Sub-tropical feast - Part 2 - Mwinilunga district, NW Zambia

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6 years 5 months ago #50938 by peter sharland
peter sharland created the topic: Sub-tropical feast - Part 2 - Mwinilunga district, NW Zambia
Part 2 of our first adventure north of the Zambezi consisted of stays near Choma and Mwinilunga.
If you have time for quite a long trip report, read on....

1. Choma (2 nights, 48 species, 1 lifer)
En-route from Impalila to Choma, we stayed over at Chundukwa River Lodge, which has great chalets on the northern bank of the Zambezi.
In the morning on our way to breakfast we found this Tropical Boubou.



Outside Choma we stayed under thatch in the boma of the environmental camp on the farm of Emma Bruce-Miller,
and soon saw African Finfoot on the waters of the little dam right next to the campsite.
What a treat to be able to get close to such a shy bird.



The next day we were taken out by the resident guide into suitable habitat (scattered fig trees in open grassland) for CHAPLIN’S BARBET.
The birds seem to be fairly common, as we located at least four or five individuals during the two hour walk.
They were quite skittish, never allowing us to get close enough for a good photograph. Here is a distant shot of our first Zambian lifer



The rest of the stay was spent birding the beautiful miombo woodland on the farm, notching up Racket-tailed Roller, Arnot’s Chat,
Cabanis’ Bunting, Miombo Tit, Miombo Glossy Starling, Yellow-mantled Widow, Narina Trogon, Common (Eurasian) Cuckoo and
Red-necked Spurfowl.

2. Mwinilunga District (6 nights, 100 species, 23 lifers)
From Choma we took the long road north, via Lusaka, staying over at Chingola. From Chingola to Mwinilunga the road consists of
about 450 km of tar, and passes through some yummy-looking miombo. Along the way we stopped at a couple of spots for coffee.
At one spot where a river was running under the road with flooded grassland on both sides we are sure we heard Blue Quail,
but were not able to spend time stomping around. We pushed on, coming across Dickinson’s Kestrel perching in the distance.



Once through Mwinilunga, the road is gravel, with the first 25 km being in good condition. The next 45 km is in very poor condition,
with red, slippery mud in sections. A 4x4 vehicle is highly recommended, although we did see some 2x4 bakkies that are quite used
to these conditions. Apparently this stretch of road was almost impassable in the height of the rainy season in April 2010! We picked
our way slowly through the bad patches, passing a turn-off to the source of the Zambezi. At about 4 pm we reached the turn-off to
Nchila Wildlife Reserve, which is on Hillwood Farm. Pete Fisher graciously opened the campsite for us in their closed season (no hunting).
The campsite is set in a patch of moist forest (mushitu) and most mornings we were woken by the churring calls of two or three
African Broadbills. Apart from spending a lot of time on the farm itself, including the area around Sakeji School, we also visited
Zambezi Rapids and the Chitunta Plain. One way to describe this heavenly place is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Lifers were Afep Pigeon, Fulleborn’s Longclaw, Yellow-throated Leaflove, Honeyguide Greenbul, African Thrush, Sooty Chat,
Dambo Cisticola, Marsh Widowbird, Fawn-breasted waxbill, Forbes’ Plover, Ross’ Turaco, Shining Blue Kingfisher, Blue-breasted Bee-eater,
Angola Lark, Grimwood’s Longclaw, Little Greenbul, Whistling Cisticola, Stout Cisticola, Buff-throated Apalis, Yellow-breasted Hyliota,
Souza’s Shrike, Green-throated Sunbird and Bates’ Sunbird.

Here are some of the lifers:-

Dambo Cisticola


Fulleborn's Longclaw


Stout cisticola (tentative <!-- s:?: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_question.gif" alt=":?:" title="Question" /><!-- s:?: --> )


Marsh Wodowbird


Blue-spotted dove


Buff-throated apalis


Forbes' Plover


Sooty Chat


Here are some of the birds that we have seen south of the Zambezi, but were photo lifers for me:-

Black-rumped Buttonquail


African Broadbill


Denham's Bustard


Rosy-throated Longclaw


I have two birds that we were not able to identify – comments/opinions are welcome!

The orange eye is a clue, but we could not see the chest markings


Pipit.... <!-- s:bomb: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/bomb.gif" alt=":bomb:" title="Frustration" /><!-- s:bomb: -->


Although the rainy season had only just started, the butterflies were also amazing to see.
Here are two of my favourites.

Commodore


Forester


Zambia is most certainly a birder’s delight! We vowed to return and visit Eastern Zambia; Neil Gray’s recent posting on this
forum has made us even more determined.

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  • peter sharland
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6 years 5 months ago #51035 by peter sharland
peter sharland replied the topic: Re: Sub-tropical feast - Part 2 - Mwinilunga district, NW Za
I thought i should share Faansie Peacock's opinion on the pipit, which he ID'd as a Plain-backed, based on "strong eyebrow, (apparently)yellowish base to the bill and dark, greyish-brown, unstreaked mantle". Thanks, Faansie :D
An interesting piece of info Jenny and I picked up from the latest African field guide is that Long-tailed Pipit has been found in that area. Anyone know where, and by whom?

Regards

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  • Rusty Justy
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6 years 5 months ago #51055 by Rusty Justy
Rusty Justy replied the topic: Re: Sub-tropical feast - Part 2 - Mwinilunga district, NW Za
That eagle looks like a Black-chested Snake-eagle to me...

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