Zambia birding trip - Part 3 - Mutinondo Wilderness

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6 years 6 months ago #50160 by nkgray
nkgray created the topic: Zambia birding trip - Part 3 - Mutinondo Wilderness
Well, after a Shoebill can the rest of the trip match up?

At the ZAWA offices on the way out we see a mass or raptors soaring overhead, Martial Eagle, Black-breasted Snake Eagle, White-backed Vulture, Hooded Vulture and White-headed Vulture, this one a male...



This brought my Bangweulu species count to 94 and the trip list to 168, with my Zambia list soaring well over 300.

It would be another +5 hours over another 140km of road(?) heading due east to the Mutinondo Wilderness area set in the Muchinga Escarpment area, overlooking the Luangwa valley. The main camp at Mutinondo is set amid huge granite inselbergs (in fact, on one of them). The large one in the background is Mayense, and quite a challenge to get to the top.





Birding from the stoep (and even the loo) is easy.


Mutinondo ( http://www.mutinondozambia.com ) is largely miombo and very large dambos, with limited mushitu along the river courses. Mutinondo has a good network of roads, paths and bridlepaths. Birding and horse riding are the main attractions here. I had two full days and made the most of it, walking according to my GPS some 40km. passing the granite inselbergs one is often watched by the only really obvious mammal in these parts..

the Yellow Baboon


As I mentioned in the context of Kasanka, miombo birding is "low-density" birding. For my 40km I only ticked off 54 species but managed 5 lifers among them - Reichard's (Stripe-breasted) Seed-Eater, Rufous-bellied Tit, Laura's Woodland-Warbler, Pale Wren-Warbler (Miombo Barred Warbler) and Broad-tailed Warbler. Other interesting sightings were Miombo Scrub-Robin, Fawn-breasted Waxbill, Grey Penduline-Tit, Yellow-throated Petronia, Hartlaub's Babbler, Cabanis's Bunting, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Pale Flycatcher, Retz's Helmetshrike, Black Saw-Wing and Grey-rumped Swallow. Below some of the species that I managed to photograph, as mentioned for Kasanka quite a challenge in itself in miombo.

Familiar Chat


Reichard's Seed-Eater


Yellow-throated Petronia


Pale Wren-Warbler


male Variable Sunbird


Laura's Woodland-Warbler


After 7 days away I returned to Lusaka with a trip list of 191 species, 18 lifers including that one real mega and a Zambia list now standing at 363 species.

Neil

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6 years 6 months ago #50174 by Margaret
Margaret replied the topic: Re: Zambia birding trip - Part 3 - Mutinondo Wilderness
Thanks for sharing with us Neil!

Regards
Michael

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6 years 6 months ago #50177 by John Young
John Young replied the topic: Re: Zambia birding trip - Part 3 - Mutinondo Wilderness
Reading your reports Neil has been fascinating and a real pleasure, thx for taking time to share your adventures with the forum - and it goes without saying, the photographs are brilliant. <!-- s:spin: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/spin.gif" alt=":spin:" title="Spinning" /><!-- s:spin: --> <!-- s:hypnodisk: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/hypnodisk.gif" alt=":hypnodisk:" title="Hypnotised" /><!-- s:hypnodisk: --> <!-- s:bouncy: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/bouncy.gif" alt=":bouncy:" title="Enthusiastic" /><!-- s:bouncy: -->

regards,
Dave

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6 years 6 months ago #50245 by Trevor Hardaker
Trevor Hardaker replied the topic: Re: Zambia birding trip - Part 3 - Mutinondo Wilderness
Very nice report Neil and some great photos too!

Having only seen my first ever Shoebill at the beginning of this year (in fact, it was my very first lifer of the year seen on 1 January!!), I can fully understand the anticipation prior to the sighting... I went through exactly the same emotions!!

Zambia is a country that I still desperately need to get too - I have birded extensively in Southern Africa and in quite a few of the countries north of Zambia, but there are still a good selection of miombo specials that I am missing and that are most easiest to see in Zambia. So, it is certainly on the cards for a visit in the not too distant future...!

Thanks for whetting my appetite even more!!

And it is also great to see you using the correct IOC common names for all of the species even with the correct prefixes e.g. Western Cattle Egret, etc. You have clearly migrated from the thought processes of a SA birder to those of a world birder... :D And, of course, now there is no turning back...! You have had a taste of what avian wonders are out there in the big wide world beyond the borders of SA and it is just too late to stop wanting to see more and more of them... <!-- s:banghead: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/banghead.gif" alt=":banghead:" title="Frustration" /><!-- s:banghead: -->

And, if you think Africa and Europe are providing you with great birding, just wait until you hit South America... it is going to blow your mind! <!-- s:shock: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_eek.gif" alt=":shock:" title="Shocked" /><!-- s:shock: -->

Kind regards
Trevor

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6 years 6 months ago #50268 by Birdlover
Birdlover replied the topic: Re: Zambia birding trip - Part 3 - Mutinondo Wilderness
Neil

I have now repeated myself over your three previous post, but WOW !
Thanks for sharing, Fantastic.

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6 years 6 months ago #50274 by mossie
mossie replied the topic: Re: Zambia birding trip - Part 3 - Mutinondo Wilderness
Wow Neil

That has to be one of the best trip reports I have read, with stunning images and to ultimately see my #1 bird on my wish list... suffice to say, I am :mrgreen: with envy!

Perhaps when the kids leave home and I still have some money left, I will indulge myself and go wild in search of my ultimate ticks.

Regards,

Mossie

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6 years 6 months ago #50300 by badger
badger replied the topic: Re: Zambia birding trip - Part 3 - Mutinondo Wilderness
Neil, really enjoyed your 3 Zambian trip reports!

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6 years 6 months ago #50617 by nkgray
nkgray replied the topic: Re: Zambia birding trip - Part 3 - Mutinondo Wilderness
Thank you, everyone, for your kind words. I am just back from a trip even further north in Zambia - work-related this time, so didn't have the camera with me - to the Mansa and Mpika districts. I did though manage another lifer before breakfast this morning, and hitting the road for the nearly 9-hour road trip back to Lusaka - a Grey-Olive Greenbul (I don't go anywhere without the binos!!!). Have just got my database up to date to find that my next Zambian lifer will bring me to my 700 mark - not the 700 that I hoped that I would have by now, 700 in Southern Africa, but 700 in the Rest of Africa (i.e. Africa excluding Southern Africa - in my case Zambia, DRC, Tanzania, Kenya and Guinea).

Neil

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6 years 6 months ago #50894 by nkgray
nkgray replied the topic: Re: Zambia birding trip - Part 3 - Mutinondo Wilderness
Seems like my ID of the Laura's Woodland Warbler is incorrect. It is more likely that it is a Green-capped Eremomela. Doesn't matter whichever it is, it still adds 1 to my Zambia list.

Neil

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