Sub-tropical feast - Part 1 (Impalila Island, Namibia)

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6 years 6 months ago #50389 by peter sharland
peter sharland created the topic: Sub-tropical feast - Part 1 (Impalila Island, Namibia)
Hi folks

On the 6th December 2010, Jenny and I set off on a 3-week birding holiday which proved to be a feast! Hors d’oevres were sampled at Impalila Island for two nights, main course was served up in Western Zambia over 14 nights (including a side dish of two nights in Eastern Zambia). Dessert was enjoyed in northern Kruger for 4 nights over Christmas. We saw 367 species on the trip, of which 17 were heard only. Having done most of our birding in Southern Africa over the last 14 years, there was keen anticipation of some 98 possible lifers in Zambia. Many of these, however, are either rare and/or vagrant, as we were to discover! In the end, Jenny added 36 lifers, and yours truly 35. We each added only one lifer to our Southern African list – they are getting harder to come by.

Some general comments regarding travel and logistics:
• The roads in Zambia were in better condition than some of South Africa’s provincial roads, with most potholes having been repaired. Errant animals and pedestrians were avoided by a combination of sharp lookout and not driving faster than 100 km/hour.
• Petrol was expensive, at between R12 and R13 per litre. This was offset by a better-than-expected consumption by the indefatigable Prado.
• Do not try and cross from Botswana into Zambia by means of the Kazangula ferry. Go round the “longer” way via Vic Falls. <!-- s:bomb: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/bomb.gif" alt=":bomb:" title="Frustration" /><!-- s:bomb: -->
• Customs officials are increasingly asking for a police clearance on the vehicle. Border officials were generally pleasant <!-- s:o --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_surprised.gif" alt=":o" title="Surprised" /><!-- s:o -->
• At no point did the two of us in our single vehicle feel threatened; our policy was to make sure that our vehicle was never left unattended, even for the shortest period of time. We each carried our cash, credit card, driver’s license and passport on us at all times. We made sure that we had the mobile number of a local contact with us at all times, and mobile coverage was surprisingly good in Zambia.

Now to the birding….. (lifers in caps) (2 nights, 113 species, 1 lifer)
On arrival we headed straight out on a boat after dropping our bags and grabbing a cup of tea. Many herons and egrets were in evidence, with Rufous-bellied Heron raising the temperature; always a really exciting bird to see. The next day consisted of a morning walk around the island, followed by siesta and then a sunset boat ride. We enjoyed close views of the African Skimmer and Rock Pratincole, but the highlight for us was picking up the call of a LUAPULA CISTICOLA, followed by reasonable views as he obligingly perched on top of a reed. Unfortunately the photo lifer will have to wait for another day. (ag shame, I hear you say!) Other notable birds were Carmine Bee-eater, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Schalow’s Turaco, Long-toed Lapwing, White-crowned Lapwing, Rock Pratincole, African Marsh Harrier, Swamp Boubou, Sand Martin, Grey-rumped Swallow, Common House-Martin, Chirping Cisticola and Brown Firefinch. The next morning was spent around the lodge, getting reasonable photos of the turaco and boubou. I thought I should mention that we both felt that the service from the lodge could have been a lot sharper, for the price that is charged. On our way out of Kasane we saw a Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, easily identified via the white throat.

Here are some of the photos; enjoy.....























Hope you enjoyed Part 1; Part 3 (Kasanka National Park) was posted some time back, and Part 2 (North-west Zambia - Mwinilunga district) will follow shortly <!-- s:wave: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/wave.gif" alt=":wave:" title="Wave" /><!-- s:wave: -->

Kind regards
Peter Sharland
Birdlife President Ridge

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6 years 6 months ago #50390 by peter sharland
peter sharland replied the topic: Re: Sub-tropical feast - Part 1 (Impalila Island, Namibia)
A slight correction to my text - we saw 350 species on the trip, and 17 species were heard, but not seen.

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6 years 6 months ago #50697 by peter sharland
peter sharland replied the topic: Re: Sub-tropical feast - Part 1 (Impalila Island, Namibia)
Hi folks

Forgot to post this photo of African Skimmer



Regards
peter

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6 years 6 months ago #50749 by mdelport
mdelport replied the topic: Re: Sub-tropical feast - Part 1 (Impalila Island, Namibia)
Wow Peter, some great pictures here.

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