Lochinvar National Park - Zambia

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6 years 7 months ago #46898 by nkgray
nkgray created the topic: Lochinvar National Park - Zambia
Last Sunday it was Blue Lagoon NP, today it was Lochinvar, the twin NP on the southern side of the Kafue River - like Blue Lagoon situated on the Kafue floodplains. I last visited Lochinvar in May 1976, so just one month short of 35 years ago! I know the approx. date from the date on my 35mm slides from that visit. Although not a birder at all back then, just with a general all-round interest in African wildlife, not quite 3 years out of varsity and not for a moment thinking I'd be in Africa for my entire working career, I took photos of anything and everything to "show the folks back home". I compiled a Lochinvar list from those slides of 46 species, including Wattled Crane, Collared Pratincole, Meve's Starling, Coppery Sunbird and Denham's Bustard.

An easy 3-hour drive from Lusaka, I found the Park extremely run-down, needing a lot of refurbishment, particularly the road network. Many of the signposts still point along tracks that have grown over to the point where you can no longer see where the road used to be. Unfortunately for me too the floodplains have been particularly badly (well?) inundated this summer and only one main road was open as the others that one could normally travel are wholly or partly under water. I saw literally thousands of Kafue Lechwe, all at least 500m away, the distance at which the road parallels the edge of the floodplain. I most probably should go back in about 2 months when the floods have receded a bit. Dotted amongst the lechwe were hundreds of egrets, storks, herons, cormorants, etc. mere specks that I could just about ID with the binos. Nevertheless I increased that Lochinvar list to 89 species, adding some species to my Zambia list - Ruff, Golden-breasted Bunting, Chestnut-backed Finchlark, Greater Honeyguide and Magpie Shrike - taking it to 280. Unfortunately, too, no photographs to post - a particularly skittish bunch of birds. Like with Blue Lagoon last weekend I suspect that they see so few visitors that whether in vehicle or on foot they just fly off at the slightest movement.

Neil

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