vulture Trindonoceps occipitalis Common SL
Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus Eleven sightings SL & a small flock CH
African White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus Common throughout
Brown Snake-Eagle Circaetus cinerius Eight sightings SL
Western Banded Snake-Eagle Circaetus cinerascens One SL
Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus Very common SL
Gabar Goshawk Meliterax gabar A pair displaying SL
African Harrier-Hawk (Gymnogene) Polyboroides radiatus Several SL
Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus Six SL, one CH
African Marsh Harrier Circus ranivorus One SL
Shikra Accipiter badius Three SL
Little Sparrowhawk Accipiter minullus One SL
Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax Six records SL
Martial Eagle Poliomaetus bellicosus Exceptional sightings, thirteen in all, SL
SECRETARY BIRD Sagittariidae
Secretary Bird Sagittarius serpentarius Two CH
Dickinson's Kestrel Falco dickinsoni Two SL
Red-necked Falcon Falco chicquera One SL
PHEASANTS & Partridges Phasianidae
Red-necked Spurfowl Francolinus afer Common SL
Swainson's Spurfowl/Francolin Francolinus swainsonii Common throughout
Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris Common SL
Harlequin Quail Coturnix delegorguei Five SL
Grey/Southern Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum Seventeen SL
RAILS & COOTS Rallidae
Black Crake Amaurornis flavirostris Four records SL
African Jacana Actophilornis africanus Common throughout
(Greater) Painted-Snipe Rostratula benghalensis One SL
AVOCETS AND STILTS Recurvirostridae
Black-winged (Pied) Stilt Himantopus himantopus Three SL
Water Dikkop (Thick-knee) Burhinus vermiculatus Common SL, peak count fifty
COURSERS AND PRATINCOLES Glareolidae
Temminck's Courser Cursorius temminckii Twelve SL
Heuglin's (Three-banded) Courser Rhinoptilus cinctus Three plus two chicks SL
Bronze-winged Courser Rhinoptilus chalcopterus Twelve SL
Collared (Red-winged) Pratincole Glareola pratincola One SL
White-crowned Plover Vanellus albiceps Common throughout
Crowned Plover Vanellus coronatus Common SL
Senegal Wattled Plover Vanellus senegallus Common throughout
Blacksmith Plover Vanellus armatus Local SL, common CH
Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris Singles birds or pairs throughout
White-fronted Plover Charadrius marginatus Riversides SL
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia Three records SL
African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris Two SL
Double-banded Sandgrouse Pterocles bicinctus Two SL
PIGEONS & DOVES Columbidae
Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia Near to habitation
African Mourning Dove Streptopelia decipiens Elusive SL
Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata Common throughout
Ring-necked (Cape Turtle) Dove Streptopelia capicola Very common throughout
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis Common SL
Emerald-spotted Wood (Green-spotted) Dove Turtur chalcospilos Delightfully common throughout
Namaqua Dove Oena capensis Very local in dry areas SL
African Green Pigeon Treron calva In forested areas throughout
Lilian's Lovebird Agapornis lilianae Large flocks SL
Brown (Meyer's) Parrot Poicephalus meyeri Good views of seven individuals SL
Grey Go-away Bird/Lourie Corythaixoides concolor Common throughout
Purple-crested Turaco/Lourie Musophaga porphyreolopha Pairs in forested areas SL
Schalow's Turaco (Lourie) Tauraco schalowi A pair CH
Senegal Coucal Centropus senegalensis Scarce SL
White-browed Coucal Centropus superciliosus Common throughout
TYPICAL Owls Strigidae
African Scops Owl Otus senegalensis Heard SL
Verreaux's (Milky) Eagle-Owl Bubo lacteus Six sightings SL
Pel's Fishing-owl Scotopelia peli One seen well SL
African Wood-Owl Strix woodfordii Heard SL
Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum Heard regularly, three sightings SL
Fiery-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus pectoralis
Gabon (Mozambique) Nightjar Scotornis fossii Noted almost nightly SL
Alpine Swift Apus melba Sixty passed during a frontal movement SL
Little Swift Apus affinis Only at the park gates SL
White-rumped Swift Apus caffer Common SL
Bat-like (Bohm's) Spinetail Neafrapus boehmi Thirty SL
African Palm-Swift Cypsiurus parvus Common near palms throughout
Horus Swift Apus horus Only in the Nkali area SL
Red-faced Mousebird Colius indicus Common throughout
GIANT KINGFISHERS Cerylidae
Giant Kingfisher Ceryle maxima Three sightings of single birds SL
Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis Common throughout
Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata Two SL
Chestnut-bellied (Grey-headed) Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala Common SL
Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis One SL
Brown-hooded Kingfisher Halcyon albiventris Common SL
Striped Kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti One SL
White-fronted Bee-eater Merops bullockoides Very common SL
Little Bee-eater Merops pusillus Very common throughout
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater Merops hirundineus Two SL
Southern Carmine Bee-eater Merops nubicoides Some fifty sightings SL
Lilac-breasted Roller Coracias caudata Common SL
Green Woodhoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus Common throughout
Common (Greater) Scimitarbill Rhinopomastus cyanomelas Local SL &CH
Crowned Hornbill Tockus alboterminatus Six SL
African Grey Hornbill Tokus nasutus Common throughout
Red-billed Hornbill Tokus erythrorhynchus Common SL
Southern Ground Hornbill Bucorvus cafer (leadbeateri) Wonderfully common SL. Peak count eleven
AFRICAN BARBETS &TINKERBIRDS Lybiidae
Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird Pogoniulus chrysoconus One CH
Black-collared Barbet Lybius torquatus Common throughout but not always visible
Crested Barbet Trachyphonus vaillantii Elusive SL & CH
Black-throated (Greater) Honeyguide Indicator indicator Five sightings but often heard SL
Golden-tailed Woodpecker Campethera abingoni One pair SL
Cardinal Woodpecker Dendropicos fuscens Common SL
Bearded Woodpecker Dendropicos namaquus Common SL
Red-capped Lark Calandrella cinerea Thirty SL
Chestnut-backed Finch-Lark Eremopterix leucotis Twenty SL
SWALLOWS & MARTINS Hirundinidae
Plain (Brown-throated) Sand Martin Riparia paludicola Common SL
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Very local SL & CH
Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii Common SL
Lesser Striped Swallow Hirundo abyssinica Very local SL
Mosque Swallow Hirundo senegalensis Very local SL
WAGTAILS & PIPITS Motacillidae
African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp Common throughout
Grassveld Pipit Anthus cinnamoneus Three SL
White-breasted Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina pectoralis One SL
Common (Blackeyed) Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus Commom throughout
Terrestrial Bulbul Pycnonotus curvirostris Common CH
Terrestrial Brownbul/Bulbul Phyllastrephus terrestris Heard SL
White (-crested) Helmetshrike Prionops plumatus Flocks SL & CH
Red-billed Helmetshrike Prionops caniceps Flocks SL
Brubru Nilaus afer One SL
Black-backed Puffback Dryoscopus cubla Sightings SL&CH
Three-streaked Tchagra Tchagra jamesi Elusive SL&CH
Tropical Boubou Laniarius ethiopicus Common throughout
Grey-headed Bush-Shrike Malaconotus blanchoti Two SL
Common Fiscal Lanius collaris Only CH
White-browed (Heuglin's) Robin-Chat Cossypha heuglini Heard SL, seen CH
Collared Palm-thrush Cichladusa arquata Excellent views SL
Capped Wheatear Oenanthe pileata Noted LU and at SL, where it is rare
White-headed Black (Arnot's) Chat Myrmecocichla arnoti Six SL
Arrow-marked Babbler Turdoides jardinei Common throughout
CISTICOLAS & ALLIES Cisticolidae
Red-faced Cisticola Cisticola erythrops Two SL
Rattling Cisticola Cisticola chinianus One SL
Zitting Cisticola (Fan-tailed Warbler) Cisticola juncidis Noted SL&CH
Tawny-flanked Prinia Prinia subflava Noted SL&CH
Grey-backed Camaroptera (Bleating Warbler) Camaroptera brevicaudata Common but elusive SL
OLD WORLD WARBLERS Sylviidae
Long-billed (Cape) Crombec Sylvietta rufescens Heard SL and seen CH
OLD WORLD FLYCATCHERS Musicapidae
Ashy (Blue-grey) Flycatcher Musicapa caerulescens Two SL
Chinspot Batis Batis molitor One SL
MONARCH FLYCATCHERS Monarchidae
African Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis Two SL
Collared Sunbird Anthreptes collaris Common SL
Southern White-bellied Sunbird Nectarinia talatala One SL
Amethyst (Black) Sunbird Nectarinia amethystina One CH
Scarlet-chested Sunbird Nectarinia senegalensis Sightings SL
(African) Yellow White-eye Zosterops senegalensis Only CH
Common (Fork-tailed) Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis Common throughout
JAYS & CROWS Corvidae
Pied Crow Corvus albus Only LU&CH
African Black-headed Oriole Oriolus larvatus Only CH
Greater Blue-eared Glossy-starling Lamprotornis chalybaeus Common throughout
Meves's (Long-tailed) Glossy-starling Lamprotornis mevesii Common SL
Wattled Starling Creatophora cinerea Common near Buffalo SL
Yellow-billed Oxpecker Buphagus africanus Common SL
Red-billed Oxpecker Buphagus erythrorynchus Common SL
NEW WORLD SPARROWS and BUNTINGS Emberizidae - Emberizinae
Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting Emberiza tahapisi One SL
WAXBILLS AND ALLIES Estrildidae
Green-winged Pytilia (Melba Finch) Pytilia melba A pair SL
Red-billed Firefinch Lagonosticta senegala Common throughout
Jameson's Firefinch Lagonosticta rhodopareia Local SL
Blue-cheeked Cordonbleu (Blue Waxbill) Uraeginthus angolensis Common throughout
Common Waxbill Estrilda astrid Noted SL & CH
Bronze Mannikin Lonchura cucullata Only CH
Village (Steel-blue) Indigobird (Widowfinch) Vidua chalybeata Very common SL
Paradise Whydah Vidua paradisea Very common SL
WEAVERS AND ALIES Ploceidae
Red-billed Buffalo-weaver Bubalornis niger Common SL
White-browed Sparrow-weaver Plocepasser mahali Very common SL
Lesser Masked-weaver Ploceus intermedius Elusive SL
Spectacled Weaver Ploceus ocularis Difficult to find at this time of year, one definite record SL
African Golden-weaver Ploceus subaureus A handful SL
(African) Southern Masked Weaver Ploceus velatus Elusive SL
Red-headed Weaver Anaplectes rubriceps Two SL
Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea Flocks SL
House Sparrow Passer domesticus A pair LU
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow Passer diffusus Common SL
PRIMATES - Lorises Primates - Lorisidae
Greater Galago Otolemur crassicaudatus Heard at night SL
PRIMATES - Old World Monkeys Primates - Cercopithecinae
Chacma Baboon Papio ursinus Common SL
Green Vervet (Savannah) Monkey Cercopithecus aethiops Common SL
CARNIVORES - Mustelids Carnivora - Mustelidae
Honey Badger Mellivora capensis Nine recorded SL
CARNIVORES - Civets Carnivora - Viverridae
Large-spotted Genet Genetta tigrina Thirty-three sightings SL
African Civet Civettictis civetta Thirteen sightings SL
CARNIVORES - Mongooses Carnivora - Herpestidae
Bushy-tailed Mongoose Bdeogale crassicauda Three sightings SL
Slender Mongoose Herpestes sanguineus Four SL
Water Mongoose Atilax paludinosus Three SL
Banded Mongoose Mungos mungo Thirty three, including a group of sixteen SL
White-tailed Mongoose Ichneumia albicaudata A dozen sightings
CARNIVORES - Hyaenas Carnivora - Hyaenidae
Spotted Hyaena Crocuta crocuta Heard regularly, four seen SL
CARNIVORES - Cats Carnivora - Felidae
Lion Panthera leo Heard regularly, two sightings SL
Leopard Panthera pardus Three prolonged sightings SL
PROBOSCIDS Proboscidea - Elephantidae
African Elephant Loxodonta africana Very common SL. We were able to spend a considerable amount of time studying the behaviour of family parties.
ODD-TOED UNGULATES - Horses Perissodactyla - Equidae
Crawshaw's Zebra Equus quagga crawshaii Common SL
EVEN-TOED UNGULATES - Pigs Artiodactyla - Suidae
Warthog Phacochoerus aethiopicus Common SL
EVEN-TOED UNGULATES - Hippopotamuses Artiodactyla - Hippopotamidae
Hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius Very common SL
EVEN-TOED UNGULATES - Giraffes Artiodactyla - Giraffidae
Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrifti Common SL. The local Thornicroft's Giraffe is splendid
EVEN-TOED UNGULATES - Cattle Artiodactyla - Bovidae
Eland Tragelaphus oryx Three records SL
Bushbuck Tragelaphus scriptus Noted regularly SL, usually alone or in pairs
Greater Kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros Nine records SL
African Buffalo Synceros caffer Huge herds SL
Common Waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus Small flocks, peak count fourteen SL
Puku Kobus vardonii Common SL
Southern Reedbuck Redunca arundinum Three SL
Impala Aepyceros melampus Very common SL
Sharp's Grysbok Raphicerus sharpei One SL
RODENTS - Squirrels Rodentia - Sciuridae
South African Tree Squirrel Paraxerus cepapi Very common SL
Sun Squirrel Helioscuirus mutabilis A pair SL
RODENTS - Old World Porcupines Rodentia - Hystricidae
South African Porcupine Hystrix africaeaustralis Two sightings of this elusive animal
LAGOMORPHS - Rabbits & Hares Lagomorpha - Leporidae
Scrub Hare Lepus saxatilis Common SL
ELEPHANT SHREWS Macroscelidea - Macroscelididae
Four-toed Elephant-shrew Petrodromus tetradactylus Common SL
A number of introduced mammals were seen at Chaminuka including the Kafue Lechwe
African Rock Python
Eastern Green Snake
Common Flap-necked Chameleon
Tropical House Gecko
Bubbling Kassina (Frog)
Common Tree (Foam-nest) Frog